Kerry to the Palestinians, sign peace deal “or else”

‘Kerry threatens to cut PA aid if no peace deal signed’

Senior Palestinian official says US secretary of state has implied Washington won’t abide failure of talks with Israel

US Secretary of State John Kerry has threatened to discontinue all American aid to the Palestinian Authority if the current round of negotiations does not result in a peace agreement, a senior Palestinian official claimed Thursday.
Taysir Khaled, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that the US had implied it would stop giving financial aid to the Palestinian Authority and would not be able to prevent Israeli expansion of West Bank settlements, if a framework for a long-lasting accord was not agreed upon, Maariv reported.
According to the Israeli daily, Khaled accused Kerry of committing political blackmail by pressuring Palestinians to make concessions.
“So far, the negotiations did not lead to a significant breakthrough on essential issues,” Khaled reportedly said during a press conference in Ramallah. ”The Palestinian side cannot sign a framework agreement because it does not comply with our minimum requirements and with rights of the Palestinians. We will not give up on the Palestinian cause for money.”

Maariv: 80% of Israelis Believe “Peace Talks” to Fail

Local Editor

An opinion poll conducted by Israeli daily, Maariv, said that the vast majority of Israelis say US-brokered negotiations with the Palestinians will fail to bring any “peace” agreement.

About 80 percent of 507 Israeli respondents told the newspaper that they believed the talks would not succeed.

The poll came a week after a visit by US Secretary of State John KerrKerry and Netanyahuy, who kick-started the talks in July after a three-year hiatus and is pushing the two sides to accept a “framework agreement” for final status negotiations.

“Public opinion seems tired, dejected and skeptical after seeing dozens of American mediators and envoys come here over the years and leave empty-handed,” Maariv wrote.

The survey showed that 73 percent rejected a total withdrawal of Israeli occupation troops from the West Bank under any peace accord.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders appear increasingly at odds over irreconcilable demands, including over the borders of a future Palestinian state and an Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley, where the West Bank borders Jordan.
Israelis insist the army must remain there in the long term to guarantee the occupation’s “security”, but the Palestinians insist they must leave and make way for an international military force.

A separate opinion poll by pro-Israeli government Israel Hayom said 70 percent of 500 Israeli respondents rejected a withdrawal from the Jordan Valley.

Some 53 percent said Kerry was not sincere or “honest” in his quest for peace.
According to Agence France Presse (AFP), the Maariv and Israel Hayom polls had an error margin of 4.5 and 4.4 percent, respectively.

Source: AFP
10-01-2014 – 11:56 Last updated 10-01-2014 – 11:5

UN Has Failed to Bring Israel to Justice for 65 Years

Kourosh Ziabari Salem-News.com

It is today a bit of a stretch to point to what should be done with the reality that the seizure of virtually all of the Palestinian land has made so impossible.
Salem-News.com writers, Professor Bill Cook and Kourosh Ziabari
Salem-News.com writers, Professor Bill Cook and Kourosh Ziabari
(TEHRAN FNA) – We are used to hearing every day that a Palestinian citizen is killed by the Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, or that Israel has begun constructing new settlements on the lands it has stolen from the Palestinians. Although the illegal actions of Israel against the people of Palestine and its continued occupation of the Palestinian lands predates some 60 years back, the future of Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs precise and in-depth investigation and study.
Prominent American academician Prof. William Cook believes that since Israel was created in 1948, the United Nations and the international organizations have failed to bring it to justice and hold it accountable for its criminal actions and policies. According to Prof. William A. Cook, the Israeli regime’s treatment of the Palestinian people is unjustifiable, indefensible and discriminatory.
“America’s poor suffer the consequences in Philadelphia where schools have no money to care for the deprived Americans, and that is but an example of what happens when we dedicate the tax payers’ money to slaughter and mayhem in a land we claim must defend itself when we can’t even identify the boundaries of that state because it refuses to identify its borders as they are continually growing as they inflict further genocide on the people of Palestine,” said Prof. Cook in an extensive interview with the Fars News Agency. William A. Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne. William A. Cook completed his Ph.D. at Lehigh University where he also got his Master’s degree. He has been the university’s Vice President for Academic Affairs for 13 years. Prof. Cook has extensively written about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and defended the confiscated rights of the Palestinian people. His writings have appeared on such news websites and magazines as Al-Jazeera, Foreign Policy Journal, Palestine Chronicle, Counterpunch and Al-Manar. He is the author of such books as “The Rape of Palestine: Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied,” “Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy” and “The Chronicles of Nefaria”. What follows is the full text of FNA’s interview with Prof. Cook about the roots and origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel’s non-compliance with the international law in respecting the basic rights of the Palestinian citizens and the genocidal policies of Israel in the Occupied Territories.
Q: There are still ambiguities and serious questions on the foundations of the establishment of the state of Israel. There was a plan in the early 1900s called the Uganda Scheme presented by the British Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain to the Zionist Theodor Herzl. Based on this proposal, a Jewish state for the stateless Jews would be created in what is today the country of Kenya. The World Zionist Organization, despite the willingness of some of its neighbors, turned down the offer. It was decided a few days later that the Jewish state should be established on the Palestinian territories. So, it’s quite obvious that from the outset, the Zionists didn’t have a cohesive and firm plan for locating the place of establishing a new state. The Jewish Territorialist Organization also believed that the Jewish state could be found anywhere in the world, and not necessarily in Palestine. What happened that finally led to the creation of an Israeli state on the Palestinian lands? Do you consider this newly-created state legitimate and sustainable?

