Implementing Relative Calm: Israeli Prime Minister Announces Unilateral Cease Fire

AS PUBLISHED: Arabic Internet Media Network

<> <>November 8, 2005
Implementing Relative Calm:
Israeli Prime Minister Announces Unilateral Cease Fire
By: Emma Rosenthal*

<><>Jerusalem:Israeli Prime Minister, Tzedek ben Shalom[i] announced today, in a landmark decision, that the Israeli government has agreed to talks with all major Palestinian organizations and has declared a unilateral cease fire, putting an end to checkpoints, differentiated license plates, housing discrimination, ghettos, house demolitions, land seizures, military incursions, summary executions, random shootings, targeted killings, road and school closures, city wide lockdowns[ii] and general hegemony in the region, in a move that would restore centuries of relative calm[iii] and peaceful co-existence between Jews, Muslims and Christians after nearly a century long breach of historical co-existence. <>

In a rare statement, Israeli Prime Minister Tzedek ben Shalom, declared: “Commencing immediately we will begin a program to beat our swords into plowshares and neither study nor teach war any more[iv].” On the issue of state violence, he stated: “For years we have admonished the Palestinians for violence while violently suppressing non-violent Palestinian protest. We shall begin to follow our own advice and admonition and implementing a policy of non-violence, for certainly if non-violence is the preferred method of conflict resolution for subjects of a regime, it can be no less appropriate for those in power. And if violence against the state raises moral questions, then violence on behalf of the state must also be condemned”

He went on to say that financial aid and military support from the global superpower would no longer be acceptable as such backing was not within the vital interests of the peoples in the region.[v]

“I am dissolving the current government and have declared open elections with full franchise to all adults over the age of 18, living within historic Palestine.” He added that voting accommodations would be made for, and full franchise granted to Palestinians residing outside of the indicated territory, that all barriers to return would be lifted and that special funds for repatriation would be available to Palestinians in the Diaspora, similar to funds that have been provided by the State to Diaspora Jews wishing to make aliyah,[vi]

“I have asked the government of Venezuela to send a delegation to oversee and certify the election and campaign process.” He said, citing recent Venezuela elections and popular uprisings in which the people of Venezuela defended their democracy from U.S. imperialist intervention.[vii] “We are impressed by the tenacity of the people of Venezuela in their resistance to both overt and covert pressures exerted on that government by the ‘Imperialist Entity.’ ”

U.S. officials were also reported to have offered to assistance with election monitoring but were declined. Israeli officials cited historic examples of U.S. intervention in elections worldwide, a history of domestic policies that denied full voting rights to women, African Americans and to immigrants lacking requisite documents, as well as recent events within the current boundaries of the United States, specifically in those territories presently referred to as Florida and Ohio, (more historically known as the Seminole and the Erie Nations) [viii] in which specific official arrangements had been made to prevent full franchise to African-Americans, non-Cuban-Latinos and American Jews[ix]. Ben Shalom went on to admonish mainstream American Jewish organizations for not being more vocal on this issue at the time, careful to reiterate that Jewish franchise was not more nor less important than that of any other group, but that, had American Jewish organizations been more focused on Diaspora issues and less interventionist, then perhaps a just peace may have been more forthcoming. That this was typical of role of mainstream American Jewish organizations in ignoring issues of human rights and marginalization of Diaspora Jews while focusing only on U.S. foreign policy vis-à-vis Israel.

He went on to promise full franchise to “foreign workers”[x] and that a public service announcement campaign would be initiated to foster an appreciation of diversity to help with this period of transition.

Citing his general concern he announced that he would be approaching members of the Iroquois Confederacy, the oldest living democracy,[xi] to help the newly elected, diverse and representative assembly, finally draft a constitution.[xii] He cited the Iroquois Constitution[xiii] as an inspiration to the nations of the world.

He quoted from the Iroquois Constitution: “anyone or any nation outside the Five Nations … if their minds are clean… shall be welcomed to take shelter beneath the Tree of the Long Leaves.” When asked by the press if this was also a reference to similar edicts in Biblical text, specifically, Leviticus 19:34 which stipulates that “the stranger that dwells with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself,” he stated that he wanted to be careful not to confuse his role as a secular leader by making overtly religious references. Several sources close to the Prime Minister indicated that that was the specific mitzva[xiv] to which he was referring.

The Cheif Rabbi, Solomon Hillel Ha Levi Ha Levi Cohen,[xv] in a press conference a few hours later, reversed the twentieth century interpretation of Biblical prophesy that supports Zionist ideology, citing conflicting examples of inclusion and exclusion within Mosaic law[xvi], and said that in seeking Biblical inspiration regarding treatment of the non-Jew, a religious Jew need look no further than Deuteronomy 16:20 “Justice, Justice you shall pursue, or you shall not be allowed to live on the land.” He also made references to repeated Biblical commandments on welcoming and caring for “the stranger.” When pressed on the issue of women, he further stated that restrictive laws concerning women, especially those regarding marriage, family and the limited right to divorce, were to be repealed, that he was initiating a search for the lost book of Miriam the Prophet[xvii] and that once it was found, promised to canonize it with the other Prophetic texts.

