‘Palestinians be damned’ — Khalidi explains the American role in the peace process
by Philip Weiss on April 26, 2013
Rashid Khalidi’s latest book on the conflict may be his most important in terms of policy. Brokers of Deceit documents as no work has before the record of American double-dealing during the peace process. For 40 years, the United States government managed the negotiations closely but always as Israel’s lawyer; and Khalidi, a professor at Columbia, has laid bare the dismal official record of this imposture, including many papers never before published, some from Khalidi’s own work as an adviser to the PLO during the early 90s.
The book is unstinting about the role of domestic politics in this record — the lobby– and it builds to a savage conclusion about the power of racism in shaping the denial of one people’s story and the affirmation of another. “Denial and affirmation have been diligently and patiently rooted for many generations in the Bible, in cinema, in popular culture, in racist stereotypes of Arabs, in putatively shared values… They have moreover been internalized by most of the American political class, by much of the American media, and by many ordinary Americans.”
The book also marks a turn in the discourse about Khalidi himself. Five years ago during the ’08 campaign he was smeared by Sarah Palin and others so as to hurt his friend Barack Obama. At that time few stood up for him. But Khalidi’s book tour has been a warm one. What follows is a Q-and-A with the author.
Q. I find your book stunning in terms of the bait and switch that the peace process has been for Palestinians.
Bait and switch– that’s exactly what happened in the 1990’s. The Palestinians believed a set of things that they’d been told, going into the Madrid process. Within a few years they found out that what was actually on offer was completely different.
Q. You document a chilling view that the Israelis held since 1977, and that the US never stopped them from pursuing: Palestinians in the West Bank could have quote-unquote autonomy, but not territory.
That’s what I would argue, that if you go back and look at the totality of what Likud said when it came into office in 1977, as well as the positions enunciated by the Israeli government privately and publicly during Camp David [under Carter] and by Shamir in 1990s, it should have been clear to everyone: in their view all of Mandatory Palestine from the river to the sea (and for some of them beyond that, into Jordan) is “the land of Israel,” the Palestinians are not a people, and under no circumstances could Palestinian statehood or sovereignty or self-determination result from the negotiations. I think these documents are absolutely categorical on this point.
In fact, as I was reading through all the documents laying out the positions of Begin and his successors, I felt this slap in the face effect–a realization that this is precisely the reality that’s prevailed for the last two decades, since Oslo. Begin’s position, the Likud position, is the ceiling of what Israel will allow the Palestinians, then and now.
All of us should have been clearer about that reality. What’s most striking is that the US crumpled, caved in, capitulated, whatever phrase you want to use, to this position and also came to regard it as the absolute ceiling of what Palestinians could aspire to. It is not that in the documents the Americans say explicitly to the Palestinians: “screw you.” Their tone was more diplomatic, more veiled. But notwithstanding the reservations of several American presidents, and I show that several of them had reservations, including Carter and Reagan, in the end that was the U.S. bottom line.
And that should have been clearer to more people. I was already disenchanted by 1993. But I don’t think many people realized fully the degree to which the U.S. and Israel were in cahoots on establishing this low ceiling on what Israel would accede to, and Palestinians could ever be allowed to aspire to.
It is important to remember that this was true of Labor governments too: because the problem is not just with the Greater Land of Israel and pro-settlements component of the Israeli political spectrum. It is also the security component, which virtually the entire Israeli political spectrum subscribes to. Not everyone in the Israeli elite believes in the Greater Land of Israel myth and in the settlements as their entitlement. But everyone believes in the security part, all of the Israeli establishment does– though even some of them have their own doubts, as you can see if you watch the film “The Gatekeepers.” But that’s the mantra they repeat to the public. “We need security.” It’s the business of lying to yourself and to the public so that everyone believes the lie. The emperor’s clothes are beautiful.
And American support for this stance has perpetrated these thoroughly pernicious myths, that only one people has rights to this land, the Jewish people. And that because of the security mantra Israel should retain permanent effective control over everything of importance in this territory between the sea and the Jordan, with the result that only one people ends up with rights. Call it apartheid, call it a perverse one state solution, call it institutionalized Jim Crow, call it what you want, but that is the reality: Israeli Jews are the only people with full rights in the only sovereign state between the river and the sea. The Palestinians are relegated to varying degrees of discrimination, disenfranchisement, and subjugation.
