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Sat

14

Nov

2009

How Israel Won the Settlement Battle Again
Saturday, 14 November 2009 09:38
by Ramzy Baroud

When British Foreign Secretary David Miliband uttered a few words regarding the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, many wanted to believe that London was taking a sharp stance against Israel’s continued violations of international law. Alas, they were wrong.

The fact is Miliband’s statement, made during a press conference that followed talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, in Amman, was merely tactical, aimed at lessening the negative impact of the feeble position adopted by Washington regarding the same issue.

This is what Miliband had to say: "Settlements are illegal in our view and an obstacle to peace settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements challenge the heart of... a Palestinian state."

But then, he added: "It's so important for all those who care about security and social justice in this region that discussions about borders and territory are restarted in a serious way, because if you can progress on border and territory, you can resolve the settlements issue."


This is classic Miliband. While his clear and decisive statement regarding the illegality of the settlements and the fact that their construction is an obstacle is to be welcomed, one cannot decipher a politician’s statement in increments; to be truly appreciated, they must be understood as a whole.

The danger lies in Miliband’s follow up statement, where he purposely changed the order of the proposed solution to the Middle East crisis to be "discussions about borders and territory are restarted in a serious way", which means unconditional negotiations, because "progress" at that front would "resolve the settlements issue."

But isn't this the exact type of dialogue that Israel wishes to take part in: peace talks with no conditions, no deadline and no specific end, while it persists in building its illegal settlements in flagrant violation of international law, unabated? More, isn’t this what Palestinians, all Palestinians, have vehemently rejected?

The Palestinian leadership understands that unconditional negotiations will yield Palestinians, the weak party in any negotiations, nothing but further humiliation, while the strong party will determine a solution, any solution, it finds suitable to its interests.

Considering that Israel is under no serious pressure, but occasional lip service to the peace process, from Washington, and London, the rightwing government of Benjamin Netanyahu has no reason to stop, or even slow down its illegal settlements project and the subsequent ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Miliband is a clever politician. Although his words reek with contradictions, they are stacked in such away to give the impression that a substantive policy change is in fact in the making.

Miliband’s supposedly strong statement on the settlements came at a time that the Obama Administration’s policy, a meager attempt at presenting itself as the antithesis to the hated George Bush legacy, is falling apart.

In May, following President Obama’s first meeting with Netanyahu, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton wanted to leave no doubt regarding the US new policy on settlements. The US "wants to see a stop to settlements – not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions."

This sounds great, even better than Miliband’s recent statement. But since then, the Obama Administration has obviously discovered the limits of the "audacity of hope": a strong, unified pro-Israel lobby, decisively rightwing Israeli government, a unified US Congress backing Israel’s every move, a wishy-washy international community, fragmented Muslim and Arab countries, and all the rest.

Therefore, it was no surprise to see Mrs. Clinton, during her recent Middle East trip backtracking on every promise that her government had made. She "claimed (on November 1) that halting settlement building had never been a pre-condition to resuming talks," reported The Times.

Worse, not only did she fail to convince Netanyahu of the US position, which was more or less consistent with international law, she commended him for failing to meet what was once considered a strong US demand.

The switch happened during her recent tour’s one-day visit to Jerusalem. "What the Prime Minister (of Israel) has offered in specifics of restraint on the policy of settlements ... is unprecedented," she said of Netanyahu’s dismal promise to slow down settlement activities in the West Bank.

There are over 500,000 Jewish settlers in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, living in many settlements that are all considered illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention and numerous UN resolutions.

To add insult to injury, Mrs. Clinton, continued, at every stop, to demand Arabs and Muslim to reach out to Israel. What has the latter done to deserve any Arab or Muslim normalization, open markets and establishment of diplomatic ties? Why should Israel be rewarded for its massacres in Gaza, entrenching of its military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the consistent attacks on al-Aqsa Mosque and more?

Concurrently, the Palestinian Authority is, perhaps, realizing its error of trusting that the Obama Administration’s resolve would prevail over Israel’s obstinacy.

Top PA official Nablil Abu Rudeinah said that the "negotiations are in a state of paralysis," blaming both "Israeli intransigence and America’s back-pedaling."

“There is no hope of negotiations on the horizon," Abu Rudienah added.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat’s words, during a press conference in Ramallah, in the West Bank, on November 4, were gloomier, however. It maybe time for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to “tell his people the truth that with the continuation of settlement activities, the two-state solution is no longer an option,” he said.

