Regards from Ankara
Best regards from Ankara, the capital of Turkey, where I am now at a
conference on Palestine, together with wonderful Cynthia McKinney and other good
and great persons. Turkey is changing its course, from very pro-American and
pro-Israeli to more independent, and subsequently less zionized. The Turks
are proud of the brave stand of their prime minister for Palestine and against
an Israeli leader at Davos last year, and they consider it a pivotal event.
Turkey is changing from violently secular, anti-religious, so 1940s
Kemalist regime, but there are still a lot of vestiges, as huge portraits
of the supreme leader are still hanging on the capital buildings while student
girls in headscarfs are being frowned upon if not actually forbidden to enter
university. Though kemalism was supposed to be the proponent of modernisation,
it is so dated, so old-fashioned! There is nothing more dated than yesterday's
modernism. In Russia, they took this sort of portraits down in 1955, and even
Taiwan removed its Chiang Kai Shek portraits in 1980s.
Surely it is not only portraits that annoy. They have a Supreme Court which
tried to outlaw the majority ruling party because its very soft Islamic leanings
do not agree with strict kemalism. It seems that Turkey's parliament has
still much work to do on the way to democracy - they should downgrade
their unelected Supreme Court, bring army and intelligence generals into
obedience, provide for religious freedom for majority Muslims. But first,
they should remove American military bases and kick NATO out. In an
interview to a Turkish newspaper I called Turkey "to make peace with its own
past" - the splendid past of the Caliphate, the ruler of the East, the head of
the Muslim believers and the protector of the Christians. Here is the talk I give today with its advices:
What to Do in and about Palestine
Israel Shamir’s Talk at the Ankara Conference
Dear Turkish friends and fellow guests from abroad,
I am glad to speak again to you, the people of our great neighbour and former sovereign Turkey . Your latest developments inspire optimism. You are doing fine! Turkey is growing stronger and more independent; your leaders’ obsession with joining the European Union has been exorcised. You have restored the power of the parliament, bridled military excesses, streamlined your economy and improved relations with Syria and Iran . Turkey is no longer an American colony. You stopped joint air force exercises with Israel and the US . You expressed your clear anger over the horrors of Gaza . Now you pay more attention to the area where you live; you play an important role already and are destined to play an even greater role. So much depends on you! We feel it every day in Palestine .
I will not waste your time describing the horrors of Zionist rule in Palestine . You already know them, you’ve seen them on TV – dreadful pictures of burned schools and napalmed children, of the Gaza blockade, of check points, of night arrests. It is now exactly one year since the Jewish onslaught on Gaza , last year's Christmas war which Israel began while the world was holidaying. Your president, Mr Gul, said a few days ago to our president, Mr Peres, that he will not visit Israel while the siege of Gaza continues, and that was a very good decision. Indeed, it is urgent to lift the Gaza siege, because no building materials are being allowed to enter Gaza for the repair of homes. Instead, the Israeli siege is being tightened with active help of Egypt . However beyond Gaza problem we must look for a bigger picture.
We are being told that the Gaza problem is that of Hamas intransigence, that it is Gaza ’s own fault. If only Gaza wouldn’t embrace radical Islam , Israel would accommodate Gaza ’s needs. Let us have a look outside of Gaza , at the West Bank’s jewel, el Bireh, the twin city of Ramallah , the seat of Israel-approved ruler Mahmud Abbas. This is a most prosperous city of wonderful villas with a lot of greenery and purring Mercedes cars, and a beautiful view. El Bireh decided to build a football stadium; they asked for money and they received funds from France , Germany and the World Football Association, FIFA. The football stadium was built within the city of el Bireh 's limits. Immediately, the Israeli court ruled: the stadium must be destroyed, because it is within the eyesight of a Jew.
Do you understand this? Mahmud Abbas is the most compliant Palestinian leader now or ever; he is doing everything that Israel asks. His police kindly retreat when Israeli security jeeps drive into his cities to arrest whomever they wish. He arrests every activist who speaks against Israeli excesses. He even fired the most senior Palestinian diplomat, Dr. Afif Safieh, the former ambassador to Washington , London , Vatican and Moscow because he spoke out against the Israeli war on Gaza . Every Islamist, every supporter of Islam in the West Bank is (or was) in Abbas’ jail. Abbas is an implacable enemy of radical Islam. You can’t be more conciliatory towards Israel than Mahmud Abbas. And still, he can’t even build a stadium for kids to kick ball in his own city, because the Jews will not allow it.