This is why I speak of the distortion of language, this Orwellian process. When providing Israel with “security” means I have to keep my foot permanently on your neck, and otherwise my very existence is threatened, we are talking about a belief that goes well beyond security. And that can only work itself out through the oppression of another people.
Q. There’s a document you quote in which an American official says to the Palestinians, “What about if the Israelis have control but you have sovereignty?”
Yes, that was Dennis Ross, asking Abu al-‘Alain the final status discussions in 2000 before Camp David, “would you accept sovereignty without control?” The core aspect of sovereignty is that you have control. Otherwise it’s not sovereignty. That’s another Orwellian usage. By the way, you can find that document posted online with the Guardian-Al Jazeera“Palestine Papers.”
Q. And I’m thinking also about Daniel Kurtzer, one of the fairer American negotiators as they come.
As they come is the key phrase. I mean, comparing him to whom– Dennis Ross or Elliott Abrams. Compared to Ross and Abrams, Kurtzer is a knight in shining armor, but that’s a very low standard.
Q. I was shocked by what Kurtzer says. You show that in 1993, when Palestinians has secretly begun the Oslo process and the Israelis had already agreed that the Palestine Liberation Army might play a role in the security arrangements in the West Bank, Kurtzer said No way. And then he says, he was going to “put on an Israeli hat. Now I’m Joe Israeli.” And Joe Israeli would never agree to that. When they had!
Listen to what he’s actually saying: “I don’t believe the Israelis will ever accept this. They’ll never accept the deal you are telling me about.” Well either he was unable to believe that they would do so or unwilling to admit that to the Palestinians.
One of the issues here with the people who worked on this issue on the American side– all they paid attention to, was, “Will this fly in Washington? Will this fly in Tel Aviv? And Palestinians be damned, they are pliable, they can be made to go along. And so can the Arab governments.” It was all about what is acceptable according to the conventional wisdom here in the U.S. and there in Israel. And the conventional wisdom was that the Israeli government would never do a deal with the PLO.
And irrespective of whether the Americans knew or not about these preliminaries to Oslo, this deal flew in the face of their mistaken assumptions about Israel, and was outside the limited, Israeli-defined box they put themselves in from day one.
That’s one of the worst things about American diplomacy, that it was based on the assumptions of people who really only focused on Israel. Many of these people were relatively well versed in the politics of the Arab world. Not Dennis Ross: he was a Soviet specialist. But all of them had developed an acute sensitivity to what they think is the bottom line in American and Israeli politics, which in the last analysis was all that concerned them. But they were wrong… they were setting artificially low terms.
Now when Rabin came in, he took conventional, disappointing positions on the core issues of self-determination, statehood, and equality. But in terms of what American negotiators assumed about accepting the PLO as an interlocutor and dealing with it, he went much farther than they believed any Israeli leader would.
Q. You quote from a great Palestinian document laying out the Palestinian view in 1992 of a self-governing authority: “It covers all the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. The jurisdiction of the PISGA shall encompass all of these territories, the land, natural resources and water, the subsoil, and their territorial sea and air-space… etc.” It’s pretty eloquent.
Notice that it just says jurisdiction. Not sovereignty. Whereas Jordan and Syria and Lebanon were supposed to negotiate final peace deals with Israel, in the Palestinian case everything important was deferred, all the Palestinians could aspire to was “autonomy,” and there was a whole series of spurious excuses for not negotiating thefinal status stuff. And when we asked, apropos of jurisdiction, where does the writ of this authority run, territorially– well we were told we couldn’t talk about it.
Begin and his ilk refused to talk about the territorial dimension because in their view the Jewish people had an inalienable right to live anywhere in the land of Israel. So Palestinians couldn’t have jurisdiction in that worldview. There were tortured negotiations in which we tried to insert a territorial dimension.
Q. So that’s why visiting al-Walaja, at the outskirts of Jerusalem, Mazin Qumsiyeh points out the wall to me, and says, they are trying to get as much land as possible with as few Palestinians on it.
Yes but that shows the continuity. You have the same strategy going back to 1948. They [the Zionists] were gifted over half of the land of Palestine in the 1947 partition plan– 55 percent of the land for a population that was under 35 percent of the whole. But that wasn’t enough. So they ended up taking 78 percent. Then with Oslo, they figured, we will keep whatever else we want, and at the same time we can unburden ourselves of the onus of occupation.
