Mustafa Barghouti on Israel Elections

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Former Palestinian presidential candidate (and likely future candidate) Mustafa Barghouti stopped by my office today for a short discussion on his impressions of what is possible and what is not in the aftermath of yesterday’s national elections in Israel.
As usual, Barghouti paints a compelling picture of limited options and stark realities.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

30 comments on “Mustafa Barghouti on Israel Elections

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Ha’aretz: “Secret Israeli database reveals full extent of illegal settlement”
    Peace Now’s Land Ownership Report from 2006
    1/30/09
    By Uri Blau
    Just four years ago, the defense establishment decided to carry out a seemingly elementary task: establish a comprehensive database on the settlements. Brigadier General (res.) Baruch Spiegel, aide to then defense minister Shaul Mofaz, was put in charge of the project. For over two years, Spiegel and his staff, who all signed a special confidentiality agreement, went about systematically collecting data, primarily from the Civil Administration.
    One of the main reasons for this effort was the need to have credible and accessible information at the ready to contend with legal actions brought by Palestinian residents, human rights organizations and leftist movements challenging the legality of construction in the settlements and the use of private lands to establish or expand them. The painstakingly amassed data was labeled political dynamite.
    The defense establishment, led by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, steadfastly refused to publicize the figures, arguing, for one thing, that publication could endanger state security or harm Israel’s foreign relations. Someone who is liable to be particularly interested in the data collected by Spiegel is George Mitchell, President Barack Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, who came to Israel this week for his first visit since his appointment. It was Mitchell who authored the 2001 report that led to the formulation of the road map, which established a parallel between halting terror and halting construction in the settlements.
    The official database, the most comprehensive one of its kind ever compiled in Israel about the territories, was recently obtained by Haaretz. Here, for the first time, information the state has been hiding for years is revealed. An analysis of the data reveals that, in the vast majority of the settlements – about 75 percent – construction, sometimes on a large scale, has been carried out without the appropriate permits or contrary to the permits that were issued. The database also shows that, in more than 30 settlements, extensive construction of buildings and infrastructure (roads, schools, synagogues, yeshivas and even police stations) has been carried out on private lands belonging to Palestinian West Bank residents.
    Click here to view the secret Defense Ministry database on illegal construction in the territories. It should be noted that the information is given in Hebrew
    The data, it should be stressed, do not refer only to the illegal outposts (information about which was included in the well-known report authored by attorney Talia Sasson and published in March 2005), but to the very heart of the settlement enterprise. Among them are veteran ideological settlements like Alon Shvut (established in 1970 and currently home to 3,291 residents, including Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun); Ofra (established in 1975, home to 2,708 residents, including former Yesha Council spokesman Yehoshua Mor Yosef and media personalities Uri Elitzur and Hagai Segal); and Beit El (established in 1977, population 5,308, including Hagai Ben-Artzi, brother of Sara Netanyahu). Also included are large settlements founded primarily for economic motives, such as the city of Modi’in Illit (established in 1990 and now home to 36,282 people), or Givat Ze’ev outside Jerusalem (founded in 1983, population 11,139), and smaller settlements such as Nokdim near Herodion (established in 1982, population 851, including MK Avigdor Lieberman).
    The information contained in the database does not conform to the state’s official position, as presented, for instance, on the Foreign Ministry Web site, which states: “Israel’s actions relating to the use and allocation of land under its administration are all taken with strict regard to the rules and norms of international law – Israel does not requisition private land for the establishment of settlements.” Since in many of the settlements, it was the government itself, primarily through the Ministry of Construction and Housing, that was responsible for construction, and since many of the building violations involve infrastructure, roads, public buildings and so on, the official data also demonstrate government responsibility for the unrestrained planning and lack of enforcement of regulations in the territories. The extent of building violations also attests to the poor functioning of the Civil Administration, the body in charge of permits and supervision of construction in the territories.
    According to the 2008 data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, approximately 290,000 Jews live in the 120 official settlements and dozens of outposts established throughout the West Bank over the past 41 years.
    “Nothing was done in hiding,” says Pinchas Wallerstein, director-general of the Yesha Council of settlements and a leading figure in the settlement project. “I’m not familiar with any [building] plans that were not the initiative of the Israeli government.” He says that if the owners of private land upon which settlements are built were to complain and the court were to accept their complaint, then the structures would have to be moved somewhere else. “This has been the Yesha Council’s position for the past years,” he says.
    You’d never know it from touring several of the settlements in which massive construction has taken place on private Palestinian lands. Entire neighborhoods built without permits or on private lands are inseparable parts of the settlements. The sense of dissonance only intensifies when you find that municipal offices, police and fire stations were also built upon and currently operate on lands that belong to Palestinians.
    continues….
    http://www.peacenow.org/updates.asp?rid=0&cid=5860

