I have long suspected that Neve Gordon lives in some sort of parallel universe where as if by magic, he manages to turn good into bad, wrong into right, true into false. After reading his CiF article of December 23rd, I’m even more dismayed by the man’s attempts to distort reality into something which serves his purpose.
This is the same Neve Gordon who recently called for boycotts against Israel as well as hosting a convicted Fatah organiser in his own home. Famous for holing himself up with Yasser Arafat in the Mukkata in Ramallah during the Second Intifada whilst the rest of his countrymen were under attack from suicide bombers, Gordon now tries to persuade us that there exists a Palestinian pro-peace movement which Israel is deliberately sabotaging.
“The objective is to put an end to the pro-peace popular resistance in the villages and to crush, once and for all, the Palestinian peace movement.”
Just in case you are now wondering how you managed to overlook this peace movement, Gordon even provides examples: “But over the past five years, Palestinians from scores of villages and towns such as Bil’in and Jayyous have developed new forms of pro-peace resistance that have attracted the attention of the international community.”
In Bil’in this ‘peaceful resistance’ has managed to injure some 170 IDF and police personnel. The weekly demonstrations are orchestrated together with the ISM – a Palestinian founded and led organisation with the following mission statement: “As enshrined in international law and UN resolutions, we recognize the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle”.
In Jayyous, ‘peaceful’ demonstration has resulted in serious damage to the anti-terrorist fence which has significantly reduced the number of Israeli dead by terror attacks. Two years ago the residents of Jayyous celebrated the 40th anniversary of the founding of the PFLP: hardly the most ‘peaceful’ of organisations.
Gordon’s delusion even extends to the dark days of the Second Intifada. “It is often forgotten that even the second intifada, which turned out to be extremely violent, began as a popular nonviolent uprising”. The actual date of the start of the Second Intifada is, of course, unsure. Some say it began on September 28th 2000 when Ariel Sharon visited Temple Mount, although the fact that there had been unrest some two weeks previous to that when Fatah organised demonstrations all over the country in favour of the Right of Return to ‘Haifa, Birsaba (Be’er Sheva) and Beisan’ cannot be ignored. A year later, Marwan Barghouti explained the part he and Fatah played in inciting the violence of the first days of the Second Intifada.
“I knew that the end of the month of September  would be the last opportunity before the explosion, but when Sharon arrived at the Al Aqsa Mosque it was the strongest (most suitable) moment for the breakout of the Intifada. This is because the subject concerns Jerusalem, and even more it regards Al Aqsa. The meaning of this – setting fire to the entire region and specifically [due to the fact] that the issue of Al Aqsa inflames and ignites the sensibilities of the masses.
I saw within the situation a historic opportunity to ignite the conflict. The strongest conflict is the one that initiated from Jerusalem due to the sensitivity of the city, its uniqueness and its special place in the hearts of the masses who are willing to sacrifice themselves [for her] with not even thinking of the cost.”
Rosh HaShana (New Year) 5761 (2000) fell just one day after Sharon’s visit to Jerusalem and the holiday lasted until October 1st. We had spent it, as usual, at my in-laws’ house near Rehovot. On the Sunday we were due to leave mid-morning and travel back home to the Golan via the West Bank, stopping off to see friends who had recently moved from Jerusalem to the village of Rimonim.
My in-laws are very religious people, so throughout the holiday we had heard no news on the radio or T.V. As we got into our car and prepared to depart we switched on the radio and were shocked to find that the whole country was ablaze.
The radio reports were confused; multiple incidents in many places, so we called our friends in Rimonim to ask if the route was open. “Don’t come” we were told; “It’s too dangerous”. We began to plan our route northwards with the aid of a map and the constant updates from the radio. Each time an incident was reported I checked to see if it meant changing our route. We quickly realised that our usual way home through Wadi ‘Ara would be impossible as there were reports of severe riots there, but we headed north, prepared to adapt the route as necessary.
As we reached the area of Netanya we got a call from another member of our kibbutz; a single mother also visiting family for the holidays with her two children. She was too terrified to make the journey alone and asked us to wait for her at a gas station so that we could travel in convoy. As we edged northwards on Highway 4 we could see burning tyres along the road at several points, the black smoke making visibility severely problematic. I decided that initially we would try to get to Haifa, and from there we would see how we could cross the Galillee which, according to the radio reports, was a hive of unrest.
We made tense, but reasonable progress until we reached the region of Furaidis. Reports were already coming in that a man had been killed when a stone hit his car. As we approached the intersection, stones and rocks flew, smashing onto the road around us. We could hear gunshots coming from the right. Trying to keep my voice steady so as not to add to the fright of our three children huddled in the back seat, I spoke to our friend following us on the speaker-phone: “Just make sure you keep close. Don’t let anything separate you from us. Just put your foot down”.
Breaking every traffic regulation in the book, we sped through that interchange until we got past Fureidis and didn’t stop until we reached Lev HaMifratz in Haifa. There we took a short break, eager to stretch our muscles which were aching from the tension, but hardly believing that we’d got away with merely a few dents in the cars. But evening was drawing in and we still had the whole width of the country to cross before reaching the safety of the Golan. Wadi ‘Ara was impassable and incidents were being reported on the Carmiel road, so we headed for the direction of Kiryat Tivon and from there I devised a route through various back roads and tracks, avoiding the numerous Arab villages on the way. We circumvented Nazareth by way of fields belonging to the kibbutzim in the area and with darkness now upon us, finally reached Kfar Tavor. From there it was plain sailing up to home and a much-needed cup of strong coffee. We then began trying to contact our eldest son who was stationed at the time in Gaza.
This is my experience of Neve Gordon’s ‘popular non-violent uprising’. Other Israelis experienced much worse on that day and in the weeks to come, and yet the Guardian allows and encourages Gordon to peddle his revisionist version of events to its willing audience of Israel-haters. It may be too difficult to get Gordon’s Jinn of lies and distortions back in the bottle as far as some of the CiF commentators are concerned, but despite that, the Guardian must be held responsible for the torrent of untruths it fosters.