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olive roots volume I | issue II | spring 2011


Olive Roots is an international undergraduate research journal on

the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The journal is published by the IsraeliPalestinian Conflict Student Research Forum, a student group at Claremont McKenna College that seeks to promote intellectual discourse, mutual understanding, and a solution to the conflict.

olive roots Editorial board Editor-in-Chief Anna Joseph Managing Editor Jackson Wyrick Business Manager Will Brown Communications Director Sara Birkenthal Outreach Director Jennifer Good Layout Artist Chelsea Carlson  Editors Melissa Carlson, Alice Chan, Tamar Kaplan, & Robert Walters

faculty advisory board Chair of International and Strategic Studies Edward Haley, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Literature Audrey Bilger, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Government Jennifer Taw, Ph.D. Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature Christine Crockett, Ph.D.

Cover Photography by Gerard Horton

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contents articles

4

A City Divided: Framing the Final Status of the Old City of Jerusalem Jackson Wyrick, Claremont McKenna College Jerusalem as an Island:

Internationalization of the City Must Be Reconsidered 19 Why Thomas R. Lyman, University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Hip-hop in Palestine:

Intifada Set to Music, A Voice for the Voiceless 26 An Hanna Meghji, Pomona College Politics of Personality:

Contrasting Leadership Styles Contribute to War in 1967? 39 Did Francesca Louise Hands, King’s College, University of Cambridge

food for thought

50

An Evolving Map: Two Potential Paths for Israeli-Palestinian Relations Will Brown, Claremont McKenna College

Olive roots | spring 2011 | 32


a city divided:

Framing the Final Status of the Old City of Jerusalem Jackson Wyrick Claremont McKenna College   Lying at the heart of the IsraeliPalestinian conflict, physically and metaphorically, is Jerusalem, and at the center of Jerusalem is the Old City. Despite the centrality of this 0.35 square mile walled entity, little research exists regarding the fate of the Old City in a final status agreement. This is largely the result of the assumption that the difficulty of dealing with Jerusalem is so great that it will prevent progress on other fronts of the conflict, and as such the issue should be put aside.1 With that in mind, this paper analyzes the possible diplomatic solutions for the Old City of Jerusalem in an attempt to understand what the final status of the Old City will be in a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian agreement. This paper is concerned only with the Old City, defined as the area of Jerusalem within the walls built by the Ottomans in 1538. Some might question whether this is too narrow a constraint, arguing that excluding the Holy Basin or the City of David is unrealistic and will lead to an incomplete picture. While it is true that the status of those areas will have major implications on the Old City, the analysis and theoretical solutions presented in this paper are unaffected by exclusion of these territories. 2

  Before looking at any possible solutions, it is important to lay out criteria for a successful arrangement. There are five concerns that any solution for the Old City of Jerusalem must address. The first is freedom of access. The Old City is home to holy sites central to Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, and the final status in the Old City must provide all people access to their religious sites. Additionally, Israel and a future Palestinian state must have access to their residents in the Old City. Freedom of access, both residential and religious, is a necessity for any arrangement in the Old City.   The second criterion is that an agreement must respect, as much as possible, the worries and claims of both the Israelis and Palestinians. For the Palestinians, this means demonstrating that they are capable of maintaining stability and preventing a regress in Jerusalem to a situation like that of 1948-1967, something Israelis fear will happen under a Palestinian government.3 It also means accepting central components of the Jewish narrative, and an end to statements like that of Mahmoud Abbas, which question the importance of the Temple Mount to Jews: “They claim that two thousand years ago they had a holy

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place there [the Temple Mount]. I doubt this fact.” 4   On the Israeli side, a respectful agreement must include the cessation of settlement building in the Muslim quarter, which is viewed by Palestinians as unilateral action meant to change facts on the ground for future negotiations. It must also respect Muslim rights to the Temple Mount. Palestinians worry that Israel will try to take the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif and build a new temple over the Dome of the Rock. These worries are substantiated by radical Jewish movements to rebuild the temple, like that of Rabbi Yisrael Ariel and his Temple Institute, which has begun producing artifacts that would have been found in the temple in anticipation of being able to actually rebuild it.5 However, the movement to rebuild the temple is supported by only a small minority of Israelis, largely because many interpret Jewish law as prohibiting Jews from entering the Temple Mount due to ritual impurity,6 a viewpoint supported by Moshe Dayan, an Israeli politician, when he prohibited organized prayer on the Temple Mount in 1967.7   Although worries and claims should be respected, in the past Israelis and Palestinians have entered negotiations with unrealistic expectations. Entering Camp David II, both Israelis and Palestinians sought sole sovereignty over the Old City.8 If an agreement is to be reached, positions like these, which by nature prohibit compromise, must not win

out on either side.   Due to the need for compromise on highly sensitive content, an agreement must also be reached in a manner that protects the negotiators. When negotiators are protected from political backlash, they have the freedom to do what they feel is necessary and the ability to stay in power long enough to implement the agreement they reach. This aspect has been lacking in previous negotiations and treaties on Jerusalem. It was fear of political repercussions which kept reference to Jerusalem out of the Balfour Declaration and the Terms of the British Mandate for Palestine,9 and which prompted Ehud Barak to refuse to go on the record at Camp David II.10   The final criterion for any agreement on the Old City’s status is that the city be demilitarized, a general consensus of proposals from 1948 to the present.11 This does not preclude a heavy security presence in the Old City (which will be discussed later), but simply necessitates that no standing army will be present in the Old City. Excessive militarization would detract from tourism and the stability of the Old City. The Old City is a small place, and a military presence in the city would require precision and sensitivity.   Having established what is required of a successful solution, I will now present the three dominant possibilities for the final status of the Old City: (1) division of sovereignty, (2) special sovereignty, and (3) internationalization. The main points Olive roots | spring 2011 | 54


of comparison for these models are the allocation of sovereignty and the nature of management of the city on a day-to-day basis, as well as the effect of each on the administrative and security arrangements of holy sites. The following analyses will explain the appearance, benefits, and drawbacks of each option. Having considered all three solutions, I will then discuss the solution most likely to be the actual final status of the city and argue for why that solution is the best of the three.   Division of sovereignty in the Old City is a suggestion that prompts a strong emotional reaction from Israelis and Palestinians, both of whom fear losing access to sacred places. Most of these concerns,

there is far too much opposition to physical division for it to be a possible feature of division of sovereignty in the old city though, are based on the assumption that divided sovereignty means a physically divided city, so before looking at the division of sovereignty model in depth, we must understand what that model is and is not. Division of sovereignty does not mean a physically divided city, which is almost unanimously disapproved of. Instead, this model would allocate sovereignty of the Old City to the state of Israel and the Palestin-

ian state. This situation may entail checkpoints, but they would only serve as filters, not as barriers, like the “Peace Walls” in Belfast.12 There are already filters like these in the Old City, namely around the Western Wall Plaza. The division of sovereignty would at most expand these filters along the sovereignty lines, which Sari Nusseibeh, a Palestinian professor, envisions as “invisible sovereignty lines.”13 In the end, there is far too much opposition to physical division for it to be a possible feature of division of sovereignty in the Old City.14   What would be involved in division of sovereignty is an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian state on what parts of the Old City would be included as sovereign parts of the respective states. Obviously, areas inhabited predominantly by Palestinians would go to the Palestinian state while areas inhabited by Jews and Israelis would go to Israel. There is little dispute that under this plan, sovereignty of the Muslim and Christian quarters would go to the Palestinian state, since the vast majority of residents there are Palestinians. Following the same logic, the Jewish Quarter would go to Israel. 15   That leaves the Armenian quarter, the subject of debate. In 1968, Meron Benvenisti proposed that the Armenian quarter be under Israeli sovereignty out of concern for future Jewish development in the Old City.16 The Jewish quarter is small, and the Armenian quarter has more open space, especially along the

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western wall of the Old City near the Zion gate. Also, Israelis have argued that they have a special claim

residents from the Christian quarter.18 The fate of sovereignty in the Armenian quarter is unclear under

western wall - Anna Goldberg

to the Jaffa Gate, which provides a means of access to the Old City from West Jerusalem, despite its contiguity to the Christian and Armenian quarters.17 On the other hand, the Palestinian argument for the Armenian quarter is based on demographics. There is a considerable Muslim presence in the Armenian quarter in the form of mosques and residents, as well as a large number of Palestinian residents. Palestinians also argue that the Armenian quarter is predominantly Christian, and giving sovereignty of the quarter to Israel would divide the Armenian quarter’s

the division of sovereignty model, but one popular recommendation is to allow the Armenians to vote for its fate.19 Another option is to let the United Nations determine the sovereign borders, although that option is less popular.20   Having addressed what division of sovereignty means for borders, we can now examine what sort of municipal management setup it would create. Division of sovereignty would allow for two separate municipal governments in the Old City: Israeli and Palestinian. This would mean the re-creation of the Olive roots | spring 2011 | 76


East Jerusalem municipality, which was dissolved by Israel on 29 June 1967, citing the Law and Administrative Ordinance of 1948, amended in 1967.21 The two separate bodies would handle day-to-day issues within their respective areas of the Old City. Additionally, there would also exist a coordinating committee consisting of representatives from each municipal body. This committee would handle issues that require practical cooperation and coordination, such as water supply, utilities, tourism, and municipal services. This plan has been articulated and supported by various individuals, namely Palestinian intellectuals Walid Khalidi and Sari Nusseibeh.22 There has also been a proposal from Rafi Benvenisti to privatize municipal services in the Old City.23   With respect to religious sites, division of sovereignty would do a few key things. The division of the Old City would certainly put major Islamic and Christian holy sites under Palestinian sovereignty and Jewish sites under Israeli sovereignty. This leaves the Temple Mount/ Haram al-Sharif under contentious jurisdiction. The most likely scenario is that the Palestinians would receive sovereignty of the surface of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif with the Waqf continuing management, but there would be consultation and unanimous agreement with the Israelis before any renovations or digging could be done. Jews would still have access to the area, but, like now, they would not be able to pray

there.   As discussed before, one of the preconditions of any acceptable agreement is that there is access, both physical and ritual, for all concerned parties to their religious sites. The most likely result would be maintenance of the status quo, wherein the respective religious groups are responsible for their own sites. Another possibility is the creation of a joint Israeli-Palestinian council dedicated to religious issues, composed of religious figures from the Old City.   From a security standpoint, the obvious result of division of sovereignty would be Palestinian security forces--most likely the Palestinian Civil Police--in Palestinian areas and Israeli security forces in Israeli areas. That said, there is the option of coordinating security forces with a joint committee similar to the municipal coordinating committee. Agreements would have to be reached on where jurisdiction ends and the extradition of criminals across sovereign lines. These agreements would be aided by security experts, but would ultimately rely on local security forces.   Having presented an idea of what division of sovereignty would look like, I will now consider its benefits and drawbacks. One of the biggest benefits of division of sovereignty is that it would end the issue of Israeli settlement within the Old City. Michael Dumper, a British professor, argues that since 1967, Israel has pushed a settlement policy in

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the Old City of Jerusalem aimed at consolidating Israeli control over Palestinian areas through the acquisition, via legal and illegal means, of housing.24 Since retaking the Old City, for example, Jewish groups like Ataret Cohanim, the Young Israel Movement, Shuvu Banim, and Atara L’yoshna, as well as prominent Israelis, like Ariel Sharon, have sought to acquire property in the Muslim quarter. The result is a tense situation, as described by Dumper: “Their [Jewish settlers] presence in the Moslem Quarter constitutes a grave danger to the peace of Jerusalem--they are, as a senior [Israeli] government official has put it recently, ‘the fuse in the powder keg.’”25 Under division of sovereignty, the areas for Israelis and Palestinians would be clearly

demarcated. Those Israelis wishing to move to Palestinian areas of the Old City would have to submit to the Palestinian government, which would have the power to protect itself from zealous settlers. Thus the division of sovereignty model, which resolves the issue of settlement in the Old City, is eminently worthy of attention.   Another benefit of division of sovereignty is that it would raise the level of accountability for both Israelis and Palestinians in the Old City. Currently, there exists a large disparity in living conditions between Israelis and Palestinians. The average apartment size in the Muslim quarter is 40 square meters, compared to 75 square meters in the Jewish quarter.26 At the same time, there are

