Video: Can Israeli violence crush Palestinian resistance?

On Tuesday I appeared on Inside Story on Al Jazeera English to discuss the escalating violence in Palestine, especially in Jerusalem.

Hosted by Laura Kyle, the other guests were Ian Black, Middle East Editor for The Guardian, and Gregg Roman, a former official with Israel’s defense ministry and director of Middle East Forum.

Middle East Forum is an advocacy group founded by the notorious Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian demagogue Daniel Pipes.

Roman strongly defended Israel’s funding of the Temple Institute, a group that calls for the replacement of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque with a Jewish temple.

It is headed by Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, who has praised the killers of the Dawabsha family, burned alive in their home in July, and has sanctioned the murder of the US president.

Roman also called for a massive Israeli military assault in the occupied West Bank along the lines of “Operation Defensive Shield,” the 2002 incursion that killed 500 Palestinians.

Black said we may be at the beginning of another major escalation of violence and Israel’s “security” approach cannot bring a resolution. The only way forward, Black said, is to go back to “fundamentals” and “find some way to negotiate about the future.”

Watch the robust debate in the video above.

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Ali, you did an excellent job on this program. You were very clear and sensible in your communication. Well done. Keep up the good work!

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How typical is that hasabaraist Gregg Roman aye. The same old tactic. In answer to a question, he launches into an avalanche of hasabara propaganda with the intention of using up the airtime to limit real debate. He reminds me of someone utterly brainwashed by a cult.

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If the whole encounter were to be summarised: Ali Abunimah and Ian Black are shouting to Greg Roman, "It is the brutal military OCCUPATION, you stupid man!"; while he has his fingers stuck into his ears spouting the hasbara mantra.

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Thought experiment here: Can Israel kill almost every Palestinian Arab in Gaza and the West Bank? I think that's a reasonable assessment. Israel has Bio, Chem, and Nuclear weapons. It could in theory deploy these for mass casualty attacks on soft targets and devastate the population. This would no doubt end resistance. So we can say yes it is possible for sure.
The question is actually how much damage would Israel actually have to do to crush a revolt. The answer is clear: 4000-5000 Palestinian Arab killed with huge destruction of property has worked in the past. Hopefully if Israel can convince the Palestinian Arabs that it is willing to go this far before an escalation, it will crush a revolt in the womb.

If I were an IDF strategist, that's how I would think privately anyway.

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This program offers a textbook example of how not to organise and conduct a rational discussion. The inclusion of Greg Roman may have looked like a sure-fire way to generate heat (and ratings) but it also guaranteed that little of value could be articulated. A discourse interrupted constantly by the need to refute bare-faced lies- and thanks for trying to correct the record and restore perspective, Ali- cannot proceed to any sort of productive conclusion. Roman's tactics are predictably destructive. His statements represent the rhetorical equivalent of spraying the studio with skunk water. Al Jazeera should rethink its policy, which seems to revolve around staging an encounter based on sheer antagonism. The presence of Ian Black is almost a cliche in itself- an "objective" mainstream journalist positioned in the middle between the main opponents, included as an afterthought and unable for the most part to be heard. The fact that he largely agreed with Ali Abunimah did little to dispel the effect of Roman's hasbara, which was to limit the discussion to an exercise in dispelling his lies.

The situation in Jerusalem is reaching a very critical and dangerous phase for Palestinians, and the program's producers did a disservice to the cause of constructive reporting by inviting a toxic figure like Roman to participate in this segment.

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Absolutely whole heartedly agree. Was angrily trying to find words to express all this and then read your comment, which says it all much better than I could have.

Al Jazeera, take note. Please.

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Congrats for keeping your calm in front of constant lies and denial of the facts.

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This is one of the subtitles of the programme. Is it really 'critics' that regard home demolitions as collective punishment? Or perhaps, anyone who actually has any respect whatsoever for international law?

'Critics' of what, one might ask?

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.