Friday, October 24, 2014

Chomsky. Transcript. Death ofArielSharon. AviShlaim. RashidKhalidi. DemocracyNow. 13 Jan 2014.

1.       Goodman: We begin inIsrael, where aState funeral was held today in front of the Knesset, the israeli parliament, for formerPrimeMinister ArielSharon. He died saturday after eightyears in a coma. He was eightyfiveyearsold. He’ll be buried in aStatefuneral today at his home in southernIsrael. TheUS was among eightcountries, eighteencountries to send delegations to attendSharon’sfuneral, along withMiddleEast international envoy, TonyBlair and the russian and german ForeignMinisters. At aState memorial inJerusalem, []Biden rememberedSharon as a controversial, but bold military leader and statesman.

2.       Biden: When he told tenthousand israelis to leave their homes inGaza in order, from his perspective, to strengthenIsrael, I can’t think of a much more controversial. As a student of the jewishState, I can’t think of a muchmoredifficult and controversial decision been made. But he believed it, and he did it. The security of his people was always Arik’s unwavering mission, a nonbreakable commitment to the future of jews, whether thirtyyears or threehundredsyears from now.

3.       Goodman: That was []Biden speaking duringArielSharon’smemorial. Thousands of israelis came to pay their respects as his coffin lay inState outside the parliament building inJerusalem. Ministers held a minute’s silence at sunday’s cabinetmeeting to remember their former leader. This is israeliPrimeMinisterBinyaminNetanyahu.

4.       Netanyahu: [translated] In all of his latest roles as minister of defense, as minister of housing, minister of infrastructures, minister of foreign affairs, Arik has contributed to theStateOfIsrael and, as much as he could, to the security ofIsrael, and that’s what he did as Israel’s prime minister. I believe he represents a generation of Jewish leaders who rose from our people with the resumption of our independence. He was tied to the land. He knew the need to protect the land, and he understood that, above all that, our independence is our ability to protect ourselves by ourselves. I believe he will be remembered as one of the prominent leaders and one of the bravest commanders in the heart ofIsrael forever.

5.       Goodman: ArielSharon has been one of themostdominant political figures in Israel’s history, involved in each of Israel’s major wars dating back to its founding in1948. AsPrimeMinister, he oversaw Israel’s disengagement from theGazaStrip. TheGazawithdrawal caused a serious rift in Sharon’sLikudParty, which led to his departure. He formed a new party, Kadima, which maintained theGazadisengagement while expanding israeli control over the major settlementblocks in the occupiedWestBank. Among palestinians, Sharon was one of themostreviled politicalfigures in theHistory of theIsraelPalestineconflict. He’s seen as father of the settlementmovement, an architect of the israeliInvasionOfLebanon, which killed a reported 20.000 palestinians and lebanese. An israeli commission of inquiry found Sharon had indirect responsibility for the massacre of over a thousand palestinian refugees at the Sabra- and Shatila-camps inLebanon in1982. To talk about ArielSharon’s life and legacy, we’re joined now by threeguests. InNYC, we’re joined byRashidKhalidi, theEdward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, author of a number of books, including BrokersOfDeceitHowTheUSHasUnderminedPeaceInTheMiddleEast and, just reissued, UnderSiegePLODecisionmakingDuringThe1982War. Joining us from his home inMass. by phone, NoamChomsky, world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author, InstituteProfessorEmeritus atMIT, where he’s taught for more than fiftyyears. His1983book, theFatefulTriangle, is known as one of the definitive works on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the1982InvasionOfLebanon. And we are also joined fromOxford byAviShlaim, anEmeritusProfessor ofInternationalStudies atOxfordU, the author of IsraelAndPalestineReappraisalsRevisionsRefutations. He served in the IsraeliArmy in the mid[19]60s and is widelyregarded as one of the world’s leading scholars on the israeliarabconflict. We welcome you all toDemocracyNow. Let’s go first to the israeli historian, AviShlaim. Your response to the death ofArielSharon, what you feel he should be remembered for?