Division of Space in the Old City People Per Dunam

Housing Units

Apt Size (sq. meter)

Muslim Quarter

171

3,300

40

Christian Quarter

16

1,150

42

Armenian Quarter

13

600

54

Jewish Quarter

13

550

75

1972

26

2003

59

5,600

All data comes from Menachem Klein’s The Jerusalem Problem, 195

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171 residents per dunam (4 dunam equals 1 acre) in the Muslim quarter and 13 per dunam in the Jewish quarter. In addition to overcrowding, Palestinians argue that Israeli restrictions against new construction and repair work by Palestinians have resulted in dilapidated build-

Even if there were no violence, disagreements on economic or security issues could cause tension ings unsafe for habitation, as well as structurally unsound additions to pre-existing buildings.27 Palestinians also argue that the system of taxation enforced by Israel holds them in poverty since they pay the same tax rate as Israelis, yet earn on average eight times less.28 The Israelis are frustrated by these claims because the vast majority of Palestinians do not participate in municipal elections, out of a desire to protest supposed Israeli control of the Old City. Yet if the Palestinians are not willing to participate in a democratically elected government, how can they complain? With two municipalities, Israelis and Palestinians would not be able to blame each other for local problems. There would be a new type of accountability.   Under division of sovereignty, the issue of citizenship would also be conclusively resolved. Currently, Palestinians in Jerusalem have residency status, which provides them

access to hospitals and municipal services, but which denies them certain citizenship benefits. With division of sovereignty, people would be able to choose their citizenship, whether Israeli or Palestinian, and live in Jerusalem.   The benefits mentioned here are quite substantial, but not without drawbacks. The first of these concerns the establishment of a division of sovereignty, since this solution requires that Israelis and Palestinians agree on who gets what. In reality, it is very likely that such negotiations will end in failure. A senior Israeli official said of negotiations, “I am afraid that if the parties start to negotiate on sovereignty, they will never get to any compromise, because it’s so difficult to make compromises when people are so enthusiastic about this notion.”29   Assuming an agreement can be reached, a regress and return to violence would place additional barriers between Israeli and Palestinian sovereignty, or one side could take all of the Old City. Even if there were no violence, disagreements on economic or security issues could cause tension between the two municipal governments, leading to a lack of access in the Old City.   One potential problem that might arise even if there were full cooperation between the two municipal governments in the Old City would be a vast disparity between the two areas of the city. Currently, the Jerusalem municipality under Israel derives much of its budget from private con-

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tributions, like the Jerusalem Foundation. These private contributions allow Israelis living in Jerusalem to prosper.30 Of course, there is the likely possibility that the Palestinian municipality would receive generous support from other Arab states or international donors, who gave over $7.7 billion to the Palestinians at the 2007 Paris Donor Conference.31 However, even if they do receive generous funding, the Palestinians have major issues to tackle. Palestinian areas of the Old City are home to overcrowding, unsafe construction, lack of municipal services, such as trash removal and proper sewage systems, and increasing socially counterproductive behavior, such as drug use and theft. Division of sovereignty holds both sides accountable, for better or for worse.   The division of sovereignty model is the only one of the three that ensures that all sovereignty of the Old City is left with either Israel or Palestine. The next two models (special sovereignty and internationalization) remove local sovereignty partially or entirely by eliminating sovereignty in the Old City or giving it to an international regime.   A similar proposal that deserves mention is God sovereignty, under which sovereignty of holy places is given over to God. The reason this proposal is not considered, like the other three, is that it is seldom seen as a comprehensive solution since it specifically addresses holy sites, and there is much debate over what is holy in the Old City.32 It is not a

very concrete proposal either, since it is unclear what giving sovereignty to God means in reality. Like special sovereignty, the next model under consideration, God sovereignty simply ignores the issue of sovereignty.   The special sovereignty model is a relatively new idea that has enjoyed widespread popularity. In practical terms, it would be something very similar to the Vatican City, with the exception that it would contain a civilian government and accommodate the various religions and sects inside the city. Although there is little consensus on the specifics of the special sovereignty model for Jerusalem, the basic idea is that the Old City would operate as a separate, independent municipality. Sovereignty in the traditional sense would be given to no one, at least initially. Proponents of this model have described the Old City’s status as that of a “quasisovereignty,”33 a “City of Peace,”34 or a “spiritual sovereignty.”35 While it might sound like a lot to ask Israelis and Palestinians to give up sovereignty of their respective territories in the Old City, it should be stressed that the city would be run directly by its residents; thus operational control of the city would still be local. Citizens could still claim Israeli or Palestinian citizenship, much like residents of Northern Ireland can choose Irish or British citizenship. Professor Gerald Draper argues in support of suspended sovereignty on the grounds that because Jordan and Israel acquired Jerusalem by illegitimate force, “territorial sovereignty is Olive roots | spring 2011 | 11 10


Silwan, East Jerusalem - Gerard Horton

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probably in suspense.”36 Also, special sovereignty may even involve a plan to restore traditional sovereignty to Israel and Palestine, though not until after an agreement is reached.   The structure of the independent municipal government would have to be acceptable to all residents of the Old City. The roughly 3,800 Israelis living in the Old City would have to be assured that they would not be overwhelmed by the 23,692 Muslims. One way of ensuring this might be to set up separate district councils for each of the four quarters,37 each responsible for dayto-day issues, and one larger “Metropolitan Assembly” to handle city planning, development, transportation, zoning, housing, water supply, and tourism.38 This assembly could be modeled after similar bodies in other divided cities, like the co-socialized government of Belfast.39 With respect to religious sites, Ambassador James George has proposed the creation of a “Holy City Council” to be composed equally of Muslims, Christians, and Jews.40 The council would be charged with administering and ensuring access to holy sites.   If the Old City became an independent unit, a new security force would need to be created. This force would be representative of the population of the Old City. Great care would be taken to ensure that it would not be biased against one demographic. The force’s sole concern would be maintaining security in the Old City.

  The greatest benefits of special sovereignty come from the removal of sovereignty as an impediment to progress in Jerusalem negotiations. The removal of sovereignty as a negotiable issue may make special sovereignty the “only viable solution.”41 Under this model, neither side is granted or concedes sovereignty. As Professor Cecilia Albin explains, “The great powers also reasoned that giving the city to neither side could remove a major bone of contention in the struggle over Palestine, and help preserve their won influence in the region.”42

giving the city to neither side could remove a major bone of contention in the struggle over Palestine   Special sovereignty avoids the complications of establishing two municipal governments in the small Old City by creating a single, pragmatic and efficient municipal government. The governing of the Old City would be more centralized since the residents alone would decide how best to handle Old City issues. Keeping power local would add credibility to the new municipal government and make it more capable of handling day-to-day issues.   From a security standpoint, special sovereignty would offer a means of securing the Old City in a new, efficient way. Since it calls for the creOlive roots | spring 2011 | 13 12


ation of a special security force, this force would be custom-fit to secure the Old City, with the help of security experts. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and the Palestinian Civil Police (PCP) both have broader concerns than the Old City, but an Old City Security Force would be trained specifically for the challenges presented by the city. They would know the city’s layout, have training on how to deal with tourists, and be able maintain a focus on the Old City.   However, there would inevitably be drawbacks to this security arrangement. Initially, it would be difficult to establish such a force. Even then, it is unclear who would support it, and if that support would be neutral. There is also the danger that the security force could come to be seen as biased since it would have fewer Israelis if drawn proportionately from the population.   Many of these concerns also apply to the creation of a separate municipal body. What if there is no agreement is reached between Muslims, Christians, and Jews on how to create such a body? This is a very real possibility, and would cause the whole model to collapse. Additionally, if such a body were created, but came to be seen as biased, there may be pressure on the Israeli or Palestinian governments to step in and seize control. Thus one shaky municipal body may be even less stable and efficient than two bodies that divide the city.   The powers of the single municipal body would certainly be put to

the test. More than likely, Jewish settlers would continue trying to move into the Muslim quarter. It is unclear how the Old City municipality would address the settlement issue. There are other contentious issues, like the control of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, that could prove to be too much for an Old City municipal body to handle.   Aside from the traditional political and religious issues, the Old City body would inherit great disparity and poverty in the Palestinian areas. Israelis in the Old City may have lit-

it would not be a cold peace, as division of the city would be tle incentive to contribute resources to remedying this poverty, and the result might be a natural economic division along religious/national lines in the Old City municipal body.   Of course these concerns assume that an agreement on special sovereignty can be reached. In the past, it has been next to impossible for leaders to sell any agreement or deviance from the respective red line positions on Jerusalem, and it would be incredibly difficult to forego legal rights to any portion of the Old City. If formal sovereignty is too strong of a claim for both sides, then special sovereignty does not meet the requirement of respecting the claims of both sides to the greatest extent possible. Special sovereignty would also require continuous harmony amongst the Old City municipal-

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ity, and thus it would not be a cold peace, as division of the city would be.   As mentioned earlier, there is another model that would delegate sovereignty of the Old City to neither Israel nor the Palestinian state. Under this model, an international zone would be created in the Old City of Jerusalem, most likely by the United Nations, with ultimate authority resting with an international regime. While the special sovereignty model is a relatively new concept, the international model goes back to the UN Partition Plan for Palestine. Immediately following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the international community insisted that Jerusalem be returned to its status as an international city under UN Resolution 181. Other supporters of the international model include Professor S. Shepard Jones, an international law scholar,43 the Brookings Institution, and Jimmy Carter (at least in 1975).44 Since then, international support has waned, while never really developing in Israel or Palestine. Under an international model, the Old City would become a corpus separatum (an independent body) with supreme sovereignty and authority residing in the United Nations, which would appoint a Special Representative to the Old City. There would still be a local city council to run day-to-day affairs, but that council would report back to the United Nations.45 The Old City would have special status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Holy sites would be

administered by their respective religions, as they are now. An international peace keeping force would be responsible for security and would ensure access to the Old City for all. Profits from tourism would be split between Israel and the Palestinian state, which would have to come to agreements on how to regulate their borders, as well as on currency and other practical concerns.   The benefit of the international model is that the Old City, the most contentious place in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, would be run by an impartial body, immune from the intense emotions that might interfere with Israel or Palestine’s ability to run the city. Theoretically, an international regime would be able to maintain its impartiality in times of conflict. This neutrality would also apply to the security force. Also, it would have access to more resources since it would draw from the international community, not just from Israel and Palestine.   While the aforementioned benefits of the international model are often cited, there are those who say that an international regime would lack legitimacy since it would not be a local. It would also be very easy to for an international regime to lose its image as impartial, which would be disastrous. One of the disadvantages of special sovereignty is that neither Israel nor Palestine would be able to claim sovereignty of the Old City, but that would be mitigated by the fact that no one would get sovereignty except the citizens of the Olive roots | spring 2011 | 15 14


