Cutting through the bullshit.

Sunday 22 February 2009

What a dilemma!

Not many people remember his name, but everyone knows Muntadhar al-Zaidi’s shoe size. In one glorious moment on 14 December, the 29 year old al-Baghdadia TV journalist recruited the whole world’s media to display what no analysis or opinion poll, no insurgency or election had, that Iraqis don’t like living under the bootheel of US occupation. Since then, his action has become iconic, with shoe tossing now a staple of protest tactics.

So inspiring was his protest that within a week of the incident, the Baydan Shoe Company in Istanbul, allegedly the manufacturer of al-Zaidi’s shoes, had to hire 100 new workers to cope with 300,000 orders for their Model 271 Ducati, making it perhaps the only employer in Turkey not laying off staff.

Arrested on the spot and consigned to al-Maliki’s gulag, he was beaten into signing an apology to al-Maliki. While he languished in prison, orphans in Tikrit helped sculptor Laith al-Amiri construct a monument in his honour, unveiled on 29 January and removed the next day,

"We will not allow anyone to use the government facilities and buildings for political motives," said Abdullah Jabara, Salaheddin deputy governor.

Three months down the track, he is finally to stand trial, ‘charged with assaulting a foreign leader and faces a maximum sentence of 15 years’. Unfortunately, Bush was agile enough to evade al-Zaidi’s missiles, although I daresay he’d be facing even more serious charges if they had hit home. Initial hearings in December were held at the prison, where he has been held ever since. presumably to allow time for him to recover from his injuries before appearing in a public courtroom.

In his first public appearance since his arrest, Mr Zaidi was met in court by applause, ululating and chanting…He appeared fit and well, despite reports from friends and family that he was badly beaten shortly after his arrest.

The facts of the case are not in dispute, nor has al-Zaidi denied the charges against him. And in all fairness, it’s inconceivable that a capitalist state would neglect to criminalise assaulting a foreign head of state. But at the same time, the new democracy Mr Bush has so magnanimously bestowed upon the grateful Iraqi people must show its respect for freedom of expression. What a dilemma!

We can only hope that Iraq’s thoroughly independent judiciary will acknowledge what every Iraqi knows and release al-Zaidi immediately, honour him as a hero, with an abject apology and compensation, and let him return to recording the depredations of US occupation.

Saturday 21 February 2009

A respectable majority

After what I suppose must be ‘a decent interval’, Israeli President Shimon Peres has finally invited Binyamin Netanyahu to try and form a government. Although Bibi’s Likud, with 28 seats, has received the explicit endorsement of Yisrael Beiteinu (15 seats) and the rest of the extreme ultra right – Shas (11), United Torah Judaism (5), Habayit Hayehudi (‘The Jewish Home’; 3), and National Union (4), sufficient to form a government with a small majority in the 120 member Knesset, he has reached out in the spirit of reconciliation to ‘the centrist Kadima Party, led by Tzipi Livni, and the center-left Labor Party, led by Ehud Barak, to join him in a unity government’, as Isabel Kershner wrote in yesterday’s NY Times, ‘He said national unity was necessary in order for Israel to contend with the formidable challenges ahead’. Kadima leader Tzipi Livni is to meet with Netanyahu tomorrow, but many in the media doubt she will buy into his ‘national unity’ proposal.

The principal division between the ‘right’ and the ‘left’ is supposed to be over the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. As Jamie points out on his Heathlander blog, Likud, Kadima, and Yisra’el Beiteinu are of one mind on the issue of loyalty oaths: [Vice Premier Haim] Ramon told Ynet that 90% of Yisrael Beiteinu’s positions correlate with Kadima’s policy. “Even on the subject of loyalty and everything concerning national service – we agree,” he said.’ In a memo to Yisra’el Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman, Likud wrote, ‘We believe that all Israeli citizens, let alone the country’s selectmen, must profess their loyalty to the State of Israel’.