6.       Shlaim: ArielSharon is one of themost-iconic and -controversial figures in Israel’sHistory. He had deep, he was a deeplyflawed character, renowned for his brutality, mendacity and corruption. Despite these characterflaws, he is a major figure in shaping Israel’s modernHistory. He was one of the five mostinfluential figures who left a deep mark on modernIsrael. The first was DavidBenGurion, the founder of theState, who in1949 concluded the armisticeagreements with the neighboring arabStates, the only internationallyrecognised borders that Israel has ever had. Second was LeviEshkol, who, in the aftermath of theJune1967War, presided over the transformation ofIsrael from a plucky littleDemocracy into a brutal colonialpower. The third was theLikudleader, MenachemBegin, who signed the first peace treaty with an arab country. He signed the peacetreaty withEgypt in1979. The fourth was YitzhakRabin, the only israeliPrimeMinister who went forward on the political front towards the palestinians, and he did this by signing theOsloAccord in1939 and clinching the historic compromise between the twonations with the iconic handshake withYasserArafat on theWhiteHouselawn. And finally, there is ArielSharon, who always rejected theOslopeaceprocess, who, asPrimeMinister, tried to sweep away the remnants ofOslo and forge a new strategy ofUnilateralism, of giving up on the palestinians and redrawingunilaterally the borders of greaterIsrael. So, his legacy can be summed up in one word, Unilateralism, acting in defiance ofUNResolutions, InternationalLaw and international publicopinion. The real question is, How was ArielSharon, and how is Israel today under his successors, able to defy the entire international community? And the answer to that is that Israel could not have done it on its own, but it has a little friend, and the friend is theUnitedStatesOfAmerica, but that is a different story.
7.       Goodman: We’re going to break and then get response from ProfessorRashidKhalidi and ProfessorNoamChomsky, as well as continue our discussion with israeli historianAviShlaim. This is DemocracyNow. We’re talking about the death of ArielSharon. Stay with us. [break] We’re talking about the death of the former prime minister, ArielSharon, who died saturday after eightyears in a coma. He was 85 years old. We are joined by Professor NoamChomsky inMassachusetts, byAviShlaim, the israeli historian atOxfordU inBritain, and we’re joined here inNYC byRashidKhalidi. Among his books are BrokersOfDeceitHowTheUSHasUnderminedPeaceInTheMiddleEast. He’s theEdwardSaïdProfessorOfArabStudies atColumbiaU. You’re also palestinian. Your response to the death ofArielSharon?
8.       Khalidi: Well, for me, themostimportant emotion is a sense of, finally, the man who carried out a war in which 20.000people were killed, theLebanonWarOf1982, who besiegedBeirut, who destroyed buildingafterbuilding, killing scores of civilians in a search to destroy thePLOleadership, has finallyleft the world. I was inBeirut that summer of1982. And I, to me, it’s horrific to watch the hagiographies that are being produced by people likeVicePresidentBiden, by theNewYorkTimes, by much of theMedia, about a man who really should have ended his days at theHague before theInternationalCriminalCourt. He was a man who, from theverybeginning of his career, started out killing people. As the commander ofUnit101, he was the man who ordered theQibyaMassacre.
9.       Goodman: Explain. What is Unit101?
10.   Khalidi: Unit101 was a military unit of the israeliArmy formed at the orders of the israeli leadership of the time to carry out savage reprisal raids. But we’re talking about dozens of victims. In retaliation for, in this case, two or three people being killed, 69 people had their homes blown up over their heads.
11.   Goodman: When was this?
12.   Khalidi: This was 1953 in a small village in the, what is today theWestBank. This was thefirstcondemnation ofIsrael by aSecurityCouncilResolution. This was something that theUnitedStates at the time was willing to say was a horrible, horrible crime. And this is a man who, since then, really, has only acted on the basis of a belief that force is the only thing the Arabs understand. The idea that he is now considered by some to be a peacemaker is grotesque, frankly.