Old City. The international model gives sovereignty away to outsiders, with the result that in Israel and Palestine, “the appetite [would not be] met.”46 In fact, one of the few things the Israelis and Palestinians generally agree upon is their opposition to an international model, with only 3% supporting it.47 There is also poor precedence concerning the United Nations’ ability to influence the Israeli and Palestinian governments.48 The UN’s condemnation of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem and the course of its security barrier in 2005, are just a few examples of times when the wishes of the UN have been disregarded by Israel. Would an international regime in the small Old City be able to stand up to the Israeli and Palestinian governments?   The biggest concern regarding the international model, though, is about security. Israelis and Palestinians both doubt the ability of UN peacekeeping body to maintain security, and with good reason. UN troops failed to do so in Rwanda in 1994, and similar bodies failed to fulfill their obligations in Sarajevo in 1995.49 Additionally, Israelis and Palestinians worry that if things got difficult, the foreign troops would simply leave. This claim is seconded by military officials, who view the unarmed troops of international organizations as impermanent by nature, since they cannot act without going through a complex network of bureaucracy. Also, these bodies are usually geared towards major se-

curity issues, and leave a void to be filled in every-day policing. Overall, Israelis and Palestinians are rightly concerned that there would not be adequate security under an international regime.   Just as with any possible solution, each of the three models I have just discussed has unique benefits and drawbacks. Of the three, however, the division of sovereignty model is the best. Although the benefits of division of sovereignty have already been discussed, the importance of the settlement issue should be stressed. Removing that issue makes division of sovereignty a stable, long-lasting solution, as does the fact that both Israel and the Palestinian state would have gained something (sovereignty of the Jewish Quarter and Western Wall for Israel and sovereignty of the Haram al-Sharif and the quarters inhabited by Palestinians for the Palestinian state). With that sort of a gain, leaders on both sides would be better positioned to gain support from their constituents for the division of sovereignty model.   Division of sovereignty is a solid option because it allows both sides to get what they want, unlike the other two models which remove sovereignty from both Israelis and Palestinians. It also avoids some potentially sticky situations. If there were division of sovereignty, Israel would no longer be responsible for the poor living conditions in the Muslim quarter. For the Palestinians, there

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would be no concern of a considerable population of Israelis living under their sovereignty.   In addition, division of sovereignty would be the easiest of the three models to implement. While the difficulty of the division was discussed as a drawback, it pales in comparison to the impracticality of creating a single municipal government in the Old City, with the demographics as disproportionate as they are, or that of establishing an international regime. The inherent difficulties of special sovereignty and internationalization make both models impossible to implement, especially since the bodies they seek to create would be so fragile. With division of sovereignty, once the city is divided and border filters are set up (modeled after those around the Western Wall Plaza), it would take a major event to cause a relapse.   The difficulties of division are generally overstated. Israelis and Palestinians share an overall notion of what would go to whom. The only matter of debate would be a few special cases, such as that of the Armenian quarter, of no great significance to either Israel or the Palestinian state. Those issues could easily be resolved.   As for access to religious sites, the Old City would still be accessible to all since there would be only security filters, not barriers. In response to the worry that a return to violence could cause barriers to come up, it is safe to say that that would happen under any model; however, security

would be strongest under division of sovereignty due to the security filters and the presence of established security forces from Israel and the Palestinian state.   There is a reason that negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians have steered clear of Jerusalem. It is a contentious issue due to the heightened sensitivities on both sides, and at the center of it all is the Old City. It is always easier to discuss its fate in theory, but it is important to understand that it is a living, breathing entity. In this paper, I have sought to be creative yet realistic in my approach, with an ear to both academics and to the people living in the Old City. Without dismissing future developments, as of now, division of sovereignty has the most promise for resolving an age-old conflict in the heart of the City of Peace.

references 1. Albin, Cecilia. “Negotiating In-

2.

3. 4. 5. 6.

tractable Conflicts: On the Future of Jerusalem.” Cooperation and Conflict. 32.1 (1997): 29-77, 30. “Final Status of the Old City of Jerusalem.” IPCRI-KAS Negotiation Support Team. Nazareth, Israel, 2008. Albin, 34 Kol al-Arab 8 August 2000. Kubes, Danielle. “Third Temple Preparations Begin With Priestly Garb.” Jerusalem Post 2 July 2008 Cashman, Greer Fay. “Elyashiv: Halacha Bars Jews From Ascending Mount.” Jerusalem Post 9 Oct 2009.

Olive roots | spring 2011 | 16 17


7. Klein, Menachem. The Jerusalem Problem. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2003, 76. 8. Klein, 78 9. Jerusalem: A City and Its Future. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2002. 10. “Final Status of the Old City of Jerusalem.” 11. Hirsch, Moshe, Deborah HousenCouriel, and Ruth Lapidoth. Whither Jerusalem? Proposals and Positions Concerning the Future of Jerusalem. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1995. 12. “Final Status of the Old City of Jerusalem.” 13. Hirsch, 111. 14. “Final Status of the Old City of Jerusalem.” 15. Ibid. 16. Hirsch, 52. 17. “Final Status of the Old City of Jerusalem.” 18. Klein, 78. 19. “Final Status of the Old City of Jerusalem.” 20. Hirsch, 81. 21. Dumper, Michael. The Politics of Jerusalem since 1967. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997. 22. Hirsch, 111. 23. “Final Status of the Old City of Jerusalem.” 24. Dumper, Michael. “Israeli Settlement in the Old City of Jerusalem.” Institute for Palestine Studies. 21.4 (1992): 32-53, 32. 25. Ibid, 43. 26. Klein, 196. 27. Bagaeen, Samer Ghaleb. “Housing Conditions in the Old City of

Jerusalem: An Empirical Study.” Habit International. 30. (2006): 87-106, 89. 28. “Meanwhile in Jerusalem....” Palestine Monitor 11 Mar 2008. 29. “Final Status of the Old City of Jerusalem.” 30. Dumper, The Politics of Jerusalem since 1967, 47. 31. “Implementing the Palestinian Reform and Development Agenda: Economic Monitoring Report to the Ad Hoc Liason Committee.” World Bank. (2008). 32. Klein, 197. 33. Hirsch, 65. 34. Hirsch, 82. 35. Hirsch, 105. 36. Hirsch, 91. 37. Dumper, The Politics of Jerusalem since 1967, 49. 38. Albin, 42. 39. Ellis, Geraint, and Stephen McKay. “City Management Profile: Belfast.” Pergamon. 17. (2000): 47-54, 50. 40. Hirsch, 73. 41. “Final Status of the Old City of Jerusalem.” 42. Albin, 38. 43. Hirsch, 59. 44. Ibid, 71. 45. Ibid, 61. 46. “Final Status of the Old City of Jerusalem.” 47. Ibid. 48. Dumper, The Politics of Jerusalem since 1967, 41. 49. McCarroll, Kevin F., and Donald R. Zoufal. “Transition of the Sarajevo Suburbs.” Joint Forces Quarterly. 16. (1997): 51.

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Jerusalem as an Island: Why Internationalization of the City Must Be Reconsidered Thomas R. Lyman University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies   Jerusalem’s legal standing in geopolitics is contested and unclear to many. Yet this aspect of the IsraelPalestine conflict is crucial to peace discussions. Jerusalem’s unique religious character is undeniable and its history is convoluted, thus making Israel’s claim to the city controversial. International governance precedent (mainly resolved through United Nations’ auspices) indicates Israel has never had legal sovereignty over Jerusalem. In order to resolve the dilemma of Jerusalem, efforts for immediate functional internationalization of the city, creating an autonomous Jerusalem municipality, must be attempted. Taking this approach is in the best interest of Middle Eastern political and economic stability.   This paper begins with background on the situation and continues into a discussion of Israel’s legal standing regarding Jerusalem. Following this, the author illustrates the benefits of functional internationalization, with special attention to the fact that micro-states with a tourism base thrive economically and the same could be possible for an internationalized Jerusalem municipality. The intent of this discourse is not to provide a complete logistical construction of an international regime in Jerusalem, but rather to re-

open the discussion of the city’s legal status and provide a starting point for considering further solutions, whether or not these are functional or full (‘territorial’) internationalization. Jerusalem’s Modern History   The case of Jerusalem is complex and multifaceted. The “modern” history of Jerusalem could arguably begin as early as post-Roman occupation, but here it is defined as falling within the period from middle and post-Ottoman rule to the present day. The modern issues Jerusalem now faces began when the British usurped administrative control of Jerusalem (not sovereignty, as will be addressed later) from the Ottoman Empire after the First World War.1 The deconstruction of the Ottoman system placed all Ottoman regions under League of Nations mandate, and Great Britain was granted Palestine and Jerusalem. After development of these areas and the Second World War, the United Nations came to the conclusion that different processes should be undertaken in the governance of Palestine and Jerusalem. The United Nations resolved in the General Assembly in November 1947 that the British Mandate of PalOlive roots | spring 2011 | 19 18


estine and Jerusalem should be terminated and that the area should be partitioned into separate Jewish and Arab states.2 The Arab League convened in Cairo to take pre-emptive actions against such a separation of Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state.2 Arab armed resistance ensued and the Arabs eventually captured the Old City of Jerusalem. This prevented the UN-led internationalization of the city. The commission in charge of Jerusalem’s internationalization reported to the General Assembly after Jerusalem was taken, stating: “Opposition to the Resolution of 29 November 1947 has taken the form of armed resistance...It is not only the Arab State, envisaged in the resolution, which cannot now be constituted, according to the Plan, but the establishment of the Jewish State and of the international regime for the City of Jerusalem are also obstructed by Arab resistance…”2   This series of events was followed by political and military struggles between Jordan and Israel over the city, with resolutions passed by both the UN General Assembly and the Security Council. The final layer of controversy was added when Israel captured the Old City on June 7, 1967 in the Six Day War and promptly proclaimed it the capital of the state: “We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel.”3 This was an attempt to end the political dispute over the city. Though today all of Jerusalem remains under Israeli control, many legal questions are

still open, including the legitimacy of internationalization and the sovereignty of Jerusalem. Jerusalem’s Legal Status   Proposing internationalization presumes that such a step is legal and requires demonstrating that Israel has no legal claim to the city. Global governance bodies’ treatment of the city over the decades highlights that this remains an issue. During Ottoman administrative periods, all areas under the sultanate’s governance were legally sovereign, as the Ottoman governance structure vested sovereignty in the people. The League of Nations, after the fall of the Empire, continued this legal definition of sovereignty over the former territories, calling them independent regions capable of maturing into fully recognized states. Article 22, Paragraph 4 of the League Covenant gives special mention to the areas in question: “Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized… subject to a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone.”4 The League never intended to strip the original sovereignty of these regions, but merely to appropriate governance. The mandatory powers were certainly not the de jure sovereigns. In other words, all mandated areas were legally sovereign, even if the Mandatory powers appeared as de

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facto sovereigns at the time.   Before the British Mandate over Palestine and Jerusalem expired, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 181 calling for internationalization of Jerusalem and affirming the area’s unique character. In this resolution (inter alia), the Trusteeship Council of the UN was charged with creating an international administration structure in the city. In his article in Journal of Palestine Studies, Henry Cattan ar-

ship Council.v In this same vein, neither the Jordanian occupation of the city in 1947 nor Israeli control negates this international precedent.   The State of Israel responds to such criticism by pointing out that the UN failed to implement internationalization: “If the General Assembly’s recommendation had been carried out; if the Trusteeship Council had ratified a statute and appointed a Governor… then the United Nations would have

St George’s Monastery, Wadi Qelt, West Bank - gerard horton

gues that the resolution never legally stripped the Palestinian inhabitants of the city of their sovereignty over it (just as the British Mandate had not usurped their rights to the city), nor did it vest sovereignty in the Trustee-

become possessed of such authority over Jerusalem as was envisaged for it… Not a single one of these processes occurred.”5   Although this is true, general precedent in international law, since Olive roots | spring 2011 | 20 21


ancient times, has dictated that any possession of a territory out of bellicosity (in this case the Israeli-Arab confrontations) does not guarantee sovereignty of said territory. International legal scholar Hans Kelsen states: “It is a rule of general international law that by mere occupation of enemy territory in the course of war the occupied territory does not become territory of the occupying belligerent, or—as it is usually formulated—the occupying belligerent does not acquire sovereignty over this territory.”2 Since both sides have only occupied Jerusalem by offensive action, neither party has a claim of absolute sovereignty.   The consistent language and condemnation in UN Resolutions of Jerusalem’s status further bolsters the case against the State of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. In addition to Resolution 181, Jerusalem is specifically mentioned as separate or international territory in General Assembly Resolution 194(1948), which states that the General Assembly “Resolves that…the Jerusalem area… should be accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine and should be placed under effective United Nations Control;” as well as Security Council Resolution 298(1971), which states: “The Security Council, Recalling its resolutions 252(1968) and 267 (1969) and the earlier General Assembly resolutions…concerning measures and actions by Israel designed to change the status of the Israeli-occupied section of Jerusalem, …2. De-

plores the failure of Israel to respect the previous resolutions…concerning measures and actions by Israel purporting to affect the status of the city of Jerusalem;”7 (emphases in originals)   General Assembly Resolution 303, as well as Security Council Resolutions 452, 446, 465, and 467 also proclaim or support Jerusalem’s independent character (this list is by no means exhaustive). Furthermore, unlike General Assembly resolutions, Security Council resolutions carry legally binding weight on UN members per the Charter of the United Nations. Israel is, in effect, breaking international law by claiming Jerusalem as part of its sovereign territory. The Internationalization of Jerusalem   The legal situation of Jerusalem has been continually questioned since the Israeli and Jordanian occupations, but there is little discussion of internationalizing the city. With reference to Jerusalem, the world community has entertained two main types of internationalization. The first is referred to as “functional internationalization,” meaning that an international regime would be created for, enforced in, or given responsibility over only the Holy Places in the city.7 The other form is called “territorial internationalization,” in which the entire city would become a separate international political entity under the ownership of no state.

