Submitted by Anne Maurer
Peace at Last. Peace at Last.
It was in the year 2006. The Israelis at last gave up their attempts
to resist the pressures of the world. They elected a new government
headed by Prime Minister Yossi Beilin, the original promoter of the Oslo
Peace Process, in coalition with the Jewish and Arab parties of the Left.
They announced that Israel was willing to accept the unanimous proposal
for peace supported by every single country in the world, and would return
to its pre-1967 borders, remove all Jewish settlements from the
territories of the new state of Palestine, recognize Palestine, and grant
Palestine all of East Jerusalem, that is, all of the city located east of
a line running north-south through Zion Square, renamed Jihad Square.
The world had not seen celebration like it since the fall of the
Berlin Wall or the transferal of power in South Africa to the black
majority. All-night celebrations were held in every city on the planet,
but none so enthusiastic as the party held in Tel Aviv in Rabin Square.
Speaker after speaker appeared under a banner "Liberation at Last", and
praised the decision to agree to the terms of the accord as the ultimate
completion of the work and dreams of Yitzhak Rabin.
The settlers were marched out of the lands of Palestine at bayonet
point, with crowds of jeering Israeli leftists pelting them with garbage
as they moved into their temporary transit camps inside Green Line Israel.
Liberal Jews in the United States organized a million man march in
Washington together with Arabs and the Nation of Islam to celebrate the
breaking out of peace and final settlement of the conflict. Peace at Last
was the number one pop single. The State Department sent out a message
urging Israel and Palestine to conduct good-faith negotiations and
round-the-clock talks on all outstanding issues of disagreement still
separating the two sovereign states. At long last, there were two states
for two peoples. Land had been exchanged for peace. Peace had at long
last broken out in the world's most troubled region.
The morning after the Palestine Independence Celebrations, the
message arrived in the Israeli parliament, brought in by special
messenger. The newly formed government of Palestine had only a small
number of issues it would like to discuss with Israel. It proposed that
peaceful relations be officially consummated as soon as Israel turned over
to Palestine the Galilee and the Negev.
Israeli cabinet ministers were nonplussed. We thought we had settled
all outstanding territorial issues by giving the Palestinians everything,
they protested. The spokesman for the Palestine War Ministry explained.
The Galilee was obviously part of the Arab homeland. It was filled with
many Arabs, and in many areas had an Arab population majority. Israel
was holding 100% of the Galilee territory, and Palestine none at all, and
surely that was unfair. As for the Negev, it too has large areas with
Arab majorities, but is in fact needed so that Palestine can settle the
many Palestinian refugees from around the world in lands and new homes.
Israel's government preferred not to give offense and sour the new
relations, and so offered to take the proposal under consideration.
Within weeks, endorsements of the Palestinian proposal were coming from a
variety of sources. The Arab League endorsed it. The EU approved a
French proposal that the Galilee and Negev be transferred to Palestine in
stages over 3 years.
Within Israel, many voices were heard in favor of the proposal.
Large rallies were held on the universities. The Israeli press endorsed
the idea almost in full unison, with only some regional weeklies from the
north and south dissenting. Israeli film producers began turning out
documentaries on the sufferings of Galilee and Negev Arabs under Israeli
rule. Sociologists from around the world produced studies showing that
these Arabs were victims of horrible discrimination and that Israel is
characterized by institutional racism. Israeli poets and novelists wrote
passionate appeals for support of the Galilee and Negev Others.
When Israel's cabinet rejected the proposal, the pressures mounted. A
Galilee and Negev Liberation Organization was founded and immediately
granted recognition by the UN General Assembly. It established consulate
facilities in 143 countries.
Weeks later the infiltrations began. Squads of terrorists
infiltrated the borders between Palestine and Israel, and suicide bombers
produced a carnage of 75 murdered Jews a day. The border fences were
reinforced, but to no avail. The US State Department proposed that Israel
defuse the situation by considering compromise on the matters of the
Galilee and Negev.