13.   Goodman: NoamChomsky, you wrote theFatefulTriangle in response to what happened inLebanon. It changed the discourse for many in this country. First, explain your reaction to the death ofArielSharon and what we should understand about him.
14.   Chomsky: Well, you know, there is a convention that you’re notsupposed to speak-ill-oftherecentlydead, which unfortunatelyimposes a kind of vowofsilence, because there’s nothing else to say. There’s nothing good to say. What both Rashid and AviShlaim have said is exactlyaccurate. He was a brutalkiller. He had one[idéefixée] in mind, which drove him all his life, a greaterIsrael as powerful as possible, as few palestinians as possible, they should somehow disappear, [Accurate.] and anIsrael which could be powerfulenough to dominate the region. TheLebanonWar then, which was his worstcrime, also had a goal of imposing a clientState inLebanon, a maronite clientState. And these were the driving forces of his life. The idea that theGazaEvacuation was a controversial step for peace is almostfarcical. By2005, Gaza had been devastated, and he played a large role in that. The israeli [“]hawks[“] could understandeasily that it made no sense to keep a few thousand israeli settlers inGaza using a verylarge percentage of its land and scarce water with a hugeIDF, israeliArmy, contingent to protect them. What made moresense was to take them out and place them in theWestBank or theGolanHeights, illegal. It could have been done very simply. They could have, the israeliArmy could have announced that, on augustfirst, they’re leavingGaza, in which case the settlers would have piled into the trucks that were provided to them, which would take them from their subsidised homes inGaza to illegal subsidised homes in other territories that Israel intended to keep, and that would have been the end of it. But instead, a, what israeli sociologists call, BaruchKimmerling called an absurd theater was constructed to try to demonstrate to the world that there cannot be any further evacuations. The farce was a successful publicrelationseffort. []Biden’s comments illustrate that. It was particularlyfarcical when you recognise that it was a virtual replay of what happened in1982 when Israel was compelled to withdraw from the egyptianSinai and carried out an operation that the israeli press ridiculed as OperationNationalTrauma1982, We have to show the world how much we’re suffering by carrying out an action that will benefit our power and our security. And that was the peacemakingeffort. But his career is one of unremitting brutality, dedication to the fixedidea of his life. He doubtlessshowed courage and commitment to pursuing this ideal, which is an ugly and horrific one.
15.   Goodman: Avi Shlaim, go back to 1982 and what happened in Lebanon. First, where were you?
16.   Shlaim: In 1982, Ariel Sharon was defense minister in Menachem Begin’s government, and he was the architect of the invasion of Lebanon. And it was a war of deception because Sharon tricked his Cabinet colleagues into launching this operation by pretending the aims were very limited, whereas in fact he had a big plan to completely change the bare geopolitics of the region, to create a new order in Lebanon but by helping Israel’s Maronite Christian allies to come to power in Lebanon and then sign a peace treaty with Israel, then to expel the Syrian forces from Lebanon and to replace Syrian with Israeli hegemony in the Levant. This war of deception ended in tears. It didn’t achieve any of its grandiose geopolitical objectives, and it ended also with the massacre in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. There was an Israeli—there was an Israeli commission of inquiry which found Defense Minister Sharon as responsible for failing to prevent the massacre of the Palestinian refugees by Israel’s Christian allies, and Sharon was forced to step down—he was fired as minister of defense. And no one could have guessed at that time how a man who was found unfit to serve as minister of defense would bounce back as Israel’s prime minister. But this is all of a piece in Sharon’s career as a soldier and as a politician, because, as Professor Khalidi pointed out, Sharon committed his first war crime as a young major in 1953 when he destroyed many houses in the Jordanian village of Qibya, and he was responsible for the massacre of 69 civilians. So that was his first war crime, but it was not to be his last. And the consistent thread in his career as a soldier and as a politician was to use brute force, not just against the regular armies of the Arab states, but also against Palestinian civilians. And the other consistent thread is to shun diplomacy and to rely on brute force to impose Israeli hegemony on the entire region. President George W. Bush famously called Sharon a man of peace. Sharon was nothing of the sort. He was a man of war through and through, and he called his autobiography Warrior, not Diplomat. His approach to diplomacy reversed Clausewitz’s dictum; for Sharon, diplomacy was the pursuit of war by other means. For the last 40 years, the Arab-Israeli conflict has been my main research interest, and I can honestly say that I have never come across a single scintilla of evidence to support the notion of Sharon as a man of peace.
