Palestine coverage through 21 July 08

This selection is of the coverage from the end of the week (mainly Friday) and covers a range from today’s news of the British Prime Minister’s trip to Israel, to feature stories about the struggle for survival in Palestinian towns, to the International Crisis Group’s evaluation of the Palestinian Authority’s record in the West Bank. There are also articles covering new talk of “peace talks” sponsored by the US and an analysis of the possibility of momentum being built on the Israeli-Lebanese front, following the prisoner exchange, through a breakthrough on the Shebaa Farms territorial dispute.

But perhaps of greatest interest is the astonishingly vicious op-ed published by Benny Morris in yesterday’s New York Times. Morris goes so far as to justify an Israeli preemptive nuclear strike on Iran. The op-ed concedes Israel’s own possession of a nuclear arsenal but treats Iran’s alleged pursuit of the same as an intolerable threat to all humanity. He then goes on to build an argument on the assumption that so long as Israel initiates, the obliteration of a nation and a people in the Middle East by nuclear holocaust is justifiable and potentially legitimate.

The piece neither contemplates a reciprocal nuclear freeze or other mutual disarmament initiative, nor even the possibility of diplomacy to avert war. It asserts that the world has two choices: a nuclear holocaust initiated by Iran (offering no evidence of the likelihood of any such eventuality) or a round of Israeli conventional strikes (on which Morris tells us: “to be sure, this would mean thousands of Iranian casualties and international humiliation” for Iran) against Iran’s nuclear facilities, with American approval (and possible use of Iraqi air strips!). Faced with this choice, he finds it obvious that the world should prefer Israeli strikes and that if they fail, there is no choice left but a preemptive nuclear strike (the inevitability of which, presumably, the same supine world should also accept on the say-so of Israeli hawks like Morris).

I am speechless at the audacity and monstrosity of Morris’ vision and the fact that no one — on the basis of the obvious madness and bellicosity of much of the Israeli “elite” that Morris represents — is writing comparable articles on the need for serious action to take away Israel’s ability to menace the region with the repeated threat of nuclear attack.


July 19, 2008

By Neve Gordon
The Nation
July 18, 2008

International Crisis Group
July 18, 2008

By Cesar Chelala
Common Ground News Service
July 18, 2008

By Griff Witte
In The Washington Post
July 18, 2008

By Sue Pleming
July 18, 2008

By Benny Morris
New York Times
July 18, 2008

By James Zogby
Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt)
July 16, 2008

By Michael Slackman
New York Times
July 18, 2008

5 Responses to Palestine coverage through 21 July 08

  1. Raffe says:

    I’m quite shocked at how Morris has made such an about-face in his views. He was originally a neo-Zionist who was very pro-Arab. However in the last couple of years he’s become quite hawkish.

    Personally, I’m against a strike on Iran (nuclear or otherwise) because it would decimate the pro-democratic student movement in Teheran. Hopefully the Mullahs will see the light and halt their nuclear program before it has to come to military options.

    However; if they continue down this path of nuclear fruition Israel, along with the United States and I’m sure with the blessing of a number of Arab neighbors, will perform surgical strikes against Iran’s numerous reactors and nuclear sites.

  2. Noor Hammad says:


    There is no proof that Iran has nuclear technology capable of producing weapons. To the contrary the National Intelligence Estimate of December 2007 found that:

    “We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough HEU for a weapon is late 2009, but that this is very unlikely. We judge with moderate confidence Iran probably would be technically capable of producing enough HEU for a weapon sometime during the 2010-2015 time frame. (INR judges Iran is unlikely to achieve this capability before 2013 because of foreseeable technical and programmatic problems.) All agencies recognize the possibility that this capability may not be attained until after 2015.”

    Meanwhile, Israel likely has hundreds of weapons, even conservative estimates put the numbers in the tens. Why should Iran, which has repeatedly signalled its willingness to comply with all international nuclear protections be prevented from developing its nuclear capability?

    It is in no one’s interest for Israel or the United States to strike Iran. History has shown that Iran has been susceptible to diplomatic opportunities. Recently Iran has again signalled its willingness to take a diplomatic route towards better relations with the US and its neighbours. It is in the US, Israel and the worlds interest to take the diplomatic route with Iran.

    Noor Hammad

  3. Noor Hammad says:


    BTW I agree that the pro-democratic student movement in Tehran is important and should be protected.

    Noor Hammad

  4. mustafa ramadan says:

    Iran & the Nuke

    23 July 2008

    Why does the West consider Iran with all its sagacious Mullas as an under-age state? Are the bloody GENERALS who have been ruling Israel for the last sixty years and the infamous incompetent Bush and his clique wiser than Iran and its leaders ? This is the ever-double-standard practiced by the West. It’s a pity that “Might is right.”
    Iran agrees to be inspected by the UN concerned bodies, but Israel refuses.
    Nuclear weapons are for retaliation. They will not be used any more. They were used once only by the merciless fools who believe they are the only wise people on earth.


  5. Raffe says:


    Personally i believe that no country should have nuclear weaponry. The destructive power of this technology is too much for one government let alone a single man.

    In regards to the National Intelliegence Estimate, when I first read it last year I was shocked as was much of the world. However only days after the declassified report was released then the French, German, British and Israeli intelligence agencies, NATO, the United States Congress and the International Atomic Energy Agency all stated that Iran was still a threat.

    Whilst it is true that Israel has achieved nuclear fruition (it did so in the 1960s) it has never mentioned that it, preferring a policy of nuclear ambiguity (However one may say that in an interview in December 2006 Ehud Olmert mentioned Israel’s nuclear technology however it did not amount to a policy shift). Compare these policies of secrecy to Mahmoud Ahmadinijad’s proposal to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ (whilst there has been some debate about whether or not it was a mistranslation it’s still a causus belli).

    Should Iran complete its nuclear weapons program then it would threaten not just Israel but US troops in Iraq, the Saudis and every other Middle Eastern nation and soon European nations will be within range of Iranian missiles.

    A diplomatic route would be the best way, I fully support dealing diplomatically with Iran as I do believe attacking Iran would simply turn Iranian democracy into a pipe-dream. However, i’m also convinced that a man who believed that a blue glow developed behind him whilst he was talking to the United Nations has no qualms at using nuclear weaponry.

    Once a sane leader is put into place then the diplomatic route will have more success.

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