So, although Gaza is in a dreadful situation, the problem is not only Gaza . Islam or not Islam is not even a question we should be pondering. It makes no difference. Islamists are in Abbas’ jail, yet Abbas can’t even build a stadium. Stadium, not medreseh. Fatah member Marwan Barghuti and leftist PFLP leader Ahmed Sadat are in Israeli jails together with Hamas MPs.
The problem is the Jewish state. Not only does it besiege Gaza and destroy a football stadium in el Bireh. These are local problems, painful but local. The Jewish state focuses Jewish power all over the world into action. Without a Jewish state, this power would disperse; it would remain local, it would remain chaotic, probably it would be subdued by the forces of assimilation. Israel focuses these chaotic forces and concentrates them into action.
This action is against Islam. Not only against Islam, but Dar ul Islam (the Islamic world) is a prime target. In the US , the Jewish Neocons led their country into a crusade against Iraq and Afghanistan ; now they are spearheading the push against Iran . They have formed a powerful front against President Obama and have turned him into a laughing stock after he uttered a few words of wisdom about Palestine . In Europe , if you inspect the coffers of anti-Muslim neo-Nazi groups, you'll find that they thrive on Jewish support. In Russia , Jewish nationalists and Zionists try to rally the Russians against their Muslim brethren. Sometimes they do it under cover of the Russian Church , or of Russian nationalism. I wrote about this recently, as I had discovered that the most fervently anti-Muslim forces in Russia are organised by crypto-Zionists.
Even if a Palestinian state were to be established and recognised, it wouldn’t stop Israeli attempts to undermine its neighbours, to bomb Iran , to sow the seeds of discord from Russia to France , from Turkey to India . Israel 's too powerful intelligence services would keep meddling. Neither would it neutralise the armed forces of Israel , and you know as well as anybody that the generals do not give up their toys, their privileges or their influence easily. The Israeli military machine is so powerful that it would seek to exercise its might. Remember the Israel-Egypt peace treaty: when it was concluded, the first thing Israel did was invade Lebanon .
The bad influence of Zionism on Jews all over the world would not vanish in case of a “two states’ solution. In 1920, Winston Churchill published an article (Illustrated Sunday Herald, February 8, 1920, pg 5) titled: «Zionism or Bolshevism». (http://www.library. flawlesslogic. com/ish.htm ). There he noted that many Jews tend to embrace the cause of social equality (for him it was “impossible equality”), and the best way to stop by far too dynamic and powerful Jews from promoting equality is to infect them with Zionism. His project was supported by the might of the British Empire and by money of wealthy anti-equality Jews. Zionism won. Equality was defeated. If we defeat Zionism, equality will have another chance. And a two states’ solution will not defeat Zionism.
In short, even if Mahmud Abbas’s dream of limited independence were to be realised, it wouldn’t be good enough for the region, and it wouldn’t be good enough for the world: Israel in its form of Jewish-supremacist state can’t become a peaceful neighbour.
Supremacism leads to wars. Only a democratic state, the successor of Israel and the PNA, would be able to live in peace. Compare it to South Africa : as long as it was a white-supremacist state, it was the source of warfare and trouble all over Africa . After its supremacism was exorcized, it became peaceful. In the same vein, independent Palestine would be just another Bantustan of the type rightly rejected by South Africans.
But I do not think that even this very limited cause of limited independence for Palestine is likely to be achieved. We have been told – for sixteen years! – that there is a peace process that will lead to a “two states solution”. This is a fairy tale. If the Jews will not allow even the most loyal and obedient of el Bireh’s kids to play football, do you think they will allow them to have an independent state? Why would they?
The Jews write frequently of how they envisage Palestinian independence. (I refer here to the most enlightened left-wing Jewish politicians! ) They speak of a Palestine broken into a few enclaves surrounded by a wall and barbed wire, its airspace and all of its borders controlled by Israel; its water to remain under Jewish control. And this is the best they can dream of.