17.   Goodman: I wanted to go back to 1982, the commission report you referred to, Avi Shlaim, and ask Noam Chomsky about the Kahan Commission and what it is they found, and how it is that Ariel Sharon actually survived politically beyond that.
18.   Chomsky: Well, the Kahan Commission did condemn Sharon for what they called “indirect responsibility” for Sabra-Shatila massacre. The Kahan Commission, I think, was really a whitewash. It tried to give as soft as possible an interpretation of what was in fact a horrifying massacre, actually one that should resonate with people who are familiar with Jewish history. It was almost a replica of the Kishinev massacre in pre-First World War Russia, one of the worst atrocities in Israeli memory, led to a famous nationalist poem by the main Israeli poet, Chaim Nahman Bialik, “City of Killing.” The tsar’s army had surrounded this town and allowed the people within it to rampage, killing Jews for three days. They killed 45 people. That was—that’s pretty much what happened in Sabra-Shatila: Israeli army surrounded it, sent in the Phalangist forces, who were obviously bent on murder.
19.   Goodman: These were the Lebanese Christian forces.
20.   Chomsky: Lebanese Christian terrorist force, allied with Israel. The soldiers watched as they illuminated it. They helped them enter. They watched for several days while they murdered, not 45 people, but somewhere—Israel claims 800, other analyses go up to several thousand. That’s the Sabra-Shatila massacre. The idea that Sharon had indirect—the tsar, incidentally, was bitterly condemned internationally for direct responsibility. That’s, in fact, one of the events that set off the huge flow of refugees from Eastern Europe, including my father, among others. But—so this was a kind of a replica, except far more brutal and vicious. And Sharon escaped more than a mild censure. It’s true that he was removed as defense minister, but it wasn’t long before he came back. And that’s one of a number of extremely shocking incidents in his career.
21.   Goodman: I want to stay with that for a moment, Noam, because I want to turn to Ellen Siegel. She was a Jewish-American nurse who worked at a hospital at the Sabra camp at the time of the Sabra and Shatila massacre in September 1982. We interviewed her in 2001 and played it on the 20th anniversary of the killings. She described some of what she witnessed during the massacre.
22.   Siegel: The 18th, which was a Saturday morning, it was also the first day of Rosh Hashanah. We were told to come down to the entranceway to the hospital, that the Lebanese army was downstairs. Well, it wasn’t the Lebanese army; it was the Phalange. And here were a group of soldiers who looked—who looked quite neat, clean, and they told us that they were going to march us out of the camp. And they took our passports from us, and they started to march us down the main street of the hospital. As we were marching, we saw dead bodies. They started to holler at us, this militia, telling us that we were not Christian, that we came to help people who hated Christians, that we were terrorists. They were talking on walkie-talkies. There was constant communication with someone. There was a Palestinian who had been working in the hospital, who did not flee when the rest of them did. And he was terrified, and he asked for someone to give him a lab coat. And so we gave him a lab coat. But, of course, he was picked out immediately because he looked very different than these white and blonde and Scandinavian and American and British health workers. And I turned around, I saw him on his knees pleading, and I was told to keep walking. And the next thing I heard was a shot. I never looked back. As we continued walking, there were new soldiers. There was a whole contingent of other soldiers lining the streets. And these militia people looked quite crazed. They were—looked very dirty, very messy, and looked like they had been on drugs or something. They were just tense, wide-eyed, nervous—extremely nervous. There was a group of Palestinians and Lebanese refugees who they forced to line up against a—they were all just lined during this pathway. And one of the women had an infant in her hands, and she tried to give this infant to one of the doctors. And the Phalange said, “No, you can’t—can’t take this baby.” And they were watching us, and they were giving us the V sign. It was hard to tell who was more uptight about what was going to happen to who. As we continued down the street, we—there was an area that had been part of the camp. And suddenly, there were—there was bulldozers with an Israeli—with a Hebrew letter on it, and it was going back and forth, back and forth. That, I’m sure, turned out to be the mass grave. We were—we kept on walking. Walkie-talkies. We reached the end of the camp, and we turned a corner. This was outside of the camp. They lined us up against a bullet-ridden wall, and they had their rifles ready. And we really thought this is—I mean, it was a firing squad. Suddenly, an Israeli soldier comes running down the street and halts it. I suppose the idea of gunning down foreign health workers was something that was not very appealing to the Israelis. But the fact that they could see this and stop it shows that there was—there was some communication.