    Reply

  2. Cee says:

    Hamas is one of the worst Human Rights abusers in the world.
    Absurd.
    Israeli policies are worse than apartheid.
    Twilight Zone / ‘Worse than apartheid’
    By Gideon Levy
    I thought they would feel right at home in the alleys of Balata refugee camp, the Casbah and the Hawara checkpoint. But they said there is no comparison: for them the Israeli occupation regime is worse than anything they knew under apartheid. This week, 21 human rights activists from South Africa visited Israel. Among them were members of Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress; at least one of them took part in the armed struggle and at least two were jailed. There were two South African Supreme Court judges, a former deputy minister, members of Parliament, attorneys, writers and journalists. Blacks and whites, about half of them Jews who today are in conflict with attitudes of the conservative Jewish community in their country. Some of them have been here before; for others it was their first visit.
    For five days they paid an unconventional visit to Israel – without Sderot, the IDF and the Foreign Ministry (but with Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial and a meeting with Supreme Court President Justice Dorit Beinisch. They spent most of their time in the occupied areas, where hardly any official guests go – places that are also shunned by most Israelis.
    On Monday they visited Nablus, the most imprisoned city in the West Bank. From Hawara to the Casbah, from the Casbah to Balata, from Joseph’s Tomb to the monastery of Jacob’s Well. They traveled from Jerusalem to Nablus via Highway 60, observing the imprisoned villages that have no access to the main road, and seeing the “roads for the natives,” which pass under the main road. They saw and said nothing. There were no separate roads under apartheid. They went through the Hawara checkpoint mutely: they never had such barriers.
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    Jody Kollapen, who was head of Lawyers for Human Rights in the apartheid regime, watches silently. He sees the “carousel” into which masses of people are jammed on their way to work, visit family or go to the hospital. Israeli peace activist Neta Golan, who lived for several years in the besieged city, explains that only 1 percent of the inhabitants are allowed to leave the city by car, and they are suspected of being collaborators with Israel. Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, a former deputy minister of defense and of health and a current member of Parliament, a revered figure in her country, notices a sick person being taken through on a stretcher and is shocked. “To deprive people of humane medical care? You know, people die because of that,” she says in a muted voice.

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  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “POA , If you avoid using foul language I will answer your questions”
    ROFLMAO! Ah yes, the sensitive troll. He isn’t shy about concocting loose associations to defame a Palestinian statesman, but he is offended by loose language.
    Ya gotta love these jackasses, if nothing else, they’re predictable.

    Reply

  4. DonS says:

    vaardvark, I take your point, but unless my very basic olfactory instincts have gone beserk, MrZee’s intent was provocative (by the way, where has he disappeared to?). And, BTW, without having the benefit of the malfunctioning video, I would hope that minority populations might well be tolerated in ANY country of the ME as it has been for millenia to great extent. AS of now, the RW Israelis don’t seem to be treating their Arab brethren very well. Whereas, the settlers are well provided for and plenty well armed to insure they remain top dog.
    No, I’m not talking about going back to the exclusions of ’48, the right of return, etc. I view pronouncements about such as positions to be negotiated. I have perhaps even less confidence that Israel is ever willing to negtoiate in good faith as might be Barghouti.

