Palestinians do not have enough chicken

It is said that in a village of historic Palestine, lived a very
respected Mullah. People used to visit him to get advise whenever they
wondered how to face some difficulty.

It is thus that a peasant went to see him and told him: "Venerable Mullah,
my chicken are afflicted with some strange disease, and many are dying
each day. Please tell me what should I do?". Without hesitation, the
Mullah told the peasant to mix pieces of onion to the grain the chickens
were eating.

This did not help, and the peasant came back week after week complaining.
And the Mullah, week after week, advised to mix the feeding grain with
garlic, then with salt, then with pepper. Nothing helped, and the chicken
went on dying, many of them a week.

When after a few months, the peasant went back to his Mullah seeking advise,
the Mullah told him: "Look here, my brave peasant, I do have plenty more
solutions. But, do you have enough chicken?"

The fact is that the Palestinians have expressed their belief in a variety
of ways to obtain satisfaction to their aspiration. But Palestinians cannot
afford the global price tagged on all of those ways.

The situation with the Palestinians is here no different than that with
any other people. The Israeli people is facing the problem of security.
Those of them who are enlightened, suggest the evacuation of the West Bank,
the Ghaza trip and East Jerusalem. Some still more enlightened add
that the Jewish settlements should be dismantled. Others suggest ethnic
cleansing. Others suggest heavy retaliation for every Palestinian violent

The Israeli are indeed divided. However they all recognise the authority of
their government, be it that of Sharon or whoever else.

The Palestinians are also divided. Some aim at the pre-1967 boundaries,
and the dismantling of the settlements. Others want to go back to the
1948 partition. Others, like Hamas want all of Historic Palestine
from which all the post-1948 Jewish population would be expelled.
And with the diversity of aims, comes a diversity of means. Some
give a great importance to the building of democratic institutions and
the elimination of corruption. Others think that the Palestinians must
get the realisation of their aspiration through the US. Some think in terms
of non-violence or of civil disobedience. Others hope that suicide-bombers
are the ultimate solution.

So, we see that Palestinians are as divided as the Israelis. Still, there
is an essential difference. While in Israel, an elected prime minister,
together with his cabinet, decides the policies of his countries, and has
that policy implemented by all the departments of his government, and
while he decides his policies, there is no Israeli parallel power who defies
him and is able to apply a different policy, the situation in Palestine
is different.

There Arafat, the elected Palestinian president, see his authority
challenged by other powerful groups. Those groups, like HAMAS, instead
of struggling in order to get the support of the majority of the
population, whenever another election can be run, those groups are
highjacking the running of their country by implementing a policy
that does not have the approval of the elected authorities.

In short the Palestinian society is not only divided in opinions, which is
the most natural state to be, but is divided in implementation-power of
policies, which is not so natural and which harms the Palestinian cause to
the highest degree. There is therefore in Palestine more than one authority.

This is one of the greatest curse imposed on the Palestinian people.
It can be understood that, though HAMAS today is not an organisation
controlled by Israel, it is in the power of Israel to decide how more
or less relevant HAMAS becomes in the life of the Palestinian people.

No doubt, for instance, that an increase in the number of Jewish
settlements in the territories, weakens the hand of Arafat, and
strengthens the hand of HAMAS.

With the existence of "parallel" governments not submitted to the ruling
authority of the elected president, many unsuccessful solutions are
being implemented simultaneously, each causing damage to the cause,
if only for want of unity, till the Palestinian will not have anything
left to lose. In short, "there is not enough chickens!!"
Unity of opinion is an impossibility, but unity of command is essential,
and is part of democracy.

I do think that the PA is to be reformed so as to get rid of corruption,
and so as to function in a democratic way. I also think that Arafat
lacks vision. However, he is the elected president, and a better vision
can be adopted through persuasion, by gaining to it the support of the
population. The PA would then be susceptible and responsive to the will
of the Palestinians. However, more than anything else, the Palestinian
people needs unity of command.

part 2 to come later, to be followed by more parts.

        Palestinians do not have enough chicken (part 2)

Today a suicide bomber blew himself, causing the death of 15 civilians and
injuring many tens of other civilians.

My heart bleeds for all those innocent victims, and it bleeds for the
suicide-bomber. In the final analysis, the highest responsibility for that
violent action, which I condemn for being morally wrong and also
counterproductive, I repeat, the greatest responsibility for this action
lays squarely on the Israeli occupation, on the Israeli persecution of
the Palestinian people. Occupation, is the primary violence. Misguided
acts of resistance are secondary violence.

We will now hear Arafat denouncing the suicide-bomber. He will do it
sincerely because, on the one hand, he had no hand in it, and on the other
hand, this suicide-bombing works against him, works against all

Arafat has been elected. Palestinians could ask for another election.
Obviously, no election can be held under the iron heel of a barbaric
occupation. However, HAMAS never got a mandate to implement a policy that
goes at cross-currents with those of Arafat. This is another case of
the nefarious effect of parrallel governments implementing policies of
their arbitrary choice regardless of the harm it inflicts on the
Palestinian cause. Once more Sharon gets out of a delicate situation
with the help of HAMAS.