He said what many don’t want to hear, including Miliband himself, who insists on breathing life into an outdated ‘solution’, while doing nothing to turn it into reality.

“It's important we don't lose sight of the importance of a two-state solution for all peoples of the region. I think the alternatives are dark and unwelcome for all sides,” Miliband said.

He failed, however, to enlighten us on how his ‘bright and welcomed’ solution is to be realized, as Israel continues to seize Jerusalem and the West Bank, inch by inch and house by house, in front of international media and with the knowledge and subtle agreement of ‘back-pedaling’ politicians, Mrs. Clinton and himself included.

-Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers, journals, and anthologies around the world. His latest book is, "The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle" (Pluto Press, London), and his forthcoming book is, "My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story" (Pluto Press, London).
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Darren White said:

0
Ramzi Baroud is a Palestinian apologist
Mr. Baroud will always find fault in Israel's actions and will always justify the Palestinians'. Yet his hypocricy is evident when he does not mention in any of his writings the Palestinian defecencies. Did Mr. Baroud condemn Hamas "Freedom Fighters" violent takover of Gaza including the murders of Fatah's men? Did Baroud ever discuss 8 years of Palestinians shooting rockets at Israeli villages across the Gaza border, actions that led to Israel's Cast lead Operation? or the Antisenmitic propaganda eminating from the Palestinian self-government in the West Bank who can only rival Nazi WW-2 propaganda? Or did Mr. Baroud ever deal with the crippling corruption of the Palestinian leadership from Arafat to Abbas despite Billions in aid from donor countries? As long as the Israelis are always the "bad" guys, Palestinians will not have to deal with what besets their society.
 
November 15, 2009
Votes: +0

Project Humanbeingsfirst.org said:

0
Zionist troll on the loose 'Darren White' said: "Ramzi Baroud is a Palestinian apologist"
What about 'self-hating' Jews? Whom are they apologists for? Read your own books if you aren't a troll but only genuinely mis-perceive. And if you are a troll, an agent, asset, or sayanim, this comment is for those who might get deceived by lies which have deceived generation of Jews like yourself turning them into murderous zombies devoid of any humanity who even cheer their going from genesis to genocide: print-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2009/01/from-genesis-to-genocide-in-palestine.html

Whoever did this to the Jews of Israel, and to the Jews of Diasopora who support that malconstruction in the midst of humanity, they are your enemies of a higher order, than the litany of charges against the Palestinians. If I were a Jewish person genuinely patriotic about Israel, I would seek out the criminals who turned me into a monster before I would go after those throwing stones at monsters.


[R1] From Delusion to Vindictiveness by Gilad Atzmon, October 8, 2009
gilad.co.uk/writings/from-delusion-to-vindictiveness-by-gilad-atzmon.html

Excerpt:

Interpreting the Zionist Dream

“The socio-economic structure of the Jewish people differs radically from that of other nations. Ours is an anomalous, abnormal structure.” (Ber Borochov – The Economic Development of the Jewish People 1917)

“You [Jews] lack the right notion of honour, feeling for duty, morality, patriotism, idealism….” (Max Nordau – Address at the 1st Zionist Congress 1897)

“But labour is the only force which binds man to the soil… it is the basic energy for the creation of national culture. This is what we do not have, but we are not aware of missing it. We are a people without a country, without a national living language, without a national culture. We seem to think that if we have no labour it does not matter - let Ivan, John or Mustafa do the work…” (A.D. Gordon, "Our Tasks Ahead" 1920)

Early Zionism was indeed a cheerful dream, it was all about the transformation of the ‘Jew’ into a ‘civilised, respectful and authentic human being’. The founders of Zionism were inspired by the notions of ‘people like any other people’ and ‘nation amongst nations’. Reading early Zionists such as Nordau, Borochov and Gordon provides us with some very contemptuous references to Jewish character and identity that would make Nazi ideology look mildly liberal.

However, one is advised to take a short break for a second and to contemplate critically over the above Zionist dream. One may wonder what kind of people dream of ‘becoming human beings’. Can anyone imagine a French, English or Chinese man or woman who dreams of becoming an ordinary ‘human’? We can easily think of oppressed human beings who demand to be treated as humans (Palestinians, Civil Rights movements, anti Apartheid and so on). Yet, the Zionist dream is rather different. It is not just about the desire for recognition or equality, it is not just about being treated appropriately, it is also a dream of ‘self-transformation’. In fact, it is all about a miraculous metamorphosis from a morbid ‘abnormal’ state of being into an acceptable decent human form.