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  5. Philo-Semite says:

    Aardvark, quite excellent comments. I have only one minor quibble:
    You could foreseeably argue “colonialism” as Israel prevents self-determination of what seems to be something resembling a nation,
    The Palestinians already have three nations – Jordan, PA, and Gaza. That they have made of sewer of the latter two (PA, GAZA) is their own fault. That they have not made a sewer of the first (Jordan) is to the credit not of the Palestinians, but of the Hashemites.

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  6. Philo-Semite says:

    Is PissedOffAmerican American?

    Reply

  7. vaardvark says:

    DonS wrote:
    “Perhaps you have just missed the part where the Palestinians get their land “appropriated”.”
    Although I think that James has no idea what he is talking about, your defense is absurd. Are we going to argue, then, that the Arab nations must return everything appropriated from the Jews that they expelled from 1948 to 2000? And I am just drawing the line at 1948–going back further is more difficult. And what about the Jewish-owned properties in the West Bank that had been annexed to the proposed Palestinian state (in 1948, that is)? Are those going to be returned?
    This is a ridiculous argument, trying to prove who deserves reparations from whom. The right-of-return demand is a red herring. It’s a pretext to scuttle negotiations. At this point, most Palestinian Arabs don’t want East Jerusalem either–economically, it’s a black hole. But the issue is important for other Muslim nations and they insist that it be kept on the table.
    POA wrote (among other things):
    “they managed to convict a silent and undefended suspect of five murders”
    You know, next time I have to defend an accused murderer, I will propose this kind of defense to him. Disavow all you lawyers, accuse the government of illegal prosecution and ignore the trial judge. In the end, you’ll be a hero because, hell, you’ve just been convicted of murder as a “silent and undefendend suspect”. Please! Don’t take the rest of us for idiots.
    On the interview: Barghouti is very well spoken and is all too familiar with the situation–given his position, I would be surprised if he were not. But he is prone to rhetorical excess.
    I don’t know if he got the Apartheid line from Carter or Carter got it from him (or they both got it from someone else), but the Apartheid argument is just plain wrong. You could foreseeably argue “colonialism” as Israel prevents self-determination of what seems to be something resembling a nation, but you cannot accuse them of the discriminatory policy that had been the hallmark of South African Apartheid. There are no parallels. What? Palestinians from the West Bank are not allowed to enter Israel for jobs? Gee, are Mexicans allowed to enter the US, unconditionally, to work?
    In fact, Israel has stopped opposing the Palestinians economic autonomy. The problem is, some of the Palestinian elements (Hamas?) have prevented this from working by stealing economic aid, diverting funds to their own military needs (to fight other Palestinians even more so than fighting Israel), sabotaging any progress toward peace and, worst of all, killing the opposition.
    At the moment, Hamas is one of the worst Human Rights abusers in the world. One redeeming point in their favor–they don’t stoop to torture, they just kill.
    It is also interesting that Barghouti is using an argument that popped up on the American Left recently and that’s that there is no difference between Likud and Kadima, Natenyahu and Livni. While Steve has made a cogent argument why it might be easier for the rest of the world to work with Netanyahu, this is not the same claim. Let’s see, one advocates a “two-state solution”, the other… well, does he even care?? One wants to freeze all settlement construction and dismantle the illegal settlements as a prelude to eventually bargaining for territory, while the other wants no limits of any kind. One is a principled albeit somewhat inexperienced politician, the other is an unprincipled, corrupt scoundrel. Great! They are the same!
    Let’s make it simple, shall we? As long as Palestinian leaders make rhetorical swipes at those with whom they plan to negotiate, no progress will be made. As long as their demands will be based on fiction rather than reality, they will not be met. And as long as they will turn a blind eye toward terrorists in their midst, Israel will defend itself with dire consequences for the civilian population.
    Barghouti is right on one thing–the process has to allow external influence. The problem is, it is the Palestinians who have been immune from external pressure. The US can twist Israeli government’s arm to make concessions. But who is going to do that for the Palestinians? Iran? China? Russia? France? Will they listen?
    I am tired of knee-jerk pro-Palestinian reaction from the American Left. It’s not because I am not liberal. Quite to the contrary. It’s because they are advocating for a right-wing, anti-democratic regime, similar to those of its worst-offending neighbors. Hamas is the Contras of the Middle East. The PA is not that far off, although their record has been slowly improving, largely because recognize that national politics must be secular. I cannot, in good conscience, support a nation formation that is likely to lead to civil strife and terror. I want there to be an independent Arab Palestinian state, but there must be some assurances that the formation of the state will resolve problems rather than create them.