The point is that a Likud led coalition of ‘the right’ ‘would also set Israel on a possible collision course with the new administration in the United States, which has pledged an active and aggressive pursuit of peace’. I’m not convinced that President Obama really wants to see peace, much less justice, in Palestine. But I’m sure he’s committed to ‘the peace process’ and might even insist on the establishment of some kind of rump Palestinian state over the life of his regime. Interestingly, a coalition formed on the understanding that this will not happen could prove to be the acid test of the Walt and Mearsheimer dog wagging hypothesis. Or it might not. After all, it would be imprudent in the extreme to take a slimy character like Bibi’s word at face value. Indeed, my understanding is that Lieberman himself supports, at least as an interim measure, establishment of a Palestinian state, which would annex parts of ‘Israel proper’ with concentrations of Palestinian population in the envisaged land swap. That could mean that Netanyahu would have to relinquish his position whether he forms a coalition with Yisra’el Beiteinu or with Kadima – and even with the support of the four ultra parties, a Likud led government would have to include one or the other, except in the improbable scenario of a highly unstable Likud-Labour coalition with an even slimmer majority, which would also require some compromise on this issue in any case. On the other hand, I suspect Lieberman could content himself with annexing all of ‘Eretz Yisra’el’, provided only those swearing fealty to the ‘Jewish and democratic state’ would be entitled to the franchise.

Advocates of partition often make the point that, as Hussein Agha and Robert Malley wrote (on 17 December, before the Gaza slaughter) in the 15 January issue of the New York Review of Books, ‘Throughout the years, polls consistently showed respectable Israeli and Palestinian majorities in favor of a negotiated two-state settlement’.

In all probability, what they have in mind is responses to questions like

Q16. If the Palestinians committed to stop using violence against Israel and in fact stopped all violence for an extended period, would you favor or oppose Israel allowing the establishment of a Palestinian state outside the 1967 borders, except for some agreed-upon land swaps?

The November 2002 poll that asked that question found that 51% of the 508 Israeli Jews polled favoured allowing such a state. Not what ordinarily passes for a ‘respectable’ majority, even if such a view were respectable at all.

Needless to say, the question starts from the assumptions that the obstacle to Israel allowing a Palestinian state is Palestinian resistance and that it is up to Israel whether to allow it or not. The pollsters are asking respondents to accept these assumptions before they even consider their answer. It would not be terribly surprising if they were willing to do so. The question is more explicit than some in specifying ‘outside the 1967 borders’, even if that form of words is inherently ambiguous. It could mean all of the West Bank and Gaza, or it could just mean Nablus. But doubtless the intent was for the border to follow the Green Line more or less, squiggling to incorporate the big settlements, and I daresay that’s how respondents interpreted it.

Land swaps are part of every proposal for partition of Palestine, in recognition of the ‘facts on the ground’ that Israel has created over the last four decades with the intent of establishing a ‘matrix of control’ over the Palestinians living in the West Bank and ultimately annexing the whole area. As I’ve argued somewhere before, to countenance land swaps is to provide retrospective legitimation for the whole settlement project, sending the unambiguous message that under ‘international law’ if you hold out long enough, you can get away with anything. The point is that to answer the question in the affirmative, you need to accept that the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are entitled to an absolute maximum of 22% of Mandate Palestine, regardless of their needs. Furthermore, as it is silent on the status of Jerusalem and the refugees, those favouring a Palestinian state may want to keep all of greater Jerusalem, or relinquish it, or share it. They may want the refugees to ‘return’ to the new Palestinian state, or receive compensation from The International Community, or really get to exercise their right to return ‘to their homes’. In all likelihood, most of the Israeli Jewish ‘left’ who said they favoured partition would not accept the right of return as expressed in UN General Assembly resolution 194, and few would relinquish any part of Jerusalem.

So while it may be fair to say that 51% of respondents favour a ‘negotiated two-state settlement’, few if any support one that would be acceptable even to abu Mazen. I hasten to add that when they write of a ‘negotiated two-state settlement’, there is an assumption that someone is empowered to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians, presumably the PA, specifically, the unelected ‘moderate’ PA installed by Abbas and not the elected Hamas terrorists. In other words, the refugees would be represented by a ‘government’ that they had no role in choosing and has squat credibility even among those who did. As for the Israeli Arabs, who also have a stake in any outcome, the Israeli government would obviously represent their needs scrupulously.