Within the context of a fictional fable we can easily imagine a cow that fantasises to become a dairy farmer, a pig who ‘dies to’ become a Kosher schnitzel, a snake who aspires to take over the Labour party and then to launch a new Zionist illegal war. And yet, it is pretty unusual to think of people who have managed to develop an aspiration to become ‘ordinary humans’.

An intelligible way to explain or interpret that very unusual dream is probably to assume that those who succumb to the Zionist dream are those who happen to believe that, as far as their natural state of being is concerned, they are indeed remotely human. One would rightly assume that those who dream to become humans must be convinced that humanity is somehow not exactly a characteristic that they happen to possess.

Yesterday during a talk at Librairie Résistances, Paris (a fund raising event for Gaza) I was asked for my interpretation of Israeli ‘evolving barbarism’, how is it possible that 84% of the Israelis supported the IDF genocidal crime in Gaza last December. “In order to understand how these Israeli murderous practices emerged” I said, “all we have to do is to trace back and reread the early Zionist ideologists.” We can easily learn from Zionist thinkers about their ‘dream’ and their vision of their fellow brothers. They, the founders of modern Jewish nationalism happened to admit somehow that something was totally corrupted within the Jewish identity, culture and character. However, they genuinely believed that it was amendable.

Zionism was there to bring about a new Jew, a civilised productive human being. It was indeed a very wet and epic dream. As an Israeli youngster I myself succumbed to this dream. I tended to believe that Israel was ‘my’ historic land, I regarded the Biblical protagonists as my direct ancestors. I was sure that, at least in the case of the so called ‘first Israelis’, the ideological transplant operation was a great success. We, the young Israeli natives tended to believe that we were all nothing less than a success story of ‘modified-civilised-humanist-secular-beings’.

Needless to say that the history of Palestine, the Palestinians and the Nakba was totally hidden from us. We didn’t see the Palestinians around us either, we were hardly aware of their suffering not to say their cause. We were in fact totally blind. We tended also to believe that our army was the ‘most humanist army around’. We grew up with the ‘1967 Victorious Diary’, a legendary chunky photo album every Israeli held in a prominent location on his book shelve. There in that glossy propaganda book an Israeli soldier was giving his water to an Egyptian prisoner. We regarded him as a symbol of our people’s endorsement of universal humanism. We were obviously not aware of the horrendous fact that the Sinai Desert was actually a slaughter field for hundreds of Egyptian POWs. Why didn’t we know? This in itself is a very good question. Our fathers who fought in this war must have known something but they kept quiet. Our parents who witnessed the 1948 convoys of Palestinians refugees should have known something about the Nakba but they somehow kept quiet. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t just our parents, we followed the exact same pattern. Once we ourselves matured into IDF soldiers, we did exactly the same, we turned a blind eye (1982 in Lebanon). And this has never changed. The Israeli moral awakening has never happened. By now I allow myself to argue that it won’t happen. The Zionist dream is just too comfortable. After more than one hundred years of moral phantasmic delusion the Israelis are deeply stuck in an ethical coma.

[R2] Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948 by Tanya Reinhart October 1, 2002
amazon.com/Israel-Palestine-How-End-1948/dp/1583225382

Excerpt:

“The state of Israel founded in 1948 following a war which the Israelis call the War of Independence, and the Palestinians call the Nakba - the catastrophe. A haunted, persecuted people sought to find a shelter and a state for itself, and did so at a horrible price to another people. During the war of 1948, more than half of the Palestinian population at the time - 1,380,000 people - were driven off their homeland by the Israeli army. Though Israel officially claimed that a majority of refugees fled and were not expelled, it still refused to allow them to return, as a UN resolution demanded shortly after 1948 war. Thus, the Israeli land was obtained through ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants. This is not a process unfamiliar in history. Israel's actions remain incomparable to the massive ethnic cleansing of Native Americans by the settlers and government of the United states. Had Israel stopped there, in 1948, I could probably live with it. As an Israeli, I grew up believing that this primal sin our state was founded on may be forgiven one day, because the founder's generation was driven by the faith that this was the only way to save the Jewish people from the danger of another holocaust.” -- Pg. 1


Source print-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2009/09/is-zionism-hegelian-dialectic.html


Thank you.
Zahir Ebrahim
Project Humanbeingsfirst.org
 
November 15, 2009 | url
Votes: +0

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