    Reply

  8. James says:

    POA , If you avoid using foul language I will answer your questions.

    Reply

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Notice how James avoids direct questions about his earlier posts. I find his style of posting extremely despicable and cowardly.

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  10. James says:

    Abba Eban was right when he said:
    ” THE PALESTINIANS NEVER MISS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MISS AN OPPORTUNITY.”
    The So in 2005 the Palestinians are given Gaza, free of any Jews. Do they begin building the state they say they want, constructing schools and roads and hospitals? No. They launch rockets at civilians and dig a 300-yard tunnel under the border to attack Israeli soldiers and bring back a hostage.

    Reply

  11. MrZee says:

    DonS wrote -“Is there something about this formulation that
    puzzles you? Perhaps you have just missed the part where the
    Palestinians get their land “appropriated”.”
    We could argue over “appropriated”, I’m sure you’ve heard the
    Jewish side many times, but I still go back to Apartheid. There
    needs to be new & radical thought in this conflict. If Barghouti
    wants to emulate men of peace why doesn’t he welcome Jews to
    continue living in the West Bank under an Arab government, living
    in safety, harmony & democracy with their Arabic cousins. To start
    creating trust instead of division, to say just as we live in the land
    of Israel you may live in the land of Palestine.
    Where are the men of peace?

    Reply

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Try sending to Steve@TheWashingtonNote.com
    Done. Let me know if you got it.

    Reply

  13. WigWag says:

    “We are all related to people for whom we have zero responsibility.”
    If you don’t believe it, you should have met my mother-in-law!

    Reply

  14. Steve Clemons says:

    James: We are all related to people for whom we have zero responsibility. I find your notes about Barghouti’s relatives irrelevant to the picture of who he is and what he represents.
    POA — I apologize but dont think I got your email. I’ve just done a search for it and can’t find it. Might I ask you to send again. Try sending to Steve@TheWashingtonNote.com. Sorry about this. New America’s email system has had some bad moments recently.
    All best, steve clemons

    Reply

  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Steve….I responded to your email with a return email. Are my responses not getting through to you?

    Reply

  16. DonS says:

    “Er, no Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but Arabs can live in
    Israel….remind me, who is advocating Apartheid?”
    Is there something about this formulation that puzzles you? Perhaps you have just missed the part where the Palestinians get their land “appropriated”.

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  17. MrZee says:

    Er, no Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but Arabs can live in
    Israel….remind me, who is advocating Apartheid?

    Reply

  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And Marwan is a DISTANT cousin of Mustafa.
    Are you convicting Mustafa of Marwan’s crimes, or claiming a close familial relationship? If so, you are a liar.
    By the way, you forgot to mention that Marwan waged no defence to the Israeli charges of murder, as he asserted that the trial itself was illegal. Pretty slick, being acquited of 21 charges you didn’t even bother to lodge a defense against, eh? Put hey, they managed to convict a silent and undefended suspect of five murders. Yippee.
    You know what, you defaming propaganda slinging piece of crap? The internet is a real problem for you jackasses. It took me all of about thirty seconds to dismantle your attempt to slander Mustafa Barghouti, by just employing a couple of simple google searches.