And this perverse logic was established by earlier statements, like “It’s our land so we can’t be occupying it.” Jordan was not the legal sovereign, as Eugene Rostow said, because Jordan was not a legal occupier. So Israel’s occupation since 1967 is not an occupation and is not illegal. And because the Balfour Declaration allowed it, in this view Jewish settlement is permitted anywhere in “Eretz Israel” right down to this day. It’s brilliant sophistry: no occupation, and settlements are legal!
Q. This Israeli sophistry is reflected in a CIA analyst’s memo you quote about Israeli positions, from 1982. “Jewish settlements are to remain under Israeli control and not be subject to the SGA [Palestinian self-governing authority]. The SGA could not prevent new settlements… Water rights… status quo– which benefits Israel–prevails…Security issues, internal and external, would be udner sole Israeli control, with only minor police rights given to the SGA.”
That analyst was very shrewd. I’m given to understand that it was Robert Ames, who was killed in the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut in 1983. He really understood Begin. He obviously paid a lot of attention to everything the Prime Minister said, he had read all the US government’s confidential material to which he had access, and all the Prime Minister’s public statements. And he absolutely accurately described every jot and tittle of the Israeli position, and every position they would take in subsequent years. In fact he was describing the terms under which the Palestinian Authority was established. So this is much more than merely Begin’s wish list, this becomes reality. And his is the most succinct summation I’ve ever seen.
Q. I also love the statement in the book that the 2nd intifada was in ways a rational response to the false promise of the peace process.
Yes, though this response was counterproductive.
Q. And your explanation that Hamas gains power because it refuses to go along with a sham process.
Yes, Fateh was made out to look like a bunch of patsies by the Americans and Israelis, and ordinary Palestinians drew the logical conclusion.
Q. Talk about James Baker. He seems to have a real goal and to be an adult.
It was very clear to us that while Baker was in charge and had strong views on the one hand, there was the overwhelming force of domestic American politics and real limits on what the Americans would do to the Israelis on the other. So Baker says at one point to Faysal Husayni, “I cannot wave a wand and stop the settlements.” Meaning that on this issue, on settlements, this Israeli government is going to dig its heels in and we have limited ability to deal domestically with this. And meanwhile you see the Bush administration pushing hard on the $10 billion in loan guarantees in a way that no US government had done up to that point (or since). They entered into a knockdown dragout fight over this issue with the Shamir government. This was tactical. They were trying to undermine the Shamir government. But once Rabin came in, instead of maintaining a hard line and insisting on rolling back the settlements, which I believe that Rabin might have done under pressure, they were (a) so pathetically grateful to Rabin for having got rid of their bogeyman Shamir, and (b) so worried about the political consequences inside the U.S. of appearing to be hard on Israel with an election looming, that in the end they did nothing. As a result, settlement expansion continued unabated under Rabin and all his successors, who on this issue are in the end not so different from one another.
However, it’s a mistake to give too much credit to Baker. It was a historic achievement on his and Bush senior’s part, getting all the parties to the table. Unfortunately, the Palestinians were brought to the table on a completely skewed, unequal basis. The terms included preventing the PLO from participating and preventing final status issues being discussed till what proved to forever. That guaranteed failure. So Israel would get what it wanted, which was normalization with the Arab world, with the P.A. in force to lighten its burden of occupation, without having to give up either sovereignty or full security control.
Had they been willing to grant those two things that no Israeli prime minister has ever acceded to, what would have been needed to have a 2 state solution then? There were only a couple of hundred thousand settlers then. I think a very large proportion could have been convinced to leave. Remember that Rabin didn’t like the settlers and they did not like him. You might conceivably have gotten the 22 percent of Palestine that was not incorporated into Israel after the 1947-49 war to be the basis of a Palestinian state. How that would have worked out I don’t know.
Q. Your book suggests that a historic opportunity existed then, a window of a few years to create a Palestinian State
That was true as far as Palestinian opinion goes—you know, Palestinians are keen students of Israeli politics. Like any colonized/occupied people, they have had to be. And they saw the problems with the Oslo deal within a few years. And even as far as Israeli opinion is concerned, the problem is that leaving aside Likud, which was never reconciled to a Palestinian state, Labor has always accepted the security myth, that you have to keep your boot on the Palestinians’ neck for Israel to breathe. That was certainly Rabin’s view. So there’s no hope for a Palestinian state when there’s no control over security — which means sovereignty — if you consider that continued Israeli control is what Ross was talking about, even with a Labor government in 2000.