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Otherwise stated: “By territorial internationalization is meant the placing of a specific piece of territory under international administration, as envisaged in the 1947 resolution, i.e. the corpus separatum. Functional internationalization, on the other hand, refers to the placing of the Holy Places under some form of international protection, without creating an international area.” (Emphasis in original)4   Given previous UN attention to these options, and if the international character of the city is important to international governance bodies, why has there been no movement in this direction? Author of The Juridical Status of Jerusalem, Yehuda Zvi Blum, believes tangible internationalization efforts were abandoned early on because it was apparent that control over the Holy Places in the city (especially the Old City) was too heavily disputed. When, in 1967, Israel took control over all of Jerusalem, the UN consistently insisted that that the city had to be dealt with separately2 but, at this time, discussing options of internationalization was not in vogue.   Internationalization should still be a central topic in the Jerusalem issue. Functional internationalization is still a possibility. Israel has stated in the past that it could agree to this option.8 This option has the potential to help the Israeli economy in the long run, since Israel would not be spending money to administer or protect the holy sites. These tasks and expenses could be ii

outsourced to an international body or bodies. Israel could continue to enjoy the income from the already growing9 tourist industry, because it would still be in possession of the municipality of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem alone, tourism consistently grew between 1980 and 1999, despite political and civil disturbances.3   In an ideal situation, functional internationalization also could provide the impetus for eventual territorial internationalization of the city. Such a step would entail a complete governmental overhaul and recognition of the area’s sovereignty as has been called for since the end of the Ottoman Empire. Nor would such a step be entirely impractical, at least economically. Studies of European micro-states’ economies show that they swiftly adapt by diversifying their economies and, capitalize on their resources at hand (in many cases, tourism), and participate heavily in international trade and liberal economic practices.10 More specifically, in a study looking at fifteen European micro-states, ten of them outperformed their immediate neighbors (all neighbors considered were EU member states) in GDP, and nine demonstrated higher GDP per capita in conjunction with lower unemployment rates. The selected study, as well as others cited therein, indicates that micro-states have more social homogeneity and cohesion than do their neighbors.10 Clearly, however, in the case of Jerusalem, politics continue to delay or even completely stop steps toward Olive roots | spring 2011 | 23 22


ramallah, west bank - Gerard horton

territorial internationalization. That process would require Israeli recognition of “legitimate Palestinian demands for sovereignty in East Jerusalem and the Old City,” giving more political leeway to the Palestinian cause than the Israeli government

can accept.3   The question of sovereignty over Jerusalem is deep and both sides have sensible arguments, but they have quit all talks on the subject for fear they will destroy the peace dialogue.8 Yet, as intractable as it

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appears, this issue is central to the resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the larger Arab-Israeli conflict and should not be left as a last item on the agenda. Jerusalem’s legal status should be dealt with as a priority. Though, ideally, complete territorial internationalization could provide political and economic stability for the region, that solution is not feasible. But functional internationalization is a viable option and deserves serious and timely attention. Failing to address the status of Jerusalem undermines the peace process and delegitimizes any peace agreements that might be reached. A compromise solution like functional internationalization, however, would provide common ground for discussion and one resolved issue upon which to build new agreements. Jerusalem is a special city to many people worldwide. It would be terrible if its status remains an afterthought in peace discussions rather than a central theme. That would be ironic, since Jerusalem means Peace.

references 1. Bovis, H. Eugene. The Jerusalem

2.

3.

Question, 1917-1968. 1 ed. Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press: Stanford University, 1971. Blum, Yehuda Zvi. The Juridical Status of Jerusalem. Israel: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1974. Dumper, Michael. The Politics of Sacred Space: The Old City

of Jerusalem in the Middle East Conflict. 1 ed. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc, 2002. 4. Cattan, Henry. “The Status of Jerusalem under International Law and United Nations Resolutions.” Journal of Palestine Studies 10, no. 3 (1981): 3-15. 5. Slonim, Shlomo. Jerusalem in America’s Foreign Policy, 19471997. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1998. 6. The Jerusalem Question and its Resolution: Selected Documents. 1 ed. Ruth Lapidoth and Moshe Hirsch. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1994. 7. Wilson, Evan M. “The Internationalization of Jerusalem.” Middle East Journal 23, no. 1 (1969): 1-13. 8. Breger, Marshall J. “The New Battle for Jerusalem.” The Middle East Quarterly 1. 4 (1994), http://www.meforum.org/204/ the-new-battle-for-jerusalem. (accessed May 1, 2010). 9. “Minister: Israel’s Tourism Growing.” June 15, 2006. http:// edition.cnn.com/2006/TRAVEL/06/13/israel.tourism/index. html (accessed 4/21/10). 10. Armstrong, Harvey, Robert Read. “Western European Micro-States and EU Autonomous Regions: The Advantages of Size and Sovereignty.” World Development 23, no. 7 (1995): 12291245.

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Hip-hop in Palestine:

An Intifada Set to Music, A Voice for the Voiceless Hanna Meghji Pomona College   Since its origin in the 1970s, hiphop has been a ‘voice of the voiceless’. From the United States to the Basque Country to Ireland and, now, to Palestine, hip-hop has been a vehicle for change. Palestinians used the art of hip-hop as a form of resistance during a time of great struggle and difficulty. Therefore, the arrival of hip-hop in Palestine is not surprising. In fact, the arrival of hip-hop to Palestine was not only accepted by the international hip-hop community, but also brought Palestinians great pride. Expatriate hiphop artists have utilized Palestine as a symbol of change, strength, and passion for years. Now, the channels of support and rhythm will travel in both directions, both to and from Palestine. Looking at three recent conflicts, this anthology1 attempts to understand and highlight the hip-hop movement in Palestine by comparing it with movements in the Basque Country, Ireland, and the United States. To compare the revolutionary nature of hip-hop across cultures and nations, one must understand the origins of hip-hop. We must therefore return to 1930’s Harlem.   By the 1930s, over one sixth of Harlem’s population was composed of individuals who were from the

West Indies, primarily Jamaica. They threw large parties in which community members toasted one another by quoting lyrics from songs or speaking in rhythm. Over time, the competitive tone of the gatherings grew, and individuals began toasting one another over an underlay of percussion instruments. It was in these New York block parties that rap and hip-hop emerged. Hip-hop allowed the West Indian residents in Harlem to fortify their sense of identity by providing them with another common tradition.   Through the years, hip-hop became a way for other marginalized languages and cultures to express themselves, bestowing the genre with the reputation of being a ‘voice of the voiceless’. As it traveled, it was “picked up by youth of many different social strata – including ethnic minority Basques, war-torn Croatians, North African immigrants in France – people who may [have] share[d] no historical relationships with blacks, but who [found] in hiphop a language, a set of resources, and knowledge with which to articulate similar but not identical struggles and concerns”2. The first article in this anthology, titled “‘We Are All Malcolm X!’ Negu Gorriak, Hip-hop, and the Basque Political Imaginary,”

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highlights Negu Gorriak, a hip hop band from the Basque Country. Living in a suppressed environment in which they were compelled to teach, learn, and speak solely in Castilian, the younger generations of Basques lost their language and, in turn, a piece of their identity. Formed in 1990, Negu Gorriak sought to advance the repressed language of Euskera and to promote the consolidation of Basque identity through music.   The band often compared their struggle to that of African Americans because, “while the band sings in Euskera, the album[s] as a whole [are]a heteroglossic speech com-

hip-hop became a way for other marginalized languages and cultures to express themselves munity of social movements who speak in a common language of social liberation in multiple tongues”.3 Hip-hop aided the formation of an African American consciousness during the civil rights movements in the United States and continues to remind us of the work that still lies ahead. Negu Gorriak identified with this struggle for equality and felt that they had a shared experience with African Americans; these elements of social liberation are reflected in their music. In their song “JFK”, for example, the band openly rejected United States president John Kennedy and instead established connections with Che Guevara, Simon

Bolivar, and Angela Davis. The band’s commitment to social movement coupled with its appreciation for hip-hop, allowed Negu Gorriak to become one of the most popular Basque fusion bands.   The intimacy that Negu Gorriak shared with hip-hop was not an isolated incident. During the Irish resistance to Britain in the 1990s, hip-hop and rap also served as a means of selfexpression and self-actualization. “Easter 1991” by Maighread Medbh, the third piece in this anthology, is written with a cadence and rhythm that mirrors hip-hop. The only difference is that it is not set to music; some might compare it to what is known as ‘spoken word’ today. In her poem, she, like Negu Gorriak, discusses the resurgence and preservation of Irish identity by weaving together a portrait of Ireland that is suffering because her “children”4 – the Irish – “don’t know what [they are]”5. She expresses her frustrations with a seemingly endless list of political injustices: her desperation as daily suffering worsens, her irritation with the Irish people’s inability to consolidate themselves under one purpose and identity, and her anger towards her helplessness. I am Ireland / and I’m sick I’m sick of this tidy house where I exist / that reminds me of nothing not of the past / not of the future I’m sick of depression I’m sick of shame I’m sick of poverty Olive roots | spring 2011 | 26 27


I’m sick of politeness I’m sick of looking over my shoulder I’m sick of standing by the shore / Waiting for some prince to come on the tide6   Medbh uses her poetry and her music to convey her disdain for the political situation in Ireland in the 1990s. Her political opinions and her art are inextricably woven together. Noting a similar connection between his music and his political inclinations, American hip-hop artist Immortal Technique insisted “on the importance of the political content of his work”7 in an interview in 2008. He claimed that “a rapper has to be a complete artist, [capturing] … the duality of not only speaking about [issues] revolutionarily but also [creating] party music”.8 In his song Homeland and Hip-hop, he states that those who identify with hip-hop come from places of suffering and oppression. They grow up “hungry, hated, and unloved, and this is the

Medbh uses her poetry and her music to convey her disdain for the political situation in Ireland in the 1990s. psychic fuel that generates the anger that seems endemic in much of [hiphop’s] music and poetry”.9   This anger and attempt to mobilize is visible both in the lyrics of Negu Gorriak’s music and in the verses of Medbh’s rhythmic poetry. Negu Gorriak, in their song “Living