23.   Goodman: That was Ellen Siegel, a Jewish American nurse who was working at Gaza Hospital in the Sabra camp at the time of the Sabra and Shatila massacre in 1982. I asked her what should happen to Ariel Sharon.
24.   Siegel: I think what should happen to him is what has happened in our history, in Jewish history. Ever since I was a child, I have learned that what happened during the Holocaust happened because people were silent, people did not speak up. People allowed bad things to happen to other people and did not do anything about it. We should be the last people on Earth that should allow that to happen. Simon Wiesenthal continues and the Jewish agencies continue to look for Nazi war criminals, and indeed they should, and bring them to justice. Ariel Sharon is a war criminal. And the legal aspects of this, I understand, as a non-legal person, put him in that category. He allowed innocent people to be murdered. He did nothing to protect it. He knew that they were the sworn enemy of the Palestinians. And so, he should be tried.
25.   Goodman: That was Ellen Siegel, the nurse who worked in the Sabra camp at the time of the massacre in 1982. Professor Rashid Khalidi, also with us, your relative headed that hospital called Gaza Hospital?
26.   Khalidi: Correct.
27.   Goodman: That Ellen Siegel worked in.
28.   Khalidi: My cousin Aziza was the director of Gaza Hospital at the time.
29.   Goodman: And you were in Lebanon. He was there.
30.   Khalidi: I was in Beirut at the time.
31.   Goodman: Describe the reaction afterwards, how—what he was doing at that time.
32.   Khalidi: What my cousin, Aziza, what she was doing at the time?
33.   Goodman: What she was doing.
34.   Khalidi: Well, she was trying to stay alive. First of all, they were treating patients, as victims of the massacre came in. And then, as Ellen describes, they were—
35.   Goodman: Only critically injured patients there at the time, as they were trying to clear out.
36.   Khalidi: Precisely, precisely. And most people realized that a massacre was going on, and most of the Palestinians fled. My cousin was completely traumatized, obviously, by it, as, for that matter, were my children and thousands and thousands of others, Lebanese and Palestinian children, who were living in Beirut during the 10-week siege of the city, bombardment and siege of the city. One of the things that nobody has talked about is the new documents that have been revealed in the Israel State Archives, which I think pin direct responsibility for much more of what happened in Sabra and Shatila on not only Ariel Sharon and the Israeli government, but reveal American responsibility for what happened. The New York Times, on the 30th anniversary of the massacre in September of 2012, published an op-ed with links to some of these documents—by a student of mine, actually—which shows that in fact Sharon’s responsibility was far greater than indirect, shows that the Israeli government knew perfectly well what was going on, that the Israelis stonewalled to prevent the massacre being stopped. American diplomats were sent to tell the Israelis on the 16th of September, in the middle of the massacre, “You must withdraw your forces from Beirut,” and one can read in these documents, which The New York Times has put a link to on their website, exactly how Sharon basically fended that off so that the killing could continue for another day.
37.   Goodman: What was Israel’s goal in Lebanon? The pretext was an assassination attempt on Israel’s ambassador in London and the shelling of northern Israel from Lebanon.