Q. So Palestinians had no partner for peace?
I don’t use that language. I think there was no willingness on the part of Israel to grant full sovereignty and security control to Palestinians and to share Jerusalem.
Q. It seems to me that you’ve irrefutably documented in this book that the peace process was a sham. So what about that other phrase people use: We all know what the solution is.
Some people may think they know what the solution is, but in terms of what the Israeli establishment is willing to give, that simply is not going to happen. On the other side, you have deep and justifiable skepticism on the Palestinian side. Because they study Israeli politics better than anyone over here, and they have internalized and completely absorbed the fact that the Israeli establishment has moved on… and yet it continues to think it can get away with imposing things on the Palestinians. They know that the Israelis are not going to negotiate a two state solution whereby the Palestinians obtain sovereignty and control– they’re not going to do it. And therefore they think, what are the alternatives? This explains the interest in the one state solution. People in the United States can delude themselves about the viability of a two-state solution till the cows come home, but Palestinians are living there, and know the reality. They do not consider some gerrymandered Swiss cheese Bantustan with no sovereignty – in fact something little different from what they have now – to be a state. And why should they? What self-respecting people would?
Q. But you say you’re optimistic about the resolution of the conflict. Where’s your optimism?
Very simply, as soon as people come around to the idea that you cannot partition historical Palestine equitably and justly because of 46 years of Israeli efforts to make that impossible, then we can deal realistically with the future of an unpartitioned Israel/Palestine. And then we have to think about how we deal with rights and national identity in that context. The Israelis appear to have all the cards. But smart Israelis know that ultimately the status quo is unsustainable in Europe and the U.S. They know that this situation, of grossly unequal rights, Jim Crow, discrimination, apartheid, call it what you want– you can’t sell that forever with the kind of hasbara they are maintaining. The smart ones know that sooner or later this thing is not going to keep flying. It’s closer to crashing in Europe than it is here, but it won’t fly.
Q. What is the state of awareness re partition?
That’s hard for me to say. Maybe I’m exposed to a self-selecting sample, but the kind of people I talk to—people who were formerly in middle ranking positions in government or are in thinktanks or are academics– to a greater or lesser extent are aware of the fact that this whole paradigm is crashing or has crashed. But they are acutely sensitive to the fact that at the political level the emperor is beautifully clothed. He is gorgeously clothed. A lie floats forever in Washington and this one has a lot of hot air under it. On the one hand, people know. On the other hand, they can’t say.
That said, describing reality has become easier in the U.S. than five years ago. That means that the prescriptions that follow have to change.
You can talk airily about, this is possible and that is possible regarding a two-state solution. But then you see the reality, and the permanent profound change wrought by American support for unending occupation. They still don’t understand that in Washington, of course, but more and more people are goingto the occupied territories. And so many people who have visited come back as the English say gobsmacked.
Just as Hanan Ashrawi says in your book, the PLO sitting in Tunis hadn’t seen the occupation with their own eyes so they didn’t understand it.
And you know, the things I quoted in that context are relatively gentle– quite mild compared to other things many people said at the time about the PLO leaders.
More and more people are visiting Palestine, even as a lot of people going to Israel on hasbara tours, Birthright and so forth –thousands of peopleare sent over there on what I call magical mystery tours, and they are systematically lied to and deceived.
They see that beautiful berm on the right side of Highway 6 as you go north. Hidden behind it for much of its length is the wall and the occupied territories. But people here see the berm, the grass, they don’t see the wall. They don’t see what’s actually going on a few meters away from this high tech country that has the GDP per capita of an advanced western country, right next to the GDP per capita of a third world country.
But it’s getting harder and harder to hide all of that. More people are beginning to see it. I’m not an analyst of current events, but I have that sense.
Let’s talk about you. Weren’t you smeared five years ago, and isn’t that moment over? Your book tour has been going great.