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    James, will you please provide the sourcing that establishes that Ahmed Taleb Mustafa Barghouti is Mustafa’s cousin? I can find no such information.
    Nor can I find any source other than the FMS website that has any reference to Ahmed. Can you direct me to any other reference to Ahmed Taleb Mustafa Barghouti?
    And, considering that the FMS website provides exactly NO sourcing for its list of Ahmed’s supposed crimes, perhaps you can tell us why, exactly, this single source should be deemed as credible.
    And as one last question, are you accusing Mustafa Barghouti of terrorism, guilt by association, or of just being a Palestinian?
    I smell a rat.
    http://www.trackingthethreat.com/zsearch/ent.jsp?entId=2277

    Reply

  20. James says:

    Another cousin of Mustafa Barghoti is Ahmed Taleb Mustafa Barghouti.He was a member of the terror cell which carried out many shooting attacks against IDF soldiers in the area around Ramallah. Since the year 2001, he has served as Marwan Barghouti’s bureau chief and as the director and
    coordinator of terrorist attacks against Israel, under the direction of Marwan Barghouti.
    Ahmed Taleb Mustafa Barghouti has directed and carried out the following terror attacks in
    2002:
    l Jan 22, 2002 – The shooting spree on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem. Two Israelis were killed, 37
    wounded.
    l Jan 17, 2002 – Three terrorists were arrested on their way from Nablus to Ramallah where
    they were to meet Ahmed Taleb Mustafa Barghouti. From their meeting, the terrorists were to go
    on their way to Jerusalem where they were to carry out a suicide terrorist attack.
    l Feb 25, 2002 – The shooting attack in the Jerusalem residential neighborhood of Neve
    Yaacov. One Israeli policewoman was killed, 9 Israelis were wounded.
    Feb 27, 2002 – The suicide attack perpetrated by Daryan Abu Aysha and the Maccabim
    checkpoint in which two policeman were injured.
    l Mar 5, 2002 – The shooting spree at the Tel Aviv Seafood restaurant Three Israelis were killed,
    31 wounded.
    l Mar 8, 2002 – The interception of a suicide terrorist with an explosive belt along with his
    handler in Daheat el Barid. The attack was thwarted.
    l Mar 27, 2002 – The interception of an ambulance and the confiscation of an explosive belt
    which was being smuggled from Samaria into in Ramallah, under the coordination of Ahmed Taleb Mustafa Barghouti.

    Reply

  21. Paul Norheim says:

    “Only liberals can support folks like Mustafa Barghouti who send
    suicide bombers into Israeli malls, school buses and
    restaurantes.”
    Does he? Can you prove that? Or are you as “liberal” with
    accusations as you claim ideological liberals are with terrorists.
    Now James, which malls, which school buses and restaurants did
    Mustafa Barghouti send suicide bombers to? And no, it`s not
    sufficient to say that he was a member of the PLO, or that his
    brother was convicted.

    Reply

  22. James says:

    Only liberals can support folks like Mustafa Barghouti who send suicide bombers into Israeli malls, school buses and restaurantes.

    Reply

  23. James says:

    Mustafa Barghouti was a member of the PLO, which is a terror group.In 1996 he was charges for disturbing the peace and entering Israel illegally, He was released several days later.
    His cousin Marwan Barghouti was convicted on May 20, 2004 of five counts of murder. He was acquitted of 21 counts of murder in 33 other attacks. On June 6, 2004, he was sentenced to five life sentences for the five murders and forty years imprisonment for the attempted murder.
    Although considered a “moderate”, he still has terror ties.

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  24. ... says:

    ditto for me questions…

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  25. questions says:

    It seems to freeze at “I honestly feel sad that” and the glitch is also in the YouTube link. Any chance of repair?

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Thanks Steve. And check your email.

    Reply

  27. Steve Clemons says:

    POA — if you want the YouTube link, here is the address:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1c1cWJGHJU
    All the best,
    Steve

    Reply

  28. Lurker says:

    Excellent, important interview Steve.
    Bargouti seems to be the kind of person the Obama people should be starting this process with and listening to.

    Reply

  29. Cee says:

    Netanyahu: No rotation with Livni
    Likud leader rejects notion of sharing power with Kadima during faction meeting Wednesday evening; Netanyahu urges Livni to cast aside political considerations, join Likud-led government
    Amnon Meranda Published: 02.11.09, 19:58 / Israel News
    The Likud party will form the next government and will not share power with Kadima, Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday evening.
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3670468,00.html

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Steve, unfortunately, due to a glitch, I can’t view the video. But you are to be commended for posting Barghouti’s comments.

    Reply

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