The best that can be said about HAMAS action, is that it made the point
that, however strong the Israeli oppression, however systematic the Israeli
attempt at trying to destroy the "terrorist" infrastructure, Israel will
remain vulnerable to suicide-bombers attacks.

Yes, the point has been made. It was predictable. However, till now,
Sharon also made his point, and his point was that he can inflict on the
Palestinians much more hardships than the Palestinians can inflict on the
Israelis. Moreover, the call for a population displacement are growing in
Israel, and Sharon, at some point, may think that the situation is
favourable to implement such a policy. If the world could swallow the
war crimes in Jenin, it might swallow a final ethnic cleansing.

It would not be the first time. The allies sponsored the ethnic cleansing
of Germans from the Sudeten region and from what has become western Poland.
The world accepted those crimes because the horrors of Nazism muffled
whatever sounds of protest that where then heard.

It might well be that, aware of the importance of the Arab world, the US
might oppose such a move by Sharon. However, Sharon does not have to
present his policies as ethnic cleansing. It is enough if he goes on
making life so impossible for the Palestinians, that they will move out of
Palestine "by their free-will".

I do not say it will occur. But it has occurred once in 1948 and it is not
inconceivable that it might occur again. What is certain is that in the
"competition" for inflicting hardship, Israel is by far superior to HAMAS
and its likes.

Of course the Israelis are hurting, and very much so. But is it enough a
consolation for the Palestinians who are hurting so much more? Does it
mean that the Israelis are ready to shout "Uncle!!"? All poles have shown
that actions by HAMAS have hardened the Israeli public opinion and
radicalised it more in favour of Sharon. If the Israeli public will
now stand against Sharon, it will be because HE DOES NOT DO ENOUGH.
The Israeli people, thanks to HAMAS, is moving into a mood where they
expect from their leadership some extreme action, much more extreme than
what has been done in Jenin. And Sharon and his likes have still quite a
number of "imaginative solutions" to deal with "terrorism".

There are who think that the Palestinians do not have now much to lose.
In contrast, the Israeli, living comparatively a life of plenty, have
much more to lose. This is more true than can be thought. The Israelis
have been led to believe that the very existence of Israel is the target
of HAMAS. And to protect the existence of Israel, the Israeli people is
ready to go to any length, to withstand any sacrifice.. If needed be the
case, Israeli would become suicide-bombers. The reason why it does not
occur is that the military power of Israel is so much more efficient than
would be Israeli suicide-bombers!

What is then the alternative? The alternative is to work with long-term
objectives in focus. This will be the object of part 3
            There is not enough chicken (part 3)

Issa wrote:

      if palestinian civilians cannot have any form of security, why
      should the israelis?  if palestinian civilians are being victimized
      by the thousands, why shouldn't israeli "civil population" taste
      its own medicine?  after all, it is this civil population that
      elected a WAR CRIMINAL to represent them, it is this civil
      population that is supporting the israeli army's TERRORISM, and it
      is this civil population that is advocating ethnic cleansing and
      mass transfer.  as far as i am concerned, there isn't much that is
      "civil" about israel's population.

This is tragic and pathetic. Are we in the business of revenge? Are we in
the business of making the "enemy" taste the same hurt? Or are we in the
business of defining the best strategy that can, with the least pain and
in the shortest time, realise the aspirations of the Palestinian people?

Please, let us not consider what is right. If I have the right of way,
would I rather use my right, at the cost of an accident with a bad
driver, or would I renounce the use of my right and thus avoid the
accident? As to who is innocent and who is not, there can be no doubt that
a child IS innocent, besides the sterility of the argument about innocence
in comparison with the need of a useful strategy.

As to making the "enmies suffer as the Palestinians do". I will say "What
for"? If for the sake of your satisfaction, then there should be no better
satisfaction than to follow the course the most contributing to the
success of the cause, that of satisfying the just Palestinian aspirations.

If your motivation is to "cool" your hurt by having others hurting too,
I would tell you: "go ahead PROVIDED you help your cause by doing so." And
no where in your message have you come close to prove that point.

Here, against my own better judgment, I will reveal a slice of history in
which I was personally involved, and which can teach a few useful lessons
to all of us.

It was 1967. Gamal Abd-el Nasser had just made a speech in front of an
Iraqi delegation of officers in which he said [I speak from memory]:

  I prefer peace to war. I do not want war with Israel. I am
  prepared to recognise Israel and be in Peace with that country,
  provided a reasonable solution is adopted concerning the
  Palestinian refugees. Yes, I do not want war, but if Israel imposes
  war on us, then I am not afraid of war, and we will win.