38.   Khalidi: Right. Well, the shelling had been stopped for a year. Ambassador Philip Habib, since 1981, had stopped the cross-border exchanges, so that pretext was removed. And Sharon was dying for a pretext. We have now the text of his meeting with Secretary of State Haig in May, and he lays out his objectives. He says, “We’re going to turn Lebanon into a satellite state,” much as Avi and Noam Chomsky said. “We are going to eliminate Syrian influence, and we’re going to destroy the PLO.” Those were his objectives. And he, exactly as Professor Shlaim said, sold this to the Israeli Cabinet by—and to the Americans, by saying it would be a much more limited operation. In fact, he intended to reach Beirut, and he intended to do all of these quite ambitious things to change the entire map.
39.   Goodman: We’re going to break, then come back to this discussion. We’re talking about the death of Ariel Sharon. We’re talking about his life and legacy, the former general and former prime minister of Israel. Stay with us.
40.   [break]
41.   Goodman: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. The former Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has died. He died on Saturday after eight years in a coma. He was 85 years old. Our guests are Professor Avi Shlaim at Oxford University, where he is a professor emeritus there of international relations; Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned linguist, political dissident, author; and Rashid Khalidi, Arab studies professor at Columbia University, the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies. You were just talking about The New York Times and how they covered what happened at Sabra and Shatila, and the direct responsibility that Ariel Sharon—linking to documents of Sharon’s responsibility and U.S. responsibility. Elaborate further on that and then how it’s—his life is being described today in the same pages.
42.   Khalidi: Well, I describe it as the apotheosis of Ariel Sharon. He’s being turned from a war criminal and a mass murderer, which he was, into a god, in the American—in much of the American media. The New York Times has played an enormous role in this. Instead of, for example, running their own op-ed, which was published a little over a year ago, which lays out in damning detail, from documents in the Israel State Archives, Israeli and American responsibility, notably Sharon’s responsibility, for this massacre, they republished on their—in their online edition yesterday an op-ed by Sharon in which he justifies the war. It has been a degrading spectacle to watch the American and the Israeli media turn this man into, as Avi said, a man of peace, something that he could never possibly have been described as.
43.   Goodman: Why does—Professor Avi Shlaim, why does Ariel Sharon hold the special place he does in the annals of Israeli history?
44.   Shlaim: Noam Chomsky reminded us that one shouldn’t speak ill of the recently dead, so I would like to say something positive about Ariel Sharon, which explains both his popularity with one segment of the Israeli population and the reviling of Sharon by another segment of the Israeli population. And the point is that towards the end of his active life, Sharon finally understood the limits of military power. He had always been a proponent of greater Israel, but he understood that the facts of democracy worked against Israel, so he didn’t—he did not jettison the dream of greater Israel, but he scaled it down to what he thought was realistic for Israel to maintain in the long run. So he had a strategy of redrawing the borders of greater Israel unilaterally. Stage one was building the wall on the West Bank, and stage two was the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in August 2005. Now, the withdrawal from Gaza was not part of any negotiations or overall peace deal with the Palestinian Authority. It was a unilateral move undertaken in Israel’s interests. So, Sharon withdrew from Gaza, but he wanted to consolidate Israel’s presence on the West Bank. And this got him into trouble with the right wing of his own party, the Likud Party, and with the settler community, so he quit the Likud, and he set up a new center party, Kadima. But Kadima did not survive Sharon’s political demise. Today, Kadima has two seats in the 120-member Knesset. So Sharon’s last-minute effort to realign Israeli politics ended in total failure. His enduring legacy in Israel’s history is that he empowered and emboldened some of the most xenophobic, aggressive, racist, expansionist and intransigent elements in Israel’s dysfunctional political system.
45.   Goodman: Professor Khalidi?
46.   Khalidi: Another thing that might be mentioned about Gaza is that there’s a huge debate in Israel about whether the withdrawal was a good thing or a bad thing. The withdrawal did not change the situation of Gaza as being completely under Israeli control, which it is to this day. So Israel withdrew its settlers and withdrew its troops from within the Gaza Strip, but it completely controls the Strip from without. It is the largest open-air prison in the world. Sharon also had a notorious period as commander of the Southern Command in which he participated in the savage repression of resistance inside Gaza, killing thousands of—hundreds—well, many hundreds of Palestinian militants, destroying thousands of homes, as part of a huge repression of the resistance.