Maybe we’re in a new era. Maybe that’s why this book got a good reception. I am not sure about that. I was saying critical things in Resurrecting Empire during the Bush era about the American invasion of Iraq, back in 2004. That war was supported at the outset by a majority of Americans, so I was swimming against the tide; and the occupation only became unpopular a little over a year later. In the end, Resurrecting Empire actually got a favorable reception. The reception was good for The Iron Cage too and I had a successful book tour with it.
When people talk about Obama’s knowledge of the conflict. I always said, this guy studied at [your wife] Mona Khalidi’s table.
He ate at Mona’s dinner table. He didn’t study. That’s an important correction. And when they were talking about our relationship, nobody paid much attention to the fact that we moved from Hyde Park to New York in 2003. At that time Obama was in the Illinois State Senate. Our time in Chicago antedated the time he became a national politician. So then he was involved in budgets, crime, schools, and other things done in the state capitol, Springfield. Was he a colleague, a neighbor–yes. And because we were both at the University of Chicago, we had all kinds of interactions. But he was not even a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat then, he was a state senator. All this was in the future. I had nothing to do with him as a national politician. He formed his exploratory committee for his run for the U.S. Senate after we left Chicago.
So we had a personal connection with Barack and Michelle Obama, until just before he ran for the U.S. Senate and going back a few years before that. But insofar as he had a national presence on international issues, that occurred well after we knew them. The only foreign policy speech he ever delivered up to that point was the one before the Iraq war when he said “I’m not against all wars, just against stupid wars.” When we knew him, he wasn’t talking about foreign policy, nor was anyone expecting him to.
But you felt he was sympathetic to the Palestinian narrative?
Mona and I have talked about this. And what we remember is, whenever there was a dinner table discussion, he listened. He asked questions. But he listened very carefully (although he was undoubtedly also listening to a lot of other people). So I think he’s as knowledgeable as anyone who has ever held the office. Though JFK if you read his letters from the region in the 1930s and 40s, he had a pretty good knowledge of the core issues. And Roosevelt and Eisenhower were knowledgeable about the world, as were others. He is not unique among presidents.
And Bush senior was also knowledgeable. I never met George H.W. Bush, but my sense of Baker at least is that, from meeting him and from talking to Faysal Husayni and Hanan Ashrawi, their sense was that he was someone who had developed an understanding of certain things that affected Palestinians. Now that didn’t affect the bottom line: the United States didn’t stop settlements, it didn’t push for statehood and an end of Israeli control.
So sympathy and five cents won’t get you a cup of coffee.
So whatever understanding of the world this president [Obama] might have developed as a student, or from living abroad, or from a knowledge of the world that was in some sense so different from anyone who has ever held the office—I think that this has had very little impact on his performance as president. The part of the book that people should read carefully is the part about his speeches. What he has said in public is not very good. Frankly, a lot of it could be delivered by a standard speaker at a United Jewish Appeal or Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations conference. Yes there are some sections of some of them that are very hard for a Likudnik to swallow. But most of it, for instance the first passages of the recent speech, the longest part of that speech, and almost all of his speeches, including the so called favorable Cairo speech, don’t deviate in one jot or tittle from standard American discourse about Israel—Israelis need to be secure above all, Israel is always in existential danger, is always the victim, and Palestinians are the aggressors and the Holocaust is a constant lesson for Israel. I could go on and on. These tropes are ever present in this President’s discourse.
I was shocked to see that the US supported UN 194 [recognizing the right of return of Palestinian refugees] up until 1994. Then policy changed.
For 44 years.
Has the next generation of Palestinians changed your view of the conflict?
Let me speak about what I know about. The students I’ve taught in the last 10 or so years have changed significantly from the young people I taught in the 1980s when I first came back to the States. Over the last 10 or 15 years I have seen considerable change in American college-age people, at least the ones I’m in contact with. I’ve spoken at big and small state schools, small liberal arts colleges, Ivy League schools and everything in between, 10-15 of them per year, every year for the past 30 years. And these are college age kids, they’re college students, so it’s not a cross section, but there’s been a significant change. These are people who are more critical, less trusting of the mainstream media. Maybe it is a self-selecting sample, but I get the impression that these are audiences from one side of the political spectrum to the other, and of every ethnicity. And they are better informed, more critical, and there’s a much higher degree of activism around this issue. I’m mildly optimistic for the long run as a result.
As far as Palestinians, there’s not that large a group in this country of Palestinian-American and Arab-American students, or of Muslim-Americans. But they are a lot more self confident in the last decade or so than they were after 9/11 or evenbefore. It was very hard to be Arab or Arab-American in various periods in the past. And it’s still not that easy. But I’ve seen a greater degree of self confidence in the last 5 years. And the casual racism and bigotry in the discourse about the issue—that one group has certain rights, and those rights must be upheld at the expense of another people, the entire rationale for the awful treatment of the Palestinians, that one people are entitled to rights while another people are beneath having rights– there’s a lot less willingness to put up with that. Arab Americans are becoming a little more assertive, but they’re not carrying the issue. SJP, JVP, the Campaign to End the Occupation the BDS campaign—these groups are mainly made up of white Americans, with a certain admixture of Arab American and Jewish students.
There will be a bigger presence in the future, as the Arab community becomes more assimilated. Consider that the overwhelming majority of Arab Americans arrived after U.S. immigration laws were liberalized in 1965. The bulk of most other ethnic communities arrived more than four decades earlier, before 1924, when a racist new set of laws to exclude southern Europeans, Jews, Arabs and so forth were imposed. And if you go to Dearborn, Michigan, or Paterson, NJ, today you see the functional equivalent of the Lower East Side in 1920. Those other ethnicities became assimilated, Yiddish died out, Italian died out. But I can walk down the street in Paterson, and go into stores and not speak a word of English. Everyone knows Arabic. That assimilation process underway now in the new generation is eventually going to lead to much more activism than it already has and much more willingness to challenge the paradigm. You ain’t seen nothing yet.
We are a long way away from real political weight for this community, however. I’m asked, look at all these ethnic lobbies, Armenian, Greek, Italian, Irish, Jewish. Ours is so weak. I respond, Look at American Jews in the 1930s at the time of the rise of Hitler. You had a very large community, with enormous local influence in places like New York and with people in Congress and in government, yet if you look at decisions on entering the war against Germany, or the immigration to the U.S. of those who could have been saved before the Holocaust, those decisions were not particularly favorable to Jews even though the president’s closest advisers included many Jews. If not for Pearl Harbor who knows when the U.S. might have entered the war.
Of course even during the Roosevelt era–
When you remind us that he promised to consult Abdulaziz before doing anything to Palestine–
— therewas not a single Arab-American in a policy making position in the White House. There rarely has been one there since then.
Now by the time you get to Truman, things have changed, the domestic situation becomes very important. As Truman said, “I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism; I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents.” But how many decades was that after people immigrated? Meanwhile, it is still not 50 years since 1965. So things will go faster in the 21st century.
What’s your impression of the Palestinian street, opinion over there?
I never use that term,“Palestinian street.” That suggests it has a mob character. Public opinion is as sophisticated there as anywhere else. But I can’t take the pulse of people there. I’m not a public opinion guy, I’m not a political scientist. But the young people with whom I’ve been in contact there have a refreshing critical outlook. They are very much in touch with young people here, in the Arab countries, and in Europe. And that is a source of encouragement, given the depressed state of Palestinian politics. No one who hasn’t done it knows what it’s like to live under occupation for 2 ½ generations. Given that reality and the grim calculus of the balance of forces, it’s encouraging to me that many young people are active.
Will Europe change the issue?
There is no Europe where this issue is concerned. Because Europe is profoundly divided, and there’s a group of countries mortally afraid of offending the United States, or of being accused of being anti-semitic, especially the northern European countries. Then there are others that see the Middle East as a vital interest, because of energy, or because they border the Mediterranean, or because of their Muslim immigrant populations. They are more active on the issue. But because of this bifurcation you don’t have one Europe as far as the Middle East is concerned, you have two Europes. That said, I have never spoken to a European diplomat who doesn’t know the real outlines of the situation and doesn’t believe that Europe should be much more active. But like many people in American government, the political appointees above them won’t let them say what they think.
Europe eventually has to argue forcefully that it has vital interest that transcends the strong U.S. interest, and it has to oppose the US monopoly over this issue. I don’t know that it can. But it is relevant as a counter-weight, and sooner or later the Israelis are going to realize that they can’t maintain their oppression of the Palestinian people and continue to retain European support, or for that matter the support of the U.S. public, although that change will take much longer to appear.