Palestinian leader, Ibrahim Abu Jihad[xviii] said that his discussion with ben Shalom, which reportedly took place in the visiting tent of the infamous Negev Prison,[xix] had been positive. He went on to say that he was looking forward to campaigning as soon as he might be released. He praised Israeli officials for this extreme change in stated policy but raised concerns that at least up until this point, the process had been unilateral and that the Israeli government had a history of unilateral actions and public declarations of disengagement that were followed by repressive actions to the contrary. “Nonetheless, I am hopeful,” he stated. He encouraged Israeli officials to take immediate steps to guarantee full Palestinian input and participation in all future policy changes and demanded the release of all political prisoners[xx].

Chava Bat Chesed[xxi], of Jewish Mothers for a Just Tomorrow, when asked for her statement on the matter said, “Hey, It could happen!”

*** *** *** ***

– Emma Rosenthal is a disabled Jewish American artist, writer, educator, activist and consultant, living in southern California.



[i] Tzedek ben Shalom: Hebrew: Justice son of Peace. Like all the names in this journalistic parody, this one is fictitious.

[ii] Lockdowns: referred to in most press as curfew, in some cities last days and weeks, preventing workers from getting to work, students from attending school and the sick from obtaining medical care.

[iii] Relative calm is the term used by the U.S. and Israeli governments as well as most mainstream media networks to refer to a period of time when Palestinians, and not Israelis, are killed.

[iv] Isaiah 2:4

[v] U. S. support always comes with strings attached, and U.S. intervention takes many forms, sometimes outright military intervention, other times, neo-liberal manipulation through the International Monetary Fund, The World Bank, the WTO, the AFL-CIO, “free trade” agreements and other international policies made to serve the interests of U.S. multinational corporations and global elites. This is what Arundhati Roy refers to as the check book or the cruise missile, in her book of the same title, and in her speech: “Tide or Ivory Snow? -Public Power in the Age of Empire:”

“On the global stage, beyond the jurisdiction of sovereign governments, international instruments of trade and finance oversee a complex system of multilateral laws and agreements that have entrenched a system of appropriation that puts colonialism to shame. This system allows the unrestricted entry and exit of massive amounts of speculative capital – hot money – into and out of third world countries, which then effectively dictates their economic policy. Using the threat of capital flight as a lever, international capital insinuates itself deeper and deeper into these economies. Giant transnational corporations are taking control of their essential infrastructure and natural resources, their minerals, their water, their electricity. The World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other financial institutions like the Asian Development Bank, virtually write economic policy and parliamentary legislation. With a deadly combination of arrogance and ruthlessness, they take their sledgehammers to fragile, interdependent, historically complex societies, and devastate them.”

[vi] Hebrew: to ascend. In Israel it refers to those Diaspora Jews who become citizens of Israel.

[vii] The U.S. is notorious around the world, and especially in Central and South America for disrupting popular and democratically elected governments, that advocate the needs and rights of the populace, often nationalizing natural resources at the expense of U.S. multinationals. Recent attempts by the U.S. to support repressive and reactionary forces in Venezuela have been unsuccessful. Democratically elected President, Hugo Chavez continues to put the will of the people over the will of the U.S. government and multinational corporations.

[viii] For First Nation maps, go to:

[ix] In press coverage of the 2000 election, it was reported that in “elderly communities,” several voters had inadvertently voted for Buchanan when confused by a “butterfly” ballot, which was not used in other neighboring voting districts. There were also reports of machine malfunction and poll workers unwilling to help voters. It was reported that these communities were less likely to vote for Bush, more likely to vote for Democratic presidential leadership. Now, lest one get confused and think that in Florida people get old and change political parties, it should be noted that these elderly communities are Jewish retirement communities consisting predominately of Jews from the New York area, aka “snowbirds” who, having worked their whole lives, move to Florida in their golden years. By law, when a voter asks for a replacement ballot because of a mistake or damage to a ballot, he or she is supposed to receive one. When a voter asks for assistance, he or she is supposed to receive it. These rights were denied these voters. While voting rights violations in these communities were not as brutal or as intimidating as those in other communities, these “votes for Buchanan” did swing the election. Mainstream Jewish organizations were, for the most part, silent on the issue of voting rights, even where Jewish franchise was denied.

[x]Israel has a growing foreign worker population, whose civil liberties are severely limited. There workers, are allowed to live in Israel to provide a cheap labor supply. Coming mostly from Asian nations, they contribute to the cultural and religious diversity of the country.