Six months later, the Galilee and Negev victims of Jewish
discrimination decided to escalate their protests. Gangs of Arabs lynched
Jews throughout the disputed territories. Roadblocks were set up, and
entire families of Jews were dragged from their cars by the activists and
beaten to death or doused with flames. The EU sent in observers, but
warned Israel that there is no military solution to the problems of
terrorism and violence. When Israel arrested gang leaders from the riots,
the General Assembly denounced Israeli state terrorism against Galilee and
Negev Arabs. French universities gave the pogrom leaders, Ahmed Tibi and
Azmi Bashara, honorary doctorates.
Meanwhile, boycotts of Israel arose throughout Europe. Professors at
the US Ivy League colleges demanded a total embargo and divestment from
ties with Israel until it ended its racist apartheid regime. The leaders
of the Reform synagogue movement supported the State Department and
demanded that Israel end its obstinacy.
Israel's own leftists launched a Movement against Apartheid, and the
foreign press reported that 400,000 protested attended a rally by the
Movement in Rabin Square. Cars around Israel had bumper stickers that
read "My Son Will Not Die for Nazareth", and "Peace Now". The Israeli
Labor Party proposed erecting a series of separating barriers throughout
the Galilee under the slogan "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors".
But Palestine could not sit idly by. Barrages of rockets and mortars
drenched Israeli cities. The death toll rose to 7000 Israelis per month.
The White House and State Department threatened to cut off all supplies
from Israel if it dared to launch reprisal raids against independent
Palestine. Large cargo ships from Egypt laden with advanced arms entered
the port of Gaza. Thousands of volunteers streamed into Palestine to
assist in the campaign to rescue the Galilee and Negev Arabs from Israeli
On the afternoon of Yom Kippur, tank columns cut Israel in two just
north of Tul Karem. Palestine offered to withdraw in exchange for
transferring the Negev and Galilee to its control. An Israeli newspaper
and the Israeli Peace Movement proposed transferring the disputed areas to
EU control until things could be settled.
Synagogues in Belgium and France were torched. Teach-ins for
Palestine were held on US campuses. A new conference was called in
Durban to denounce Israeli apartheid. The White House insisted that Israel
not expel the invading Palestine troops who had divided the country, for
it was a matter for negotiations and dialogue. The President invited both
sides to Camp David, with observers from the Negev and Galilee militias
Increasing numbers of Israeli politicians urged that Israel respond to
the situation by granting limited autonomy to the Negev and the Galilee.
The Americans offered to send in ground troops to protect the remaining
Israeli territories if Israel decided to accept the proposal to give up
the Negev and Galilee. Let's at long last have peace in the hills that
Jesus roamed, suggested the President.
Jews living in the Galilee and Negev were under siege everywhere,
and the roads were unsafe. The road through the Negev to Eilat was cut
by militia gangs in four places. Leftist Israeli professors officially
joined the Arab militias fighting for liberation. Two of them blew
themselves up on a Jewish school bus to show their solidarity with the
oppressed Arabs. Ahmed Tibi, head of the largest militia, insisted he
was doing everything possible to stop the suicide attacks on Tel Aviv and
Haifa from the Galilee, but the Americans demanded that he do more. The UK
demanded 100% effort to stop the violence. The PLO proposed as a
compromise that instead of being annexed by Palestine, the Negev and
Galilee be allowed to form a separate state. The Arab League endorsed
CNN broadcast a series of specials on the plight of the Negev and
Galilee Arabs, and the BBC started referring to Tel Aviv as illegally
occupied Arab Jaffa. Netanya and Beer Sheba were described by them as
illegal colonial settlements. When the carnage exceeded 10,000 a month,
the New York Times for the first time expressed regret in having promoted
the peace process and ran as its lead headline "Oops". The Washington
Post however urged more Israeli flexibility and concessions. The
publishers of Tikkun Magazine and the Reconstructionist movement announced
they would be merging with the American Buddhist Society.
The Negev and Galilee Liberation organizations raised their flags over
their towns and proposed that the Jews living in their territories be
resettled elsewhere. The Palestine War Ministry was shipping them guns
and explosives. The first word came of a detention camp north of
Nazareth in which Jews expelled from their Galilee homes were being
concentrated, with a second camp opened in the Negev near Rahat.
Strange black smoke rose from the chimneys.