In any case, if there was ever a ‘respectable majority’ of Israeli Jews who really supported a Palestinian state west of the Jordan, it seems to have vanished. A poll conducted by Maagar Mochot / Channel 2 on 2-3 February asked 1,894 Israeli adults

In light of the experience with disengagement, the Second Lebanon War and the war against Hamas in Gaza, do you support or oppose the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria?

Note that the question envisages a state that excludes Gaza. Nevertheless, only 32% said they supported such a state, with 51% opposed.

As for the Palestinians, only 42.5% of the 1,360 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip polled 18-20 September 2008 by An-Najah National University said they supported partition when asked

Do you support or reject the creation of two states on the historic land of Palestine (a Palestinian state and Israel)?

The proportion saying they rejected partition was 54.3%. Curiously, support for partition appears to be on the increase, with 39.5% supporting it and 57.6 rejecting it last May, presumably, but not explicitly, in answer to the same question.

A more recent poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between 3 and 5 December 2008 asked 1270 adults three related questions.

When asked,

29) There is a proposal that after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and the settlemnet of all issues in dispute, including the refugees and Jerusalem issues, there will be a mutual recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the state of the Palestinians people. Do you agree or disagree to this proposal?

52.5% agreed (7.4% ‘definitely’) and 45.8% disagreed (12.6% ‘definitely’). But in answer to a questions specifically about the Saudi plan,

38) According to the Saudi plan, Israel will retreat from all territories occupied in 1967 including Gaza the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and a Palestinian state will be established. The refugees problem will be resoved through negotiation in a just and agreed upon manner and in accordance with UN resolution 194 which allows return of refugees to Israel and compensation. In return, all Arab states will recognize Israel and its right to secure borders, will sign peace treaties with her and establish normal diplomatic relations. Do you agree or disagree to this plan?

65.9% agreed (9.2% ‘certainly’) and 30.4% disagreed (7.8% ‘certainly’).

Another question outlined six elements of ‘a permanent compromise settlement’, apparently modelled on the Geneva Accord, and then asked whether respondents agreed or disagreed with each element individually, and with all six as a package.

41) When Palestinians and Israelis return to final status negotiations the following items might be presented to negotiators as the elements of a permanent compromise settlement. Tell us what you think of each item then tell us what you think of all combined as one permanent status settlement

1. An Israeli withdrawal from all of the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of its settlements. But in the West Bank, Israel withdraws and evacuates settlements from most of it, with the exception of few settlement areas in less than 3% of the West Bank that would be exchanged with an equal amount of territory from Israel in accordance with the attached map {show map}.

2. An independent Palestinian state would be established in the areas from which Israel withdraws in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; the Palestinian state will have no army, but it will have a strong security force but an international multinational force would be deployed to insure the safety and security of the state. Both sides will be committed to end all forms of violence directed against each other.

3. East Jerusalem would become the capital of the Palestinian state with Arab neighborhoods coming under Palestinian sovereignty and Jewish neighborhoods coming under Israel sovereignty. The Old City (including al Haram al Sharif) would come under Palestinian sovereignty with the exception of the Jewish Quarter and the Wailing Wall that will come under Israeli sovereignty.

4. With regard to the refugee question, both sides agree that the solution will be based on UN resolutions 194 and 242 and on the Arab peace initiative. The refugees will be given five choices for permanent residency. These are: the Palestinian state and the Israeli areas transferred to the Palestinian state in the territorial exchange mentioned above; no restrictions would be imposed on refugee return to these two areas. Residency in the other three areas (in host countries, third countries, and Israel) would be subject to the decision of the states in those areas. The number of refugees returning to Israel will be based on the average number of refugees admitted to third countries like Australia, Canada, Europe, and others. All refugees will be entitled to compensation for their "refugeehood" and loss of properties.