At the time, I lived in Haifa. Knowing well Arabic and Hebrew, I could
compare the speech of Nasser, as I heard it from the Cairo Radio Station,
to the way it was reported in the Israeli press. The Israeli media
truncated the main sentence and came out with: "Nasser says he is not
afraid of war and will come out the winner". This, without mentioning
Nassetr's will of peace, his preference for peace and his conditioning the

At the time, the Israeli population was scared. Ten years had passed since
Israel had easily beaten the Egyptian army in the Canal of Suez war.
However, at the time, Britain and France stood with Israel and, since
then, Egypt had received a large quantity of arms from the Soviet-Union.
Possibly the Soviet Union had trained the Egyptian Army. Egypt now had a
large airforce. The Israeli population was scared and did not want war.
This created some difficultiesd for the Israeli warmongers in the Israeli

The Israeli government was making efforts to mobilise the public opinion
in the direction of the inevitability of war and the necessity to support
it. But the population was not buying it.

It is then that the Israeli govenrment got a boost from an unexpected
direction. "Sout el Arab" was an Egyptian radio-station designed to
broadcast "the voice of the Arabs". It had programs in different
languages, one of them being in Hebrew. Those Hebrew programs succeeded in
mobilising the whole Israeli population behind its aggressive government.
Ths programs succeeded in unifying the Israeli people and made them ready
to support war against Egypt.

In short, "Sout el Arab" was saying to the Israelis that now has come the
time of reckoning. The Jews would be thrown into the sea. So many of
them will be killed or maimed. The Israeli women would be raped etc..
etc.. It even specified that Dayan would lose his second eye in the coming

Had the director of "Sout El Arab" been an Israeli mole, he could not have
done a better job to put "Sout el Arab" at the service of Israel.

The Israeli people felt provoked. They did not want to be subjected to a
campaign of terror and barbaric threats. They all said: "We wish there
will be war and we will  inflict a lesson to the Egytptians."

The interesting thing is that Nasser did not know Hebrew, and could not
know what Sout el Arab was brodcasting in that language. Himself, he was
careful to convey a message of peace to the Israeli people and to all the
world. But his efforts were in fact sabotaged by his lieutenants at Sout
El Arab. Those lieutenants full of rage agaisnt the Israeli, were certain
that the time had come to give to the Israeli "the taste of their own
medecine". They acted as if they were drolling at the prospect of revenge.

But the feeling of revenge is a bad motivator. On this occasion it
inflicted dammage to the Egyptian and Palestinian cause.

I was born in Egypt. I knew that it was Israel that started the 1967
war. Though I love the Israeli people, I do love no less the Egyptian
people. In 1969, I was in France and learned of the presence in Paris of a
lieutenant close to Nasser. I requested to meet him. He refused. Then,
from Canada, still in 1969, I sent a letter to Nasser. I knew a channel
through which the letter could be delivered in his hands.

That letter described the Hebrew programs of Sout El Arab. I told Nasser
how much more the Egyptians could have influenced the Israeli people
towards peace, had Sout El Arab broadcasted the news that Nasser had
ordered his army to behave in the most proper manner while in the Israeli
territory. No woman, no child, no civilian should have to be afraid from
the Egyptian army. All civilians would benefit from the protection of the
Egyptian army. Any Egyptian soldier would be severely punished were he to
disobey those instructions.

I added that such broadcasts would have been much more credible were they
to be made in both languages, Arabic for the Egyptuian population, and
Hebrew for the Israeli population.

Had Sout El Arab done that, the Israeli people, unlike their leaders,
would not have wanted to have war with a country that want peace.

I then received a postcard signed by that same lieutenant that refused to
see me in Paris. He apologised for not having understood the importance of
meeting me. He thanked me for all that I had done, and expressed the hope
to see me some time.

I was not astonished to soon read the news that Nasser had suppressed the
radiostation "Sout El Arab". I still have the postal card with the
signature of the lieutenant close to Nasser. This lieutenant is still
alive. If he reads this message and allows me to reveal his name, I will
do it.

This story, long as it is, teaches us many lessons. The first lesson is
that even a single man, when driven by wisdom and reason rather than by a
desire for revenge, can have some influence on the course of events.

It also shows that such a great leader as Gamal Abd- El Nasser, realised
the importance of distinguishing between the Israeli people and the
Israeli leadership. He knew that it was possible to follow policies that
would not unite the Israeli people behind its criminal leaders. But the
responsible people at Sout El Arab only knew how to follow their passion.

Thess leesons should be learned and not forgotten. It is HAMAS, and
people supporitng their policies who, after acting in a ways that unifies
the whole Israeli people behind Sharon, do accuse the Israeli people of
supporing him. They forgot they did all that can possibly be done so that
this would be the result. Take your inspiration from Nasser, and not from
HAMAS. The motivation must not be "why should not the Israeli suffer?" but
what can be done to contribute to the success of the cause, the
satisfaction of the just Palestinian aspirations.

It does not make sense to say: "We have tried everything" and "the
civilian Israeli population is mot innocent!" The truth is that even if
you have tried, HAMAS was there to sabotage you. As to the lack or not of
innocence of the civiliabn population, do not forget that among them there
are children, and if for the sake of satisfying your desire for revenge
you would allow children to be killed, you would then be acting
criminally, besides acting against the best interests of the Palestinians.

In part 4 I will say what can still be done, before it is too late.


I could not find in my archives a trace of part 4. However, Stumbling
Blocks, in spite of itsd length can be considered as a valid part 4

Clement Leibovitz