Color,” calls for a reflection upon the plights of their own people as well as those who have struggled before them, specifically mentioning the people of Zimbabwe. They ask the world to remember injustices while expanding their horizons to include others who are also suffering worldwide. Let us not forget that we are Afro-Basques and that we will defend our sisters and brothers: Ali, Mohamed, Keba, Ismael, and all the tribes of Zimbabwe. We will attack their misery.10 Like Negu Gorriak’s “Living Color,” Medbh’s descriptions of Ireland as being “silenced” and having “nowhere to run” fill the reader with passion and concern. After presenting these sentiments of despair throughout the poem, Medbh finishes with I am Ireland / and I’m not waiting anymore11 It is with these closing words that she calls for change, just as Negu Gorriak, Immortal Technique, and many other hip-hop artists have also done through their music.   The primary themes highlighted in the music of these artists include the search for freedom from the chains of a ‘tyrant.’ The oppressor figure is the Spanish government for the Basques, the British for Ireland, and the American government,

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more often referred to as ‘White America’ to identify a corporate upper class, for African Americans. Another key theme is the maintenance of a personal, communal, and national identity, and the preservation of language. The possibility of coexistence and solidarity with the residents of a country, thereby sepa-

The first set of lyrics is from Negu Gorriak’s album Ustelkeria, meaning Rotting. These lyrics, written both in Euskera and English, are then followed by lyrics from The 3rd World, one of Immortal Technique’s most popular albums. This fourth piece of the anthology features songs that describe international political situ-

the wall from abu dis, west bank - gerard horton

rating citizens from the government, is shown through the use of both majority and minority languages, highlighted through the use of both Castilian and Euskera in Negu Gorriak’s music and both English and Gaelic in Medbh’s poetry. The fusion of musical styles, the preservation of property and land, and the promise of self-actualization and self-establishment are other key themes.   Each of these themes can be seen in the lyrics within this anthology.

ations that can be mirrored in ghettoes all over the United States.s   Despite their differences in language, time period, and geographic location, the cadences of the two artists are similar. Immortal Technique is considered one of the most politicized rappers in the world today. His hip-hop experience is an accumulation of the history of hiphop in its home country, America. The hip-hop experience of the other artists mentioned in this anthology Olive roots | spring 2011 | 29 28


must transcend not only time but also culture, language, and geography as they bring hip-hop into their homeland.   In a recent feature presentation filmed by Al-Jazeera, hip-hop was defined as an art that “has always been a preaching platform, which makes it perfect for groups like the ones in Palestinian territories”12. Hip-hop is a newly discovered and steadily growing interest of young Palestinian culture. The film titled Slingshot Hip Hop, directed and produced by Palestinian American Jackie Reem Salloum, chronicles the emergence of this new facet of Palestinian identity in the younger generation. The fifth article in this anthology is a transcript of the documentary, including the original Arabic lyrics from the music of the various Palestinian hiphop artists featured in the film along with the respective English translations. With the current state of affairs, “it turns out that most of the Arabs in Israel define themselves as Palestinians in Israel even when they have the option to choose other selfdefinitions such as Israeli Palestinians or Israeli Arabs,”13 the term that the Israeli government uses most often when referring to Palestinians. Palestinians living on Israeli soil are still strongly connected to their culture, language, and people. However, as with the situation of the Basques, it has been difficult for them to maintain their culture in the midst of an Israeli-dominated society, especially when disconnected from the language of Arabic and en-

tirely immersed in Hebrew. When asked about speaking Arabic in Israel, one resident interviewed in the documentary commented that “[the Israelis] can’t stand hearing [their] language. They want to erase it. They want to erase us.”14   Arabs make up 20% of Israel’s current population. Members of DAM, the first Palestinian hip-hop group, claim that such a substantial portion of the population cannot be ignored and the presence of Palestinians in Israel creates a breeding ground for fear. The group draws a parallel between “the Israeli fear of an Arab nation” and “the white man’s fear of a black nation”15 throughout the annals of history. Echoing this comparison, DAM titled its first album Fear of the Black Planet.   Originating in 1990 in Lod, Israel, DAM’s lyrics have always focused on “the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, terrorism, drugs, and women’s rights”16. They “wish all rappers could meet up in the West Bank, but, unfortunately, the Occupation does not allow [for] this”17. Thus, Palestinian rappers have been isolated from each other, unable to meet one another, to connect, or to create music together. For many years, residents of the West Bank and Gaza were not even aware that DAM and the Palestinian hip-hop movement even existed.   In Slingshot Hip Hop, Salloum weaves together the stories of young Palestinians living in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. She chronicles their discoveries of hip-hop, captur-

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ing how they channel their frustrations into music and utilize it as a tool to surpass the communal, physical, and social divisions imposed upon them by the Occupation. As she traveled, she noticed that the younger generation had latched onto a growing underground hiphop movement that will soon demand recognition. She highlights the newly discovered talents of the Palestinian Rapperz from Gaza, Arapeyat and Mahmoud Shalabi from Akka, and DAM, bringing them together to perform as one upon Palestinian soil. The people of Palestine, especially the youth, have become surer about the possibility of “hope, a spark – like a flame in the darkness of a cave, hoping that things work out”.18 Pride and faith have both been rekindled by the emergence of hiphop and the expression of revolution through music.   When asked what it is about hiphop that draws them in, the artists gave very similar answers: “From all the devastation, it’s hard to feel anything anymore. So, I started rapping to release what is inside of me.”19 “This is hip-hop. You live reality. And you just write the reality in rhyme and you do it. So, whatever you see around you, you just write it down. And, as long as I am living in Gaza – as I was living in Gaza – I see what is going on around me – what was going on around me. So, I saw a lot of people dying, a lot of people getting killed, a lot of houses destroyed. A lot of my friends died. So, do you

expect me to write love songs about that?”20   DAM and Palestinian Rapperz are two groups that had never come into contact with one another prior to the filming of this documentary, and, yet, independently, they were able to find similar coping mechanisms within the realm of music, specifically through hip-hop. Though this may surprise readers and those participating in the movement in Palestine, it is unlikely that this would surprise hip-hop artists in countries where the genre is better developed. Its history of being a tool for spreading a “message, [one that is] political, social, [and] personal,”21 makes this encounter between Palestinian culture and hip-hop appear almost inevitable. Each group raps about the misconceptions they feel surround the image of Palestinians in the media and the need to maintain their heritage. Another common theme is disappointment about both the occupation and the inability to communicate with other Palestinians due to the many checkpoints and the Israeli government’s continuous construction of walls between Palestinian neighborhoods and districts. These are themes that were present in the hip-hop music of both Immortal Technique and Negu Gorriak.   Neither of these artists, however, can tell the story of Mahmoud Fayyad, a former member of the Palestinian Rapperz. Inspired by DAM, the Palestinian Rapperz produced songs that revolved around the occupation Olive roots | spring 2011 | 30 31


and the desire to close the distance between Palestinians. Although they always maintained these themes in their work, the messages became even more prevalent and pervasive one summer when Fayyad visited his sister in Egypt with the rest of

Palestinians are living in a unique situation. … We need our nationality back. We need our identity back. This is one of the messages we are trying to get through. We hope the world will listen.”22   According to the musician and

Israeli Police Vehicle in Hebron, West Bank - gerarde horton

his family. Before he had a chance to return to Palestine from Cairo, an order was given enforcing a blockade upon Gaza’s borders. Until this day, Fayyad has been unable to return. When asked about the experience, he states: “It has been really hard. … When you are not there, it is really hard to comprehend [the deaths of the loved ones that you hear about]. They won’t let me get back in, and, if they did, I would not let [myself] get back out. The hip-hop we do –I want people to know what it’s like to live in such fucked up circumstances. The

writer Mark Levine, “tragedy fuels great music,”23 and great music was the exact result of this particular circumstance. Not only did the group rap about the power of hip-hop in recreating and preserving an identity despite loss of ownership, but they also became a living example of how distances can be overcome. Living in Cairo, Fayyad continues to raps with the Palestine Rapperz. Over the past few years, the group has become one of the most popular bands in Gaza, covered by every radio station in the Strip. Although it “takes [them] a long time to record one track”24 due

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to their imposed physicalseparation, the group uses “Twitter, Facebook, [and] MSN”25 to communicate with one another and coordinate online recording sessions. They recruited another member from Texas into the group, transcending geographic boundaries more than anyone could have ever predicted.   Each of these artists firmly believes that the hip-hop movement will yield results in terms of mobilizing the younger generation and reinstating a more cohesive Palestinian identity. DAM was inspired by the New York style of hip-hop, and they went on to inspire other youths to begin their own Palestinian hip-hop groups throughout both Palestine and Israel. Hip-hop’s appeal gives the members of DAM confidence: “If we had released this [record] three hundred years ago, it would have been a hit. If we had released it ten years ago, it would have been a hit. And, if we [were to] release it ten years from now, it would still be hit. There is always someone being oppressed, someone struggling, someone who can relate to what we are saying and how we are saying it.”26 The mix of western beats and Arabic lyrics with “attitude, opinion, and politics”27 has led to the conversion of many of DAM’s songs into Palestinian anthems. The people “feel”28 the music and understand the hypocrisy behind identifying one act of violence as ‘terror’ and another equally violent act as ‘not terror’. The song that has picked up the most steam

both within Palestine and abroad is called “Meen Erhabi,” or “Who’s the Terrorist?” This particular song by DAM has peaked in hip-hop stations in New York, despite the fact that the entire song is sung in Arabic. It discusses the misrepresentation of Palestinians in the media and the injustice that is inherently present in legal institutions: Who’s the terrorist? I’m the terrorist?! How am I a terrorist when this is my homeland?! Who’s the terrorist? I’m the terrorist?! You’ve taken everything, while I’m living in my own land! You’ve killed me, like you killed my ancestors. “Go to the law!” What for?! You’re the witness, the lawyer, and the judge. So what are my options? My sentence is death. I’m not against peace. Peace is against me. It wants to eliminate me, erase my heritage.29 The song has experienced enormous popularity even among nonPalestinian Arab-Americans. Mark Levine explains that, because “it is so hard to get the reality of [a] Palestinian’s day to day life [through] to [an] American audience,” the most effective way to reach the American audience “is through the back door. Olive roots | spring 2011 | 33 32


And the easiest back door, because of its cultural [and historical] importance, is hip-hop”.30   This is not the first time that music has been utilized by Palestinians as a form of resistance, but it is the first musical resistance spurred by the infusion of hip-hop. Directly after the occupation began in the late 1940s, many musicians saw their art as the only means by which they could maintain a defense against cultural annihilation by channeling Palestinian experiences into one narrative. Their “resistance [was their] art, and [their] art [was their] war”31. Even the imagery used in the previous era of revolutionary Palestinian music was very different from what it has become in today’s musical environment. Previously, much attention was paid to the everyday details of life and the home, the presence and role of nature or land in the struggle for identity, and the great significance of the olive tree. In today’s musical scene, the symbols include stones, slingshots, walls, and bombs. These are still physical representations of Palestine; the only difference is that the landscape and experience have both changed. This struggle is reflected not only through the music of the Palestinians, but also through the struggles of those in similar situations who came before. Young hiphop artists in Palestine use historical symbolism to push their message forward, something their ancestors did not do. The ‘street level’ beginnings and easy accessibility to the music are reminiscent of Mahmoud

Darwish’s desire to simplify Palestinian art and literature. Perhaps the introduction of hip-hop will be the reason for this shift; perhaps the shift will become permanent.   The themes outlined in the music of the aforementioned hip-hop artists can once again be highlighted here. The anger and frustrations that feed the production of hip-hop, according to Immortal Technique, are present in all of the music created by these young Palestinian artists. One of the most popular songs by DAM has now become a political slogan for many youth in the West Bank and Gaza. All we asked for was a breath. And what did we sacrifice for it? Another breath. What can’t I be free like other children in the world?32 What is even more interesting about Palestinian hip-hop culture is that “you really hear the sounds of the war and of the violence [in the music] and that really inflects into the lyrics. It inflects into the way the beats and the sounds come together”.33 The anger that is evident in their lyrics is accompanied by a musical underlay of strong, steady beats and traditional accompaniments such as the well-known melancholic flutes of the Middle East, mixing strong emotion, anger, culture, and history.   This anger, it must be noted, is not necessarily directed towards Israeli civilians. Just as Negu Gorriak and Maighread Medbh wove together

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minority and majority languages, so, too, do hip-hop artists in Palestine. DAM has spearheaded projects where songs are written in a mix of Hebrew and Arabic so as to make them accessible to both Israelis and Palestinians. Although most of their songs are in Arabic in order to promote Palestinian language and heritage, “Born Here,” one of DAM’s most popular songs, contains both Arabic and Hebrew. This has opened up avenues for connection with Israelis through hip-hop, something that DAM has expressed interest in, provided they do not have to compromise their political inclinations.   For now, however, the music has allowed Palestinian youths to reconnect with one another through language while transcending geographic limitations. Tapes and CDs containing music from each Palestinian artist mentioned above have crept into the refugee camps in both Gaza and the West Bank and are spreading into parts of Jordan as well. Hip-hop is no longer “just about music. It is not just about politics. It’s about something much stronger”.34 It has come to represent the possibility of a consolidated Palestinian identity and sense of purpose that has and will continue to surpass geographical boundaries. It has come to represent hope, and it has come to show “a new generation of young Palestinians an artistic and edgy way to stand up and be heard”.35 Hip-hop has emerged as a form of resistance in Palestine, as it had done in many places before.