5. When the permanent status agreement is fully implemented, it will mean the end of the conflict and no further claims will be made by either side. The parties will recognize Palestine and Israel as the homelands of their respective peoples

6. The Palestinian state will have sovereignty over its land, water, and airspace. But Israeli will be allowed to use the Palestinian airspace for training purposes, and will maintain two early warning stations in the West Bank for 15 years. The multinational force will remain in the Palestinian state for an indefinite period of time and its responsibility will be to insure the implementation of the agreement, and to monitor territorial borders and coast of the Palestinian state including its international border crossings.

Only 41% agreed with the full package, and 57.4% disagreed, 14.7% ‘strongly’. To be honest, I find it mysterious that 52.5% agreed with Q29, 65.9% with Q38, but only 41% with Q41. Just speculating, though, Q29 explicitly demands ‘recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people and Palestine as the state of the Palestinians people’, wording I would consider objectionable. I don’t know how familiar respondents would have been with the wording of The Arab Peace Initiative, but it is short on detail and may enjoy some undeserved credibility because it is the consensus of ‘the Arab world’. As for Q41, when presented with a detailed proposal for six central issues, it doesn’t look very enticing. Specifically, 58% rejected the plan for the refugees in point 4; 63.3% objected to the partition of Jerusalem in point 3; 68.5% didn’t like the ‘security’ arrangements in point 6, and 72.5% disagreed with the multinational force, etc. in point 2.

Ultimately, though, the Palestinians surveyed were not optimistic about the prospects for a Palestinian state. When asked

32) Now 40 years after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, what in your view are the chances for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state next to the state of Israel in the next five years? Are they high, medium, low, or none [sic] existent?

34.6% said they were nonexistent, 34.9% low, 23.9% ‘medium’, and just 4.8% high. If ‘an independent Palestinian state’ means something along the lines of Barak’s 2000 ‘generous offer’, or worse, I’d say there’s a pretty good chance we’ll see such bantustans by 2013, particularly if Livni agrees to join Bibi’s coalition. But meaningful independence? Fuggeddaboudit.

Thursday 12 February 2009

Principles at stake

UNRWA must have read my post last Sunday, because, according to Ron Kampeas, they resumed distributing aid in Gaza on Monday. Now, UNRWA’s former chief legal counsel, James Lindsay, has prepared a critique for WINEP (Washington Institute for Near East Policy) – a den of hasbarists founded by Martin Indyk and boasting on its advisor board, Edward Luttwak, Richard Perle, George P. Shultz, and R. James Woolsey, among others – calling UNRWA ‘part of the problem’. Apparently UNRWA ‘allows itself to be politicized by the Palestinians’. According to Kampeas, ‘He noted instances in which UNRWA did not immediately condemn Hamas rocket fire into Israel.’


In the U.S. Congress, Reps. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) are reviving their campaign to cut U.S. funds to UNRWA until it comes clean about what the lawmakers say are its irregularities and its coziness with terrorists. The United States provides between a fifth and a quarter of UNRWA's $440 million to $540 million annual budget.

It seems that there are allegations that UNRWA may have employed members of Hamas, even though they have adopted a ‘practice of periodically running staff names through Israel's intelligence services and summarily removing staffers with suspected terrorist ties’.

Rothman and Kirk have also approached the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to write to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton suggesting she cut funding ‘until a U.S. review of the agency is completed’ instead providing aid through ‘bilateral assistance mechanisms’.

The beauty of bilateral aid is that it’s a good way to dump your agricultural surplus. Aid agencies also approve projects that require the recipient to retain the services of a service provider in the donor country, typically at a net cost to the ‘beneficiary’. Approval of projects requires – I kid you not – pre-feasibility studies, feasibility assessments, semiannual evaluations, post project monitoring, etc., providing a goldmine for donor country ‘consultants’.

Kirk is scandalized because

"It's against U.S. law to have U.S. taxpayer dollars flow to a terrorist organization," he said. "During the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, it is unacceptable that an organization receiving U.S. financial aid should not be required to be accountable for every dollar it receives."

"There are basic principles at stake here," Kirk said. "The spending of U.S. taxpayer funds should be transparent and accountable, and bad activities should have consequences."

It goes without saying that basic principles don’t apply in the case of the no strings attached US$3 billion per annum in military aid to Israel, the Arms Export Control Act notwithstanding. Considering his profound concern for accountability, you may be astonished to learn that Mark Kirk was not among the five Illinois Republicans who voted against Bush’s $700 billion bank bailout.