47.   Goodman: Noam Chomsky, Dov Weissglas, a top aide to Ariel Sharon, described the withdrawal from Gaza by saying, quote, “The significance of our disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. It supplies the formaldehyde necessary so there is no political process with Palestinians.” Explain what he meant and how that translates today to the so-called peace process that’s going on.
48.   Chomsky: Well, Dov Weissglas understood the situation very well. The Oslo Accords in 1993 determined that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are a single territorial entity which cannot be divided. Immediately, the United States and Israel set about separating the two and making sure that they would not be united. And this is extremely significant, not only for the people of Gaza, but for the prospect of any viable Palestinian entity. The West Bank is essentially imprisoned. Its one access to the outside world would be through Gaza—access through the sea, through the air, if there was an airport, and so on. By breaking Gaza from—separating Gaza from the West Bank, that undercuts whatever limited possibility there might be for a meaningful Palestinian self-determination. Dov Weissglas pointed out that—what he meant is—in fact, as he said, Israel will keep the people in Gaza on a diet. We won’t let them starve to death; that won’t look good in the international world. We’ll just give them just enough to stay barely alive in this open-air prison, as Rashid Khalidi correctly described it, and they’ll be separated from the West Bank. Meanwhile, both the wall, the separation wall—actually an annexation wall—that Sharon initiated and other development and settlement projects, including in the Jordan Valley, will effectively cantonize whatever is left of—to Palestinian administration and surround it so that it has—so that it is another kind of prison, surrounded completely by Israel and its Jordanian ally. Actually, Professor Shlaim said something very important in his last—his first comment at the very end. All of this can happen because of what he called Israel—ironically, Israel’s little friend, because the United States authorizes—it supports it, provides the requisite diplomatic, economic, military support, and also ideological support—namely, by a false—by the process of reshaping and falsifying what is underway. This is quite reminiscent; this is not novel, unfortunately. If you look at the history of South Africa, it was pretty similar. By 1960, the South Africans knew that they were becoming a pariah state. The South African foreign minister called in the American ambassador and told him, “Look, we know everyone is going to vote against us in the United Nations. We’re going to have all kinds of problems. But as long as you support us, it doesn’t make any difference.” And that’s the principle that they had here, too, right to the end of the Reagan years, 1988, the U.S., along with Britain, was still vetoing and blocking resolutions which would call for any kind of sanctions, and supporting South African atrocities and crimes. This is a kind of a replay of it. As long as the United States, the most powerful state in the world, continues to play its crucially supportive role, unfortunately, these developments will continue. And this is of prime significance for people like us, for American citizens. It’s our responsibility. I mean, Sharon may have had indirect—as the Kahan Commission in its whitewash claimed, indirect responsibility for Sabra-Shatila—actually direct responsibility. And we have direct responsibility for the fact that our own government is crucially facilitating all of this.
49.   Goodman: What could Kerry do right now?
50.   Chomsky: What should we do?
51.   Goodman: And what should—what do you feel John Kerry should do?
52.   Chomsky: What John Kerry should do is insist on implementing a very broad international consensus, virtually universal, calling for a two-state settlement on the internationally recognized border, which is, as was said before, the 1949 ceasefire line, possibly with minor and mutual adjustments, which was a U.S. policy—
53.   Goodman: We have five seconds.
54.   Chomsky: Yeah. And this is supported by the entire world. It’s been blocked by the United States for 35 years. We should shift that policy, join the world, and carry out the measures which might conceivably bring a semi-decent peace.
55.   Goodman: We have to leave it there. I want to thank Professor Noam Chomsky in Massachusetts; Avi Shlaim, Israeli historian at Oxford; and Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian professor, the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University.

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