A: The establishment of the state of Israel is mired in a pit of intentional deception to create a false sense of legitimacy to justify before the world community its right to exist. From my research in the Rhodes House archives I have a description by the British Commissioner Harold MacMichael of the attempt in 1919 to establish a joint governing process in the larger Arab area that is now Palestine between Jews and Arabs directed toward the formulation of a scheme under which the Jews and the Arabs can live together in the Near East to their common good and mutual development…Within this group, no difference of opinion as to the basic importance to the development of a Jewish national home of co-operation with the Arabs is discernible. The aim of all is the establishment of a form of society in Palestine which will allow of the development on reasonable lines of a national home as a permanency.”
MacMichael goes into considerable detail as to the process by which this unification could be established. However, it is not necessary to go into such detail since the outcome of its intent, as we know, never materialized. But I will quote the preamble of the plan to demonstrate that there were Jews and Arabs that believed cooperation was possible and desirable.
His Royal Highness the Emir Feisal, representing and acting on behalf of the Arab Kingdom of Hedjaz, and Dr. Chaim Weizman, representing and acting on behalf of the Zionist Organization, mindful of the racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people, and realizing that the surest means of working out the consummation of their national aspirations, is through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab State and Palestine, and being desirous further of confirming the good understanding which exists between them, have agreed upon the following Articles… (Feisal-Weizman Agreement, Catling files, “Jewish Approaches to the Question of Jewish-Arab Co-operation during the period 1919-1941).
MacMichael makes the point in his report that this effort could afford “the fullest guarantee for the carrying into effect of the Balfour Declaration with assurance of Jewish immigration, “without prejudice to the rights of the Arab cultivators”, and complete freedom of worship.
In 1952, Dr. Weizman died and these words from his obituary in the New York Times confirms the above and points to the answer you seek in this first question.
At the age of 27 Dr. Weizmann had dared to criticize Herzl as “too visionary,” and in 1900, at the Fourth Zionist Convention, he emerged as the leader of the Democratic Zionist faction.
This group opposed both the political Zionists, who wanted political guarantees for the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine, and the practical Zionists, who wanted to settle Jewish colonies in the Holy Land without regard to political guarantees. Dr. Weizmann helped reconcile their differences. In 1906 he met Balfour, who was on an electoral campaign, and convinced him that Palestine rather than Uganda, British East Africa, which had been offered by the British, was the proper homeland for the Jews. His efforts led to his appointment as chairman of the first Zionist Commission, established in March, 1918, and recognized by the British as an official advisory body on all Jewish questions. He appeared before the Paris Peace Conference in support of his cause.
Dr. Weizmann visited the Arab Prince Feisal in his camp near Amman around this time and convinced him that the proposed Jewish national home held no existing threat to the Arabs and that Jewish-Arab cooperation was desirable. He won Arab support to help carry out the Balfour Declaration, and reached an agreement with Feisal for large-scale Jewish immigration into Palestine and the protection of Arab rights (NY Times Obituary, 1952).
You ask “What happened that finally led to the creation of the Israeli state on the Palestinian lands?” The answer can be found in the Red House described by Ilan Pappe in his book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and in the Introduction to The Plight of the Palestinians that describes in detail the Mandate Government’s perspective, with evidence collected of their perspective from documents seized by the Mandate police and gathered together in Sir Richard C. Catling’s files in the Rhodes House Archives. Let me quote some passages from my Introduction:
Perhaps the most insidious of the strategies employed by the Zionist Consultancy and its agents comes via encroachment on the civil rights of Palestinian and Jewish citizens.
That encroachment comes stealthily out of the dark recesses of a spider’s hole, the Red House, where the Zionist eleven of the Consultancy held its clandestine meetings, where the strategies that were to guide the affairs of the nascent Jewish “state” were hatched. Parallel this image then, between the years 1930 and 1948, with the situation in the United States since World War II, as Jewish forces asserted their control from lobbies in Washington D. C. that began to encase America’s governing organizations in a web of interlocking deceptions that effectively took control of America’s policies in the Mid-East.
David Ben Gurion & Chaim Weizmann Original Photograph
The eggs hatched behind the closed doors of the Red House emerged as executives of the various organizations established to provide for the welfare of the ever-increasing Jewish community in Palestine. Initially, Chaim Weizman and David Ben-Gurion, worked with the Mandate forces by forming the Jewish Agency, the former serving as president and the latter as chairman, to serve the needs of this new community as it entered Palestine, legally providing personnel that could speak the languages of the various Jews arriving, arranging jobs for them, and orienting them to their new homeland. Clandestinely, the agency served the purposes of Zionist ideology through the