This resistance is recognized worldwide and echoes across the globe amongst hip-hop artists, either Palestinians who fled the country or, in cases such as that of Immortal Technique, artists who do not even identify as Arab. The sixth piece of this anthology chronicles the spoken word poetry of Suheir Hammad. Spoken word is a type of poetry that is closely related to rap and hip-hop in terms of rhythm and tone. Born to Palestinian refugee parents in Jordan, Hammad lives in Brooklyn, New York and has made countless appearances on television with her poems “First Writing Since,” “Mike Check,” and “What I Will,” each of which is in this compilation amongst her other works. Hammad uses her rhythmic eloquence to compare tragedies in Western and Eastern countries, focusing primarily on Palestine and the United States.   As a woman, a Muslim, an immigrant, and of Palestinian heritage, Hammad constantly strives to question stereotypes. In her last televised performance on the nationally acclaimed show Def Jam, Hammad had the crowd clapping and cheering with every verse. In “First Writing Since,” she tells her story – a Muslim American whose brothers fight on behalf of the United States in the Navy, on the day of September 11th, 2001: If there are – if there are any people on earth who understand how New York is feelin’ right now Olive roots | spring 2011 | 35 34


they are in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. … Shit is complicated and I don’t know what to think. But I know who will pay. Women – mostly colored and poor – will have to bury children, support themselves through grief. … If there is any light to come, it will shine from the eyes of those who look for peace and justice after the rubble and the rhetoric are cleared and the phoenix has risen. Affirm life. Affirm life. We got to carry each other now. You are either with life or against it. Affirm life.36 Similar themes of justice, life, and strength are expressed in a slightly more aggressive way by the P-Stine Ryders, a three-man band, each of which is a first generation Palestinian American.   The lyrics of their latest album are the seventh component of this anthology. In the first track called “Bulletproof Ideas,” the band takes a sound bite from the movie V for Vendetta, a fictional film about a revolutionary in modern day England who reconstructs Guy Fawkes’s attempt to blow up the British Parliament. Referring to Palestine in the song, the Ryders do not limit themselves to just the political situation of Palestinians. In fact, most of the song covers historical movements and speak to justice, poverty, and equal-

ity in general terms: Burn me. Stab me. Lynch me. Shoot me. Mothafucka, there’s nothing that you can do to me. Burn me. Stab me. Lynch me. Shoot me. “Why won’t you die?!” Because ideas are bulletproof.37 Unlike their counterparts in Palestine, the Ryders aim to both entertain and enlighten. Some of their work is less controversial and speaks to Immortal Technique’s philosophy regarding the balance between producing party music and being politically opinionated. That said, however, Immortal Technique also has a very direct approach to representing the truth of the Palestinian situation: Trapped in a ghetto region like a Palestinian kid, where nobody gives a fuck whether you die or you live. I’m tryin’ to give the truth, and I know the price is my life.38 And I’m sick of fake hustlers telling lies to the youth: you never robbed Dominicans and you couldn’t sling rocks [even] if you was Palestinian!39 In the first excerpt, Immortal Technique sympathizes with the situation of the Palestinian children. In the second, he indirectly pays tribute to the Palestinians who fire rocks with their slingshots.

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There are many artists like Immortal Technique – non-Palestinian hip-hop artists who understand the plight of the Palestinians and use their cultural and economic capital to spread the word about their situation while drawing parallels with previous instances in history. Many even use Palestine as a symbol to represent an honorable struggle or a worthy cause. The eighth and final component of this anthology chronicles five songs. The first, “Look Into Hammad uses her rhythmic eloquence to compare tragedies in Western and Eastern countries, focusing primarily on Palestine and the United States. My Eyes,” is by the Danish hiphop group Outlandish. The song is based upon a simple poem written by a young Palestinian girl who, in an attempt to rouse the American subconscious, tells of the struggles in her daily life. The second, third, fourth, and fifth are called “Voice of the Voiceless,” “Long Live Palestine,” “Long Live Palestine Part 2,” and “Obamanation.” They are performed by Lowkey, a British hip-hop artist who traces his roots to Iraq. Lowkey is known to be as much of a patriot as he is critical of both American and British foreign policy. Their politics took my voice away, but their music gave it back to me. … I see imperialism under your skin tone.

You could call it Christopher Columbus syndrome. … I have the heart to say words that other rappers aren’t: words like Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan. The war’s on and you morons were all wrong.40 As they unite their voices, their messages, and their missions, the new generation of hip-hop artists in Palestine is embarking upon a journey that many have taken before. How will this new brand of Palestinian identity affect the use of their example by hip-hop artists abroad? How will it impact the future and development of the Palestinian youth? Will it be able to open channels between the Palestinian and Israeli youths? How much momentum can this movement really generate? Only time will reveal the answers to these questions. Regardless, it seems that the hip-hop movement, upon reaching Palestine, rejuvenated the intifada – an intifada set to music, a ‘voice of – and for – the voiceless.’

References 1. Fayyad, Mahmoud. Interview by Khury Peterson Smith. The Sitch. Cairo, Egypt, July 9, 2009. 2. Def Jam Poetry. “First Writing Since,” first broadcast by HBO. Written by Suheir Hammad. 3. Immortal Technique. “Banger’s Freestyle.” In Silenced Revolution. Unreleased. 4. Immortal Technique. “The 4th

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5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

15. 16.

17. 18.

Branch.” In Revolutionary Volume 2. Philadelphia, PA: Viper Records, 2003. Immortal Technique. The 3rd World. Philadelphia, PA: Viper Records, 2008. Kavakeb, Dominic. “Immortal Technique: radical rapper takes on the ‘American dream.’” British Hip Hop, December 10, 2010. http://www.britishhiphop.co.uk/ features/articles/ immortal_technique_radical_rapp e r _ t a ke s _ o n _ t h e _ a m e r i c a n _ dream.html. Lowkey. Lowkey Uncensored. Mixtape, 2009. Lowkey. “Obama Nation.” In Soundtrack to the Struggle. Red Skull Beats, unreleased. Medbh, Maighread. “Easter 1991.” Feminist Review 44, (Summer 1993): 58. Negu Gorriak. “JFK.” In Ustelkeria. Gipuzkoa, Spain: Esan Ozenki, 1996. Negu Gorriak. “Living Color.” In Borreroak Baditu Milaka Aurpegi. Gipuzkoa, Spain: Esan Ozenki, 1993. Outlandish. “Look Into My Eyes.” In Closer than Veins. New York, NY: RCA, 2006. Playlist. Series 2, Episode no. 8, first broadcast on 2 May 2009 by Al Jazeera (English). Written by Richard Gizbert. P-stine Ryders. “Bulletproof Ideas.” Unreleased. Rouhana, Nadim N. Palestinian citizens in ethnic Jewish state: identities in conflict. New Haven, CT: Yale

University Press, 1997.

19. Slingshot Hip Hop. Directed by Jackie Reem Salloum. Los Angeles, CA: Fresh Booza Production, 2009. DVD. 20. Toop, David. Rap attack 2: African rap to global hip hop. New York, NY: Serpent’s Tail, 1991. 21. Trendle, Giles. “Songs from a Lost Homeland: Rhythms of Resistance.” Salem News, 22. April 5, 2010. http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/general/2010/03/2010325132736122581. html 23. Urla, Jacqueline. “’We are all Malcolm X!’ Negu Gorriak, Hip Hop and the Basque Political 24. Imaginary.” In Global noise: rap and hip-hop outside the USA, edited by Toni Mitchell, 25. 171-193. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2001.1

hills of the west bank gerard horton

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Politics of Personality: Did contrasting leadership styles contribute to war in 1967? Francesca Louise Hands King’s College, University of Cambridge   Levi Eshkol certainly had much pressure on him before the outbreak of the 1967 war which may have led to the perception of him before, during and after as “faltering,” indecisive and struggling to cope with the burden of sending Israel into a largescale conflict against its neighbours. Moreover, given the painful history of the nascent Jewish state following the Holocaust, it is perhaps likely that ‘the possibility of surrender had never been considered an available option by Israeli leaders’1. Therefore, despite Eshkol’s apprehension, he may have had little choice but to

it is perhaps likely that ‘the possibility of surrender had never been considered an available option by Israeli leaders’ acquiesce to pressures to go to war, while Nasser was perhaps equally constrained in his decision-making by his inability to deter from the rhetoric of Arab Nationalism. Eshkol’s poor speech on May 28th in which he stuttered considerably was interpreted by the Israelis themselves as ‘proof of incompetence’2, resulting in Eshkol’s adversary Moshe Dayan

taking over as the Minister of Defence. After this, Eshkol continued to suffer heavy criticism even from within his cabinet about his hesitancy over whether or not to go to war. However, it must also be noted that Levi Eshkol demonstrated selfassuredness of his own in his conviction to “stay on the alert without opening fire”3 after the Cabinet’s decision to wait for events to progress before acting on their suspicions of an Egyptian-led assault. Meanwhile, there is some evidence of Nasser’s “self-assuredness” from his rhetoric following the blockade of the Straits of Tiran in which he insisted that should Israel take any military step “the battle against Israel will be total and its object will be the destruction of Israel”4. However, to extent to which Nasser’s decisions truly constituted a casus belli as opposed to a paranoia-induced display of brinkmanship in response to his own faltering under the pressure of external criticism for his inaction over the Israeli issue is unclear.   This essay will attempt to untangle, to as great an extent as is possible given the complexities of the events leading up to the 1967 war, the degree to which Nasser’s supposed “self-assuredness” and Eshkol’s “faltering” contributed to the outbreak of war. Olive roots | spring 2011 | 39 38


However, it will be illustrated that it can also be argued that Nasser had very little reason to be self-assured given the dire straits that Egypt was in before the outbreak of war, and it is possible that his only display of self-assuredness occurred in his presumption, based on a historical precedent from 1956, that the superpowers would avert an all-out war without him having to losing face in front of the Arab people. Meanwhile, Eshkol was perhaps not faltering but trying to balance out the strength of anti-Arab opinion within the cabinet and his hard-line military officers with his acknowledgement of the diplomatic sacrifice he would be making in issuing the command to go to war before being given the goahead by the United States, since to do so would damage Israel’s standing in the international community and its essential strong ties to the world beyond the Middle East. Moreover, it will be emphasised that no conflict, particularly not the 1967 war, can be attributed to the decisions and motivations of just two heads-of-state.   There is little clarity within the academic community as to the motives behind the events that led up to the outbreak of war, and any consensus may shift as new information comes to light. Indeed, it is highly unlikely that the truth will ever be known since, as time passes, more and more actors who were involved in the runup to the war have passed away, taking their viewpoint and memories of the events with them. However, there is some evidence that Levi Es-

hkol’s faltering speech on May 28th was a veritable sign of his weakness rather than a slip of the tongue due to his inability to read his aide’s handwriting, particularly given the paranoid and fractured nature of