A shift to the right?

With only a few thousands absentee ballots left to tally, it appears that Israel’s next prime minister is likely to be the Likud’s thuggish Binyamin Netanyahu, as expected. Recall that the reason this election was called in the first place was that Kadima leader Tzipi Livni was unable to cobble together a coalition following Ehud Olmert’s resignation in disgrace a few months ago.

At that time, when Kadima, Labour, Meretz, and Gil, the pensioners’ party held 60 seats between them, she still needed the religious Shas party to garner a majority in the Knesset, and Shas declined to join her coalition. Now, with the three parties of the so called ‘left’ scoring a total of 44 seats – Gil has not won any seats in the new Knesset – it will be impossible to form a majority government without including either Likud, Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, or Shas, even if she were to invite Hadash, or one of the Arab parties – Ta’al or Balad – which of course is unthinkable.

So I reckon the most probable outcome is that President Peres will ask Netanyahu to form the next government, although it is possible that as the leader of the party with the largest bloc in the Knesset, she will have the first go and either bite the bullet and form a coalition with a party of the ‘right’ or fail to form a coalition within the required six weeks again, in which case, I believe, the role will fall to Netanyahu, anyway.

One way or the other, a party of the ultra right will be in a position to veto any initiative by threatening to leave the coalition and bring down the government. Not that I think it’s going to make a great deal of difference. It was, after all, only late in 2005 that the unlamented Ariel Sharon split from Likud, the party he led at the time, to form Kadima, because his Likud colleagues refused to endorse his plan for unilateral ‘disengagement’ from Gaza. Kadima, like Likud, is inspired by ‘Revisionist’ Zionism. Livni is an admirer of Vladimir ‘Ze’ev’ Jabotinsky. When push comes to shove, there’s not much distance between Labour and Revisionist Zionism. They may appear to be more or less tolerant of Palestinians in the Jewish homeland, but in their heart of hearts, and often enough in their speech, they want them gone one way or another. Their difference, such as it is, is tactical.

There is one other difference. Publicly, Labour Zionists have always tried to pretend that they were settling terra nullius. I think that’s where all this ‘A land without people for a people without land’ and From time immemorial stuff comes from. Jabotinsky, at any rate, was perfectly explicit about needing to uproot the natives.

Netanyahu, left to his own devices, will not consider relinquishing any part of the West Bank or any Palestinian ‘state’ west of the Jordan. Livni, if not hamstrung by coalition partners – an unlikely scenario, would complete the wall, annex the main settlements, aquifers, and corridors, and leave the Palestinians on the West Bank in three or four little enclaves divided from each other, as well as from Gaza, and Jordan, by Israeli territory. Israel will control all borders and airspace. Basically, Barak’s famous ‘generous offer’. In short, they would find themselves in much the same situation as Gaza has been since the ‘disengagement’. True, for a couple of years there were no Israeli soldiers on the streets of Gaza, but I’m not sure encirclement and siege by a ‘hostile entity’ is much of an improvement, if any.

Furthermore, on 3 February, Livni told Globes,

I agree to concede part of the Land of Israel, but the moment I undertake this, it must be clear that Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, and a future Palestine is the full national solution for the Palestinians, wherever they are.

In other words, once she permits the Palestinians to print their own postage stamps, whether through negotiations with the quisling PA, or through unilateral ‘disengagement’, those postage stamp size ghettos will be ‘the national home’ of the Palestinians, thereby washing her hands not only of those living in the West Bank and Gaza, but the four or five million refugees. It’s not absolutely explicit, but she expressed similar sentiments a few months ago, and as I read it, that would mean the Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, too. In this, her position is indistinguishable from Lieberman’s, who campaigned on a platform of requiring Israeli Arabs to take an oath of allegiance to the Jewish state or relinquish their citizenship. As far as I know, every country requires such oaths of immigrants seeking citizenship, and none demands it of the native born, as it would render them stateless. If any other country did so, it would meet with howls of indignation, not least from those who applaud Lieberman’s initiative.

