Israel and the Threat of Transfer
Israel and the Threat of Transfer
The threat of â€œtransferâ€ of Palestinians â€œis a real danger and not just a bunch of empty slogans,â€ Dr. Haidar Abdel Shafi, an 83-year-old refugee and a Palestinian activist based in the Gaza Strip, told the Israeli newspaper Haâ€™aretz in an interview published April 5.
â€œ[T]he desire to transfer us has roots in the past, and in the history and ideology of certain Zionist circles, which have never given up hope of attaining this goal. This danger still exists at the start of the third millennium,â€ Dr. Shaafi said. â€œI will tell you frankly: In the present situation, I would not rule out the danger of a [population] transfer. We the Palestinians must regard the danger of a transfer as a potential option.â€
â€œThe Sharon government has stated publicly that it wants to crowd us into about 50 percent of the territories Israel occupied in the June 1967 war -- that is, about an eighth of the area of historical Palestine -- and to dictate to us how we should conduct our lives. Can you call such a thing a state?
Seeking to shore up his right-wing base and to boost his popularity (which has risen from 45 percent to 62 percent approval during the latest onslaught in the West Bank), Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has feted the fanatical National Religious Party (Shas), led by Effi Eitam, a former general and â€œa messianic nationalist who has talked of â€˜transferringâ€™ Palestinians out of the West Bankâ€ (New York Times).
Eitam refers to Palestinians in
â€œI can definitely see that as a consequence of a war, not many Arabs will remain here,â€ Eitam was recently quoted as saying in the Financial Times.
â€œWe must not fear bringing up again the idea of a transfer and of open discussion of the various possibilities that it offers,â€ Elon said on Israeli public radio. Moledet has purchased billboard space in Tel Aviv to promote its message that â€œOnly transfer will bring peace.â€
Sharon does not object to Elonâ€™s proposal, his spokesman, Raâ€™anan Gissin, explained, only its practicality: â€œIf the Palestinians would have a change of heart and move elsewhere, OK, but Sharon realizes transfer cannot be done because of the stance of the Israeli public. What Elon is saying is not something that today seems possible.â€
However, a March 2002 poll by the survey by the
As Israeli troops continue their deadly attacks on
Israeli officials repeatedly claim that they, like the Bush administration, have the right to do whatever it takes to â€œfight terrorism.â€
Defending Israeli aerial, sea, and land assaults that claimed more than 40 Palestinian lives on just the one day of
Further drawing out the parallel to the â€œwar on terrorism,â€
In response to the muted statements of President George Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell calling for â€œrestraint,â€ Israel has only escalated its attacks, knowing full well it can buy more time for its campaign against the Palestinians and that the U.S. government has no intention of cutting off its military, economic, and diplomatic pipeline.
The only way to change this brutal equation is through protest -- internationally and crucially in the
Those of us in the
Anthony Arnove is the editor of â€œTerrorism and War,â€ a new collection of interviews with Howard Zinn (Seven Stories). He traveled to