If you want to have Two States, it can happen only if the Jews plead for it like they did in 1947. They did so then, and they will do so again only if they feel that the alternative, a single democratic state for all inhabitants of Palestine , is on the table. This is what they are afraid of: full democracy, full equality in the whole of the land. So even for practical reasons, we should call, not for independence of some partitioned bits and pieces, but for the whole lot: Let Palestine be united, let all of its inhabitants have equal rights, and afterwards they can discuss two states for ever and ever. The first thing is equality, the rest can wait.
Speaking frankly, this mythic Two State Solution can’t even be envisaged. Jews and Palestinians live all over Palestine , and they can’t be physically separated without a huge turmoil that would remind us of 1921 in Turkey and Greece , with Turks leaving Salonika and Greeks leaving Smyrna . This is not something one would like to see happen.
The West gave Nansen his Nobel Peace prize for the transfer of Greeks and Turks. In my view, this was a terrible calamity, never to be repeated. Partitions are awful; it is like sawing a living man into two parts. Nor is it necessary. Greeks and Turks could live together as they did for four hundred years; separation did nothing good for them. Separation of Israelis and Palestinians would be equally evil.
Now, Zionists often remind Turks of your so-called “Kurd problem”. This comparison is wrong, because every Kurd in Turkey has Turkish citizenship and has all the rights every Turkish citizen has; while Palestinians usually have no citizenship of the state of Israel and enjoy no rights. But in one sense this comparison is right: it is impossible to separate Kurds from Turkey , because people of Kurdish descent live everywhere from Diyarbakir to Istanbul . Likewise, it is impossible to separate Palestinians from the immigrant populations which are called “Jews”.
Indeed, the whole story of Palestine is a story of immigrants taking over a country. Such things happen: immigrants from Britain took over North America and Australia . This is a sad thing, but it happened. Now it is not realistic to hope that they will sail back to England – they won’t. It is wrong to try and create an “independent state” for the native Americans – such independent states are called “reservations” . The right answer is equality for native and immigrant alike. Some Jews would complain that they want a state of their own. We shall answer them: you have built on sand, and a house built on sand can’t stand forever. If you want a state of your own without anybody else, find yourself a lonely uninhabited island. Palestine was, and is, populated; the best you can wish is to be equal citizens in Palestine with everybody else.
I spoke about this solution in the year 2001, when our country was torn by intifada al Aksa. It was right then, and it is right now. At that time I said: there is no other solution but a one-state solution. People, and even good people, activists, friends of Palestine said: no, we are very close to the two states’ solution. I did not believe it then, I do not believe it now. There is only one good way out, and that is the way of equality and democracy, of deconstructing the Jewish state by forcing it to give full rights to all Palestinians under its rule.
So this is the goal we should strive for: full equality and integration of Palestine and Israel , South African style. Nothing less.
This does not mean that there is nothing to be done until that moment. Turkey can do a lot even now, even today, beyond expressions of solidarity. The Jewish state is a horrible example of injustice gone unpunished. For instance, an Israeli officer Captain R murdered a 13-year old girl, Iman al Hams. He shot her within eyesight of his soldiers and said that even a three-year-old Palestinian should be killed if she comes close to Jewish positions. The Jewish court absolved Captain R of all guilt; the Israeli Army promoted him to major and another court awarded him damages for the mere discussion of his crime. Last week, yet another Jewish judge gave another huge compensation to the same murderer.
Turkey, as the former ruler of Palestine , could fill in the void of justice by bringing this Captain R to trial. Sooner or later he will leave the sanctuary of the Jewish state and travel somewhere for a holiday. A Turkish warrant for his arrest should await him wherever he goes. And not only him, but the Jewish ‘judges’ who covered up his crime and became accessories after the murder should be tried too. This is not a job for amateurs, but for a state with all its tools. If present Turkish law does not allow for this, let the law be updated by taking a leaf from the Israeli book. According to Israeli law, if a Turk does wrong to a Jew in Turkey , he may be snatched, arrested, tried and punished in Israel . Turkey should introduce a symmetrical law, covering offences against Palestinians who otherwise are not protected by law.
Turkey could also take the initiative to stop the still looming Israeli-American aggression against Iran . If they do take Iran , Turkey will be encircled and cut off. The fate of Palestine also depends on the fate of Tehran .
My New Year's wish to you: be yourself, be Turks, and live in harmony and friendship with your neighbours, with Russia , Iran , Syria , Greece and with all the successor states of the Ottoman Empire . You are needed for the world and for Palestine .