There is little clarity within the academic community as to the motives behind the events that led up to the outbreak of war Israeli politics at the time, and the intense criticisms being held against him. According to Oren, from the point that General Aharon Yariv, the Israeli Chief of Military Intelligence, became convinced on May 25th that an Egyptian surprise attack was imminent, the Israeli military leadership exerted a massive pressure on Levi Eshkol to immediately permit a pre-emptive strike6. Perhaps the loudest voice that rallied against Eshkol’s apparent weakness was that of Ben-Gurion’s newly formed “RAFI” party (the acronym for the Israeli Workers’ List, or Reshimat Poalei Yisrael), which criticized the Prime Minister for being too soft, moderate and liberal7. It is impossible to tell the extent to which Levi Eshkol took such criticisms to heart, but it is likely given Levi Eshkol’s nature as ‘a man of consensus and compromise’8 that he could be forced despite his concerns to make an irrevocable choice regarding the perceived threat of the Egyptian army’s move

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into positions across the border as long as his cabinet also supported such an action.   Indeed, Eshkol had a tendency to share his powers and responsibilities among his advisors, including the influential Yitzhak Rabin, chief-ofstaff at the time of the 1967 war, who was given “considerable freedom of action”9 by Eshkol, and who, as will later be outlined, may have had his own motives for nudging the Prime Minister’s opinion in the direction of pre-emptive warfare. Indeed, it was Rabin who suggested to Eshkol to send the IAF into action in retaliation for Syria’s opening fire on an IDF patrol and then Israeli settlements on November 13, 1964. Despite the risks involved in escalating the conflict by introducing the air force, which had been kept away from border clashes since 1951, Eshkol was convinced by Rabin that too much was at stake not to deploy them10. However, there seems to have been a shift in the attitude of the Israeli military towards 1967 with regard to the necessity of gaining the Prime Minister’s consent on military issues. While Rabin consulted Eshkol in 1964, the events of November 13, 1966, when the Israeli army undertook military action against the Jordanian village of As-Samu’ in response to Fatah raids, codenamed Operation Shredder, transpired without consulting Eshkol and without his knowledge. Afterwards, Eshkol deliberately distanced himself from the event following criticism from within and without Israel, including from the

US. This occurrence indicated a breakdown in the chain of command over the space of two years, in which the military felt it was able to deploy its forces without seeking full political approval beforehand. Eshkol’s faltering and the military’s lack of confidence in him may have been a symptom of being forced to make tough decisions which he did not perhaps agree with, thus confusing Egypt as to whether Israel was truly a power to be reasoned with or not, despite the former being the reality.   Not only was responsibility actively shared by Eshkol himself, but his own wishes were at times subordinated by in-fighting over issues which may have changed the course of history had Eshkol been able to enforce his opinion. As it was, Eshkol’s weakness in asserting his point of view, despite his conviction in its validity, meant that when Meir Amit, the director of the Mossad, was invited to meet with Amer in late-1965, Isser Harel, the previous Mossad director who bore a grudge against Amit, was able to convince other ministers that the visit was counterproductive. Despite Eshkol’s approval of the meeting, perhaps seeing it as a means to break the ice in Israeli-Egyptian relations and get closer to Egypt’s number two figure, the domestic objections that were raised about the matter meant that Amer’s proposal went unanswered, and a meeting which may have improved relations between the two states never took place. On the other hand, Eshkol was not so intimidated Olive roots | spring 2011 | 40 41


by his colleagues that he accepted unruly behaviour. When Rabin threatened to overthrow the Damascus regime on May 12, 1967, causing a media frenzy, Eshkol reprimanded his actions in the following cabinet meeting. It would seem, however, that Rabin’s more militant attitude towards the defiant Syria may have been infiltrating Eshkol’s own line of thought, since that same day the Prime Minister himself warned that Israel may “have to adopt measures no less drastic than those of April 7”11. It would also seem that the same faltering that was affecting Eshkol had much impact on Rabin, who suffered from a 24-hour breakdown

after being heavily criticized for his actions by Ben-Gurion12. By shifting responsibility across the spectrum of the Israeli cabinet, it would seem that Eshkol’s advisors were also at risk of bearing the burden of responsibility that was weighing down on their leader. This burden was perhaps lifted by “Amit’s claim in early June that, following talks with Richard Helms (Director of Central Intelligence) and Robert McNamara (US Secretary of Defence), America would welcome an independent Israeli strike on Egypt, opening up the opportunity for Israel to act preemptively on its suspicions while not sacrificing its good diplomatic relations with the world powers13.   Although Eshkol may have been hesitant to risk diplomatic isolation, in reality Israel itself was far from weak and did not require outside help to win the war itself, but only to acquiesce to its occurrence. While Eshkol and Israel’s civil and military leaders may have been concerned by Egypt’s moves to remilitarize Sinai and close the Straits of Tiran, it has become evident that Israel was unequivocally convinced that it would be the victor in a war with the belligerent Arab yafo - anna goldberg states, a view supported

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by American intelligence, even if the other side were to attack first14. However, it was the IDF under Rabin, rather than Eshkol, who was “spoiling for a fight and willing to go to considerable lengths to provoke it”15. This is perhaps due to what Brigader General Israel Lior, Eshkol’s aide-decamp, termed the “Syrian Syndrome”; that is, Rabin and the IDF’s institutionalized hatred of Syria after many years of frustrating tit-for-tat border clashes#. As Eshkol could only rely on the information presented to him by the IDF, it is unsurprising that if Rabin had indeed been chomping at the bit to deal a heavy blow to Syria and Egypt, it would have been simple enough to present the evidence so as to persuade Eshkol that a preemptive strike was necessary. This is the indication from the cables sent to Washington in the days before the war, one of which stated “we expect a surprise attack from the Egyptians and the Syrians at any moment”16.

the absence of a real military balance was disastrous to a large extent   Roland Popp, author of the article “Stumbling decidedly into the SixDay War” in the Middle East Journal argues, along similar lines as Michael Brecher, that the presentation of information about an impending Egyptian surprise attack in order to

gain much-needed American consent was a “venture in Machievellian statesmanship”17 given the deception employed by the Israeli military to convince both the civilian leadership and the United States of the necessity of a military solution, despite little on-the-ground evidence of any real military threat from the Arab states. In hindsight it is evident that there was little equality between the capability of the armies of the Arab states compared to the might of Israel, since “the absence of a real military balance was disastrous to a large extent, not only the imbalance between Syria and Israel, but also between the Arabs as a whole on the one hand and Israel on the other”.18 Moreover, Israel would have been aware given the recent hand-over of power in Syria that “the army Asad inherited in 1966 was as ill-prepared for war as he was himself”.19 The extent to which Eshkol harboured illfeeling towards the Syrians for their constant harassment and belligerency towards Israel is difficult to assess in the light of little evidence, however the Israeli government as a whole has been accused by some analysts of being institutionally militant in its foreign policy within the Middle East. This even includes Moshe Dayan who confirmed in 1976 that some of Israel’s top military leaders were afflicted by the Syrian Syndrome and actively aimed to escalate the border conflicts#]20, as well as responding with massive levels of retaliation when provoked.21 This was perhaps most evident during the aforemenOlive roots | spring 2011 | 43 42


tioned disastrous raid of As-Samu, in which eighteen Jordanian soldiers and civilians were killed, despite the relatively peaceful relations between the two states22. Patrick Seale, author of Asad of Syria: the struggle for the Middle East, even goes so far as to accuse Israel of “bash[ing] Syria at will, trampling on its rights – and then pos[ing] as the injured party”. 23 Even though Eshkol demonstrated signs of weakness, the overwhelming strength with which the Israeli nation asserted itself militarily suggests that overall it was Israel that had more reason to feel self-assured. It may even, as Riyadh suggests, have had the self-assuredness to “seize and exploit” the opportunities presented by Egypt’s ill-thought-out decision to close the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli navigation.24   As mentioned, Nasser’s bellicose speeches and daring moves before Israel attacked do suggest a man who was very much self-assured. Analysts such as Oren have been convinced by Nasser’s rhetoric that his intention in 1967 “was indeed to strike an unsuspecting Israel and to eradicate the Jewish state”.25 Moreover, the Egyptian vice-President, Amer is thought to have compounded Nasser’s confidence by influencing his understanding of Egypt’s situation vis-à-vis Israel, being overly confident in the capability of the Egyptian army to achieve a “glorious victory” which would enhance “Amer’s own prestige in the region.” Popp even accuses “Amer of sabotaging Nasser’s intention” for a modest

redeployment by pressuring him to accept the UN’s ultimatum in favour of complete withdrawal of UNEF forces.26 However, it was highly unlikely despite “Amer’s confidence and meddling” that Nasser was in-

the combative rhetoric... gave Israel the impression, albeit false, of confidence that the Arab world could exterminate them tending unequivocally to go to war given the numerous accounts to the contrary from the USSR and US at the time, as well as from lines imbedded in Nasser’s own speeches. Even Rabin recognised in 1968 that “he did not believe that Nasser wanted a war, that the contingents which were sent into Sinai on May 14 were not sufficient to wage war on Israel, and that both Abd al-Nasser and Israel knew this was the case.”27 The situation of the Egyptian state in 1967 was also not one that would be particularly conducive to waging war. The Egyptian army was tied down in an exhausting war in Yemen, and the Egyptian economy was in such dire straits that in 1967, despite Yemen, considerable cuts were made to the military budget. Indeed, 1967 “could not possibly have been Nasser’s choice for a showdown with Israel.”28. The only case, then, in which Nasser certainly seemed self-assured was in regard to his faith that Washington would hold Israel back from

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Jewish cemetary, Mount of Olives, Jerusalem - Gerard horton

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all-out war, perhaps due to the historical precedent of the 1956 Suez crisis29. Indeed, US officials in Cairo at the time “were so surprised by the apparent confidence of the Egyptian military that [it was as though] they had a secret weapon”.30 Perhaps that secret weapon was the United States itself. As long as Egypt felt safe in this belief, its leaders were free to posture without fear of military reprisals by Israel, and any threats it did make were, as the Arabs would say, “haki fadi” (empty words).   Why, given Egypt’s condition in 1967, would Nasser need to follow a policy of threatening Israel with the prospect of war? Rather than acting rationally in a pursuit of war with Israel, it would seem that Nasser stumbled into the conflict given the considerable pressure that he was under from the rest of the Arab world, and particularly Syria, to take a harder line towards Israel. Syria had suffered several humiliating defeats at the hands of the Israelis, including the disastrous shooting down of two of its aircraft in full view of Damascus, which rather than deterring the Syrians from attacking across the border and supporting al-Fatah as the Israelis perhaps intended, simply exacerbated existing hatred towards Israel by touching upon that central tenet of Arab behaviour: one’s standing in the community.31 Eager to retaliate but with the knowledge that Syria’s army alone could not stand against Israel, Syria began to put pressure on Egypt to respond. Nasser, however, tended to “inject a

characteristic note of caution”32 into the mix by emphasising that while Egypt supported Syria’s cause, it could not ensure a victory before the Arabs had improved their land and air defence capabilities. Moreover,

the combative rhetoric... gave Israel the impression, albeit false, of confidence that the Arab world could exterminate them Avi Shlaim, author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World, argues that despite Soviet claims that Israel was planning an attack on Syria it would seem that “the report was untrue and Nasser knew that it was untrue”33 – although it is difficult to ascertain the accuracy of such a claim. What is certain is that criticism continued to damage Nasser’s standing in the Arab world as the pioneer of Arab nationalism and the glue that could hold the states together against Israel. His inaction became an embarrassment as Jordanian media ridiculed his failure to stand by Arab states attacked by Israel and taunted the Egyptian army for hiding behind the UNEF34. Given this “crisis of confidence,”35 Nasser could simply not risk a repeat of April 7 or November 13, and so decided to take deterrent action that aimed, as Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad stated, to “make Israel think twice before they attack.”36 Egypt’s decision to redeploy troops to Sinai was