[xi] Iroqouis Confederacy: The first United States of America, consisting of the 5 Nations of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. A sixth nation, the Tuscaroras, migrated into Iroquois country in the early eighteenth century and was incorporated into the Confederacy.

[xii] Israel does not have a constitution.

[xiii] The Iroquois Constitution, otherwise known as The Great Law of Peace, The Great Binding Law, and in the indigenous language: Gayanashagowa, has been cited as inspiration to Benjamin Franklin and the founding fathers when drafting the U.S. Constitution. The Great Law of Peace reflects a popular democracy, without the controls on popular influence dictated by the representative democracy installed by the U.S. Constitution.

[xiv] Mitzva: Commandment or Biblical law. (It can also mean a good deed.)

[xv] Hebrew: Solomon (The King of ancient Israel who was known for his wisdom, but was also reputed to have brought the Goddess into the palace) Hillel (a reference to Rabbi Hillel (circa 200 BCE) often quoted as having said “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”) Ha Levi- the Levite; one of the original tribes. Cohen; the priest.

[xvi] Mosaic law refers to the laws set up in the Torah, (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, otherwise known as “The Books of Moses.” This elucidation of the conflicting inclusive and exclusive nature of the Hebrew Bible is attributed to Christian human rights activist and scholar, Tannory Ruth Ateek, in my home, Passover, 5764, first night.

[xvii] Exodus 15:20: “And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.”

[xviii] Ibrahim Abu Jihad: Arabic: Abraham father of Jihad. Abraham was the patriarch of both Islam and Judaism. Jihad is a highly maligned and misunderstood Arabic word that means struggle, both in reference to the internal process of self-growth and reflection and the external struggle for justice.

[xix] Israel’s Negev Prison, situated in the Negev Desert, consists of mostly tents, armed guards, limited medical attention, limited food, poor sanitation. Prisoners have reported the use of a variety of torture techniques. Many of Israel’s political prisoners are held in administrative detention through out Israel and the Occupied Territories, that is, without charges, without due process, without contact with an attorney and without family visitation.

[xx] Israel’s political prisoner population has been an issue raised by several human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Many political prisoners are held in administrative detention. Children are not given adequate medical attention and do not receive an education. Currently there are 7036 Palestinian political prisoners of which 370 are children and 103 are female. 700 are held under administrative detention and 700 have severe medical problems. There are also Israeli (Jewish) political prisoners, though not as many, including the refusniks, those young Israelis who refuse all or some aspect of military service, and Mordechai Vanunu, who has recently been rearrested after 18 years in Israeli prison for divulging Israel’s nuclear secrets.

[xxi] Chava Bat Chesed: Hebrew: Life, Daughter of Loving Kindness. Chava, according to popular Biblical interpretation, was the first woman, (although some would bestow this title to Lilith.) Chesed is one of the sephirot in the Kabalistic tree of life.

© 2005 Emma Rosenthal All Rights Reserved. Permission to reprint, distribute and copy in entirety.


About emmarosenthal

Emma Rosenthal is an artist, writer, educator, reiki practitioner, farmer and human rights activist, living in Southern California, whose work combines art, activism, education and grassroots mobilization. As a person with a disability she is confined, not by her disability but by the narrow and marginalizing attitudes and structures of the society at large. She is the founder and co-director of The WE Empowerment Center and Café Intifada, and she lives and works at Dragonflyhill Urban Farm. As an educator her emphasis has been in the areas of bilingual and multicultural education. Her experience as a grassroots organizer, political essayist and speaker has been life long and has included many progressive causes. Her work seeks to combine art, activism, education and grassroots mobilization. Her poetry and prose is impassioned, sensual, political, life affirming and powerful. In her writing she explores the use of art and literary expression to elicit an ethos more compelling than dogma and ideological discourse, providing new paradigms for community, communion, connection and human transformation. She has been a featured poet and speaker throughout Southern California at a variety of venues and programs including; The Arab-American Festival, Highways Performance Space, The Autry Museum, Barnes and Nobel, Poetic License, Borders/Pasadena, Beyond Baroque, Freedom Fries Follies (a fundraiser for The Center for the Study of Political Graphics), KPFK, Arts in Action, Chafey College, UC Irvine and Hyperpoets. Her work has appeared in several publications including Lilith Magazine, The Pasadena Star News, The San Gabriel Tribune, The San Gabriel Valley Quarterly, LoudMouth Magazine (CSLA), Coloring Book; An Eclectic Anthology of Multicultural Writers (Rattlecat Press 2003), Muse Apprentice Guild and the Anthology, Shifting Sands, Jewish-American Women Speak Out Against the Occupation, Spring 2010. Her work has shown in several galleries in the Southern California area, including the Galleries at Whittier College, and Pasadena City College, as well as Beans and Leaves Coffeehouse in Covina, CA.

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