Ultimately, I don’t think it means very much to say this election evidences a shift to the right. I’ve often criticised opinion polls that ask respondents, mainly in the US, to place themselves somewhere on a continuum between ‘Liberal’ and ‘Conservative’ on the grounds that that only comprises a sliver of the political spectrum. The distance from left to right in Zionist politics is narrower still. Even Meretz was delighted to see Gaza bombed to smithereens. From my perspective, it makes no sense to call a party favouring ethnocracy, as all Zionist parties must, by definition, ‘left’. Left and right are of course relative terms, but I don’t think you can distinguish them by subtle differences over the timing or mechanism of ‘transfer’.

Sunday 8 February 2009

Join the fun

‘With international aid organizations describing the Gaza situation as a humanitarian crisis following the recent war,’ writes Jenna Hanson in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Associated Press writer Josef Federman reports that

The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees suspended aid to the Gaza Strip on Friday, accusing the territory's Hamas rulers of stealing a delivery of humanitarian supplies for the second time this week…"Hamas has got to hand back all the aid that they have taken and they have to give credible assurances that this will not happen again. Until this happens, our imports into Gaza will be suspended," said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness.

So, with hundreds of thousands of grieving, homeless, destitute people facing starvation, UNRWA, the agency responsible for their welfare, has determined that they can just go ahead and starve due to a demarcation dispute over who gets to distribute the flour and rice. Much as I deplore The International Community picking up the tab for Israel’s rampage, I want to see ample relief flow to the suffering Gazans as a matter of urgency. The UN’s latest exercise in cynicism, coupled with The International Community’s refusal to end Israel’s siege, and agreement that a ‘durable ceasefire’ must preclude Hamas from ‘rearming’ at all costs, illustrates just what value they place on the lives of Palestinians.

Israel is grappling with how to allow in necessary aid while keeping material that could be used against Israel out of the hands of Hamas,’ Hanson explains.

Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the office of Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, distinguishes ‘immediate needs, such as medical supplies, food, fixing the windows -- all the things that are needed right now’ from ‘more long-term needs, such as rebuilding buildings and fixing hospitals and schools’.

According to Ran Yaron, director of the Occupied Territories Department at Physicians for Human Rights in Israel, ‘The windows of many homes and hospitals were broken during the war, and Israel is currently not allowing glass into Gaza.’

Gisha: The Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, spokesman Itamar Shachar said Israel is obstructing spare parts for water, sewage and power systems to enter the strip and has only permitted the passage of 64 percent of the fuel necessary to run Gaza's power system.

‘We will not allow hoses to pass in freely because hoses are put into rockets. We will not allow an unchecked amount of cement and concrete to enter because they will be used to build bunkers and underground tunnels for use against our soldiers,’ Lerner added. ‘My first job is to protect the citizens of Israel.’

To her credit, Hanson resists the obligation to write, as Federman does, ‘Israel unilaterally halted its devastating Gaza operation, meant to halt years of Hamas rocket attacks, on Jan. 18’. Nor is it just the dispassionate media who insist on painting Israel’s slaughter as self defence. In an advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald entitled ‘The slaughter in Gaza’, 34 Australian luminaries, ‘condemn Israel’s disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force in response to Hamas’ rocket attacks’!

Meanwhile, the 700 courageous girls and boys who are patrolling the border to keep Israelis safe from window- and hose-wielding Palestinians are hungry, too.

Just in case you’ve been wondering why Israel expects its adversaries to stash their weapons in mosques, Noa Kocharek and Yuval Goren reported in Ha’aretz

Two Israeli curators on Thursday stumled [sic] upon an arms cache dating back to the British Mandate at a Synagogue in Hod Hasharon.

The weapons, which included grenades and bullet casings, were apparently stored in the building by the Hagannah Jewish militia.

Klein said that during the British Mandate, the synagogue used to serve as a shelter from Arab rioters, and therefore has long and narrow windows, and slits for firing. These slits apparently made the synagogue an ideal location for stashing the weapons.

But then, of course, the Hagannah were freedom fighters, not terrorists, like Hamas.