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“blatantly demonstrative”37 rather than an actual preparation of warfare. Nasser continuously stressed that Egypt’s actions were defensive despite its combative language, being a response to perceived Israeli aggression towards the Arab world in which, after the startling attack of As-Samu, no Arab state was immune.   Following Nasser’s decision to reoccupy Sinai and UNEF’s withdrawal, despite not being actualized on the President’s terms following the UN’s ultimatum38, the Arab world “erupted in paeans of triumph from Baghdad to Marrakesh.”39 Following months of condemnation, this support undoubtedly assuaged Nasser’s desire for public approval and recognition. However, it also problematized the situation when the Arab world pressured Egypt to return to a pre-1956 status quo, a prospect that Seale suggests may have had an influence on Nasser irrespective of popular demand.40 Nasser becomes, in this instance, a sort of “sorcerer’s apprentice,” constrained by the conclusiveness of his actions and losing the careful political and military game he was playing. As Nasser alter asserted, “the sequence of events determined the plan”41 and he had no choice but to yield to demands to close the Straits of Tiran, “despite knowing that this would make war much more likely”.42 While in the public domain Nasser was able to agitate Israel by his seeming “selfassuredness,” in private, “Nasser’s anxiety was mounting daily,”43 and

rightly so when his exercise in brinkmanship unfortunately carried him and the Arab world “over the brink”44 soon after the blockade was established.   Historically speaking, much of Arab warfare is about posturing and the battle cry that precedes the battle is a central part of the processes of waging war, but it does not necessarily entail actual combat. It is therefore possible that the combative rhetoric that punctuated Nasser’s speeches certainly gave Israel the impression, albeit false, of confidence that the Arab world could exterminate them. Equally, Nasser’s perceptions of Levi Eshkol being unable to match his bombastic rhetoric in his faltering speeches and hesitancy to act may have suggested that Israel would not call Egypt’s bluff. However given the multitude of actors involved other than these two figures, only some of whom have been mentioned in this essay, even if this scenario were to be a correct interpretation it is unlikely to have been the central factor resulting in the outbreak of the 1967 war, since it ignores factors such as the dynamics of the Cold War and US-USSR interests in the Middle East, intercultural misinterpretation and distorted motives which analysts have been attempting to sift through in the years following the conflict. As it stands, the onset of the war “cannot be traced to any individual person or incident”45 and there is no one answer to the outbreak. Perhaps the surest statement that can be made Olive roots | spring 2011 | 46 47


about the war is that of Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani regarding the Arabs’ catastrophic defeat despite declaring confidence in their united cause against Israel: “That we lost the war should come as no surprise, because we entered it with all the talent that we Arabs possess in public speaking, with the boasts of heroes that could never kill a fly, because we entered it with the logic of the drum and the oboe.46 If Israel had not called this bluff, 1967 may have been just another tense year in Arab-Israeli relations.

Endnotes 1. Cohen, Raymond. “Intercultural

2.

3. 4.

5.

communication between Israel and Egypt: deterrence failure before the Six-Day War.” Review of Inernational Studies 14 (1988): 5 Naor, Arye. “Civil-military relations and strategic goal setting in the Six Day War.” Israeli Affairs 12:3 (2006): 400 Ibid: 402 Brown, Carl L. “Nasser and the June 1967 war: plan or improvisation?” In Quest for Understanding: Arabic and Islamic studies in Memory of Malcolm H. Kerr, edited by S. Seikaly, R. Baalbaki & P. Dodd. (Beirut: American University of Beirut, 1991): 122 Popp, Roland . “Stumbling decidedly into the Six-Day War.” Middle East Journal 60:2 (Spring 2006): 296-7

6. Shlaim, Avi. The Iron Wall: Isra-

el and the Arab World. (London: Penguin, 2001): 223 7. Ibid: 218 8. Ibid: 220 9. Ibid: 232 10. Cohen, Raymond. “Intercultural communication between Israel and Egypt”: 4 11. Shlaim, Avi. The Iron Wall: 238 12. Ibid: 241. It remains unknown whether Helms or McNamara actually granted Israel permission to take military action, although this is unlikely given US documentation from 1967, which would suggest that the States did not support military action, by either Israel or the Arab states. However, ‘Amit did claim that the US had given their nod of approval to the Israeli cabinet, indicating that he was pushing a case to Israeli leaders and was willing to stretch the facts to achieve this aim. 13. Popp, Roland. “Stumbling decidedly into the Six-Day War”: 297 14. Ibid 15. Shlaim, Avi. The Iron Wall: 229 16. Popp, Roland. “Stumbling decidedly into the Six-Day War”: 297 17. Ibid: 298 18. Hussein, Khalid Muhammad. Contemporary Syria: 1963 – 1996: 69 (translated from Arabic to English by student) 19. Seale, Patrick. Asad of Syria: the struggle for the Middle East. (London: Tauris, 1988): 117

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20. Shlaim, Avi. The Iron Wall: 236 21. Yost, Charles. “The Arab-Israeli

War: how it began.” Foreign Affairs 46 (1968): 305 22. King Hussein of Jordan had been meeting in secret with the Prime Minister’s deputy Abba Eban and Israeli Foreign Minister Golda Meir for some time prior to the attack, which not only undermined his rule and ability to maintain security in Jordan, but also occurred the day before the King’s Birthday. 23. Seale, Patrick. Asad of Syria:121 24. Riyadh, Mahmud. The struggle for peace in the Middle East. (London: Quartet, 1981): 17 25. Popp, Roland. “Stumbling decidedly into the Six-Day War”: 283 26. Ibid: 294 27. Hussein, Khalid Muhammad. Contemporary Syria: 1963 – 1996: 72 (translated from Arabic to English by student) 28. Brown, Carl L. “Nasser and the June 1967 War”: 121 29. In 1956, the United States had managed to convince Britain, France, and eventually Israel to withdraw from their campaign to regain the Suez Canal and topple Nasser. This conflict resulted in Nasser being exalted throughout the Arab world for enduring the offensive, Israel gaining access to the Straits of Tiran, and UNEF forces were sent to patrol the Egyptian-Israeli border to prevent the reoccurrence of conflict.

30. Brown, Carl L. “Nasser and the June 1967 War”: 130

31. Cohen, Raymond. “Intercultural

communication between Israel and Egypt”: 6 32. Shlaim, Avi. The Iron Wall: 232 33. Shlaim, Avi. The Iron Wall: 237 34. Cohen, Raymond. “Intercultural communication between Israel and Egypt”: 7 35. Seale, Patrick. Asad of Syria: 122 36. Cohen, Raymond. “Intercultural communication between Israel and Egypt”: 8 37. Ibid 38. The ultimatum, following Nasser’s request for the withdrawal of some UNEF forces, was for either complete withdrawal or no withdrawal. Nasser had no choice but to go for complete withdrawal, as he would lose face in the Arab world if he were to back down. 39. Yost, Charles. “The Arab-Israeli War”: 216 40. Seale, Patrick. Asad of Syria: 130 41. Brown, Carl L. “Nasser and the June 1967 War”: 127 42. Popp, Roland. “Stumbling decidedly into the Six-Day War”: 294 43. Riyadh, Mahmud. The struggle for peace in the Middle East: 22 44. Shlaim, Avi. The Iron Wall: 237 45. Popp, Roland. “Stumbling decidedly into the Six-Day War”:283 46. http://nizarqabbani.net/poem/ index-091.html, verse 5 (translated from Arabic to English by student)

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food for thought

an Evolving Map: Two Potential Paths for Israeli-Palestinian Relations William Brown Claremont McKenna College   The revolutions and protest movements of the Arab Spring have fundamentally reshaped Israel’s conception of its own security. With the departure of Hosni Mubarak, Israel lost a longtime ally, one who was willing to subordinate the advancement of the Palestinian cause in order to placate Israel’s security concerns. Syria’s current turmoil also disturbs Israeli leaders because, though Israel and Syria do not share diplomatic relations, President Bashar al Assad has long exhibited antipathy towards Hamas and shows only nominal concern for the plight of the Palestinians. Al Assad’s’s hands-off stance regarding the Palestinians has minimized Israeli security concerns about its northern border.   More important than Israeli’s general security concerns about its neighbors’ mounting instability, however, are Israel’s specific concerns over three distinct events within recent weeks: Mahmoud Abbas’ announcement that Palestine will seek United Nations recognition as an independent nation-state in September, the recent political reconciliation of Hamas and Fatah , and Egypt’s diplomatic recognition of

Hamas and its decision to re-open the Gaza border at Rafah. Israel’s fears regarding a reopened border between Gaza and Egypt stem from its belief that such a move would make it easier for Hamas, as well as other militant Islamic groups operating in Gaza, to rearm, adding to Even the United States, using its political clout as a world superpower (as well as hefty financial incentives), has been unable to stop Israel’s settlement expansion. the cycle of retributive violence. In light of recent events, there two paths—one highly probably and one almost impossible—that IsraeliPalestinian relations could take in the future.   The first path is the traditional— by which I mean keeping with historical trends—and probable one. The United States has publicly asserted that it will use its Security Council veto to reject any Palestinian bid for UN recognition as an independent state, which will serve to force bilateral negotiations as the only legitimate means for reconciliation. Nevertheless, the global com-

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food for thought munity has shown immense support for the Palestinians, and their bid for statehood will further stigmatize Israel within the international arena. In turn, this will lead Israel to increase its use of isolationist rhetoric, accusing the rest of the world of anti-Semitism and Israel bashing; this is exactly what happened the last time Israel faced criticism by the UN after the release of the Goldstone Report. Such rhetoric is used to justify tabling any potential peace negotiations with the Palestinians.   The second path would be for Israel, and Egypt to use recent events to their advantage in an attempt to stimulate the peace process. Theories of conflict resolution often emphasize the importance of shows of good faith as catalysts for establishing an atmosphere of trust, in which conflicting parties can negotiate a solution. With this in mind, Egypt’s open border and the Hamas-Fatah coalition could lead to a fundamental reshaping of Israeli-Palestinian relations, with Egypt functioning as an interlocutor. In the past, Israel’s persistent settlement expansion has effectively curbed progress in making peace. Even the United States, using its political clout as a world superpower (as well as hefty financial incentives), has been unable to stop

Israel’s settlement expansion. Egypt, however, is in a unique position to negotiate with Israel on settlements. Egypt can regulate access to Gaza, an act that would alleviate concerns within the Israeli security apparatus. Egypt could essentially trade Israel increased security measures—such as a sealed border, or even increasingly stringent security measures for entering and exiting Gaza—in return for an actual cease in settlement construction. This could eliminate settlement expansion, and thus remove what is often used as the Palestinian side’s fallback excuse for refusing to take part in peace negotiations. In many ways, the most important action the Israeli government could take would be accepting a unified Hamas-Fatah alignment as a potential partner in negotiations. This would reinvigorate Palestinian hope for the potential of a legitimate and just peace process, and afford Hamas the political capital necessary to remove from its constitution the clause calling for Israel’s destruction. If Israel and Egypt take these steps, many of the traditional excuses for not entering peace negotiations would be discredited, and maybe, just maybe, a peace process would emerge.

Have a response to this issue’s Food for Thought?

Email it to Jgood13@cmc.edu

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olive roots

volume I | issue II | spring 2011

Olive Roots Spring 2011  

This is the second issue of Olive Roots, an international undergraduate research journal on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The journal is...