general scheme of Horowitz's argument is too trivial to analyze:
the Jews are always good; the Arabs are always bad. Racism is inherent:
"the Palestinians are a community of suicide bombers,"
he writes shamelessly. Some of his arguments are simply repulsive,
like the manipulative use of Israel's peace camp: "There is
no Arab 'Peace Now' movement, not even a small one, whereas in Israel
the movement demanding concessions to Arabs in the name of peace
is a formidable political force." The Israeli peace camp would
be very grateful to Mr. Horowitz for using its very existence as
an argument against peace.
official Israel, Horowitz offers no explicit solution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, but he hints again and again at Jordan being the Palestinian
state. And like official Israel, Horowitz does have an implicit solution,
clearly legible between the lines, as well as between Sharon's battle-lines:
ethnic cleansing, either by deporting the Palestinians to Jordan,
or by direct genocide, or by a combination of both. Israel is waiting
for the right moment to do that, and is meanwhile preparing the ground
in terms of international public opinion; Horowitz's article is part
of this campaign to prepare the hearts for genocide – not "the
Palestinians' genocidal agenda for the Jews," as Horowitz demagogically
writes, but an Israeli genocidal agenda for the Palestinians, materializing
day after day in front of our blindfolded eyes. Israeli generals hint
at it when they repeatedly talk of the present period as "the
second part of 1948" – the year he first ethnic cleansing of
Palestinians was launched.
all, it is Horowitz's use of history that deserves attention. Several
readers rejected my earlier claim, that
distracting the discussion from the present to the past is an ideological
strategy. Horowitz's article is an excellent demonstration of what
columnist Scott McConnell observes in his "open
letter," Horowitz does not use the word "settlements" even
once in his entire article. This is symptomatic: the present situation,
in which three million Palestinians live under a most murderous
Israeli occupation, with no political and human rights, their homes
bulldozed at Israel's will, the women giving birth in Israeli checkpoints,
scores and dozens of them killed every month, even the wretched
infrastructure left by decades of occupation systematically destroyed,
an entire people pushed into starving reservations, cut off and
surrounded by tanks and barbed-wire, and hundreds of Jewish settlements
that control and dispossess – all these are simply swept away under
the heavy carpet of a fairy-tale about "3,700 years" (sic!)
of Jewish history.
contains a myriad of details," I wrote in an earlier article; "you
can always find some detail that will embarrass your opponent. If
not, invent one – who can check?" Well Horowitz is a master
in inventing such details, too many for me to check. I hope the
following few will suffice to make the point.
A Few "Mistakes":
counts "more than 1,000 Israelis killed as a result of Palestinian
attacks" between 1993 and 1999. Numbers of victims are always
an effective argument, but they should be handled with care: by
miscounting the dead the writer may undermine his own rhetoric,
as he himself may look more interested at making a point than
in human lives. The true number of victims, as counted by an Israeli right-wing site not suspected
of a bias downwards, is 395.
Horowitz claims that, "During the same period 1993-1999 Israelis
were so desperate for peace that they reciprocated these acts
of murder by giving the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza
[...] 95 percent of the territory their negotiators demanded."
In fact, the Palestinian negotiators consistently demanded what
all UN resolutions did: the territories occupied in 1967. Horowitz
surely knows that they have been given a Bantustanian autonomy
not in 95 percent, but in approximately 13 percent of these territories.
Horowitz assures us that "when a deranged Jew goes into an
Arab mosque and kills the worshippers (which happened once) he
is acting alone and is universally condemned by the Israeli government
and the Jews in Israel and everywhere, and he is punished to the
full extent of Israeli law." In fact, the "deranged
Jew" he refers to, Baruch Goldstein, found his death during
the massacre he committed, so he was not punished at all. Israel
regularly punishes dead Palestinian fighters by destroying their
family home or by punishing the entire village; but Goldstein's
house was left untouched, and his settlement, 400 Jews who terrorize
the entire Palestinian city of Hebron, was not dismantled, though
such a measure enjoyed an overwhelming support in Israeli opinion
polls after the massacre. Most Israelis indeed condemned the crime,
but "acting alone" can hardly be said of a murderer
whose municipality built a large memorial park for his followers,
who come to pray at his grave, or for the hero of the biography
titled Praised be the Man, a popular book in extreme right-wing
mentions "three Arab leaders assassinated by other Arabs
for making peace with the Jews." In fact, the only Arab leader
who made peace with Israel and was assassinated was Egypt's President
Sadat. Even this assassination (by Moslem radicals) had very little
to do with the peace treaty he had signed. Actually, the only
leader in the region who was unambiguously assassinated because
of peace talks was Yitzhak
Rabin, murdered by a Jew; Horowitz has "forgotten"
claims that in 1978, "under the Camp David accords that Sadat
signed, Israel returned the entire Sinai with all its oil riches.
This act demonstrated once and for all that the solution to the
Middle East conflict was ready at hand. It only required the willingness
of the Arabs to agree." Not exactly: it also required the
willingness of Israel to agree. In fact, President Sadat had offered
peace to Israel under the same conditions back in 1971; Israel
rejected the offer, Egypt and Syria launched the 1973 war, and
only after that (and after 2,500 Israeli casualties) did Israel
accept the very terms it had rejected earlier.
claims that "At the moment of Israel's birth [...] there
were 800,000 Arabs living in Israel alongside 1.2 million Jews,"
implying that Jews were a majority. As every Israeli knows, the
number of Israeli Jews at the time was just 600,000. This means
that ethnic cleansing had to take place in order to create a Jewish
majority; and it did. Saying that the Arab refugees who had fled
the Israeli slivers "did not return" is an impressive
euphemism for the Israeli policy of shooting dead thousands of
refugees who tried to return, thus creating the refugee problem.
The Palestinian insistence on the right of return for them is
hardly a "newly created demand," as Horowitz claims:
actually, it is the very demand of Security Council Resolution
194 dated 11 December 1948.
Horowitz claims that "Israel had every right to annex these
territories captured from the aggressors
– a time-honored ritual among nations." Both the alleged
right and the "honored ritual" reside exclusively in
Mr. Horowitz's excited imagination, reflecting maybe the laws
of the jungle or of the Wild West, but not international law and
custom. I challenge Mr. Horowitz to find an international law
that allows a nation to annex territories it has taken by force
(the "aggressor" label is ridiculous: every nation in
history defines its enemies as such), or to give even a single
example since World War II of a nation anywhere on the globe that
moved its international border by force even by a single inch
and got away with it.
printable version of this article
HaCohen was born in the Netherlands in 1964 and has grown up in
Israel. He has B.A. in Computer Science, M.A. in Comparative Literature
and he presently works on his PhD thesis. He lives in Tel-Aviv,
teaches in the Department of Comparative Literature in Tel-Aviv
University. He also works as literary translator (from German, English
and Dutch), and as a literary critic for the Israeli daily Yedioth
Achronoth. His work has been published widely in Israel. His
column appears occasionally at Antiwar.com.
Horowitz Rewrites the Past
Say No to
a Palestinian 'State'
Cares About the Palestinians?
in the Streets
Ideology of Occupation
War – Really Imminent?
State of the Army, Part Two
Settlements, Killing Peace
State of the Army, Part 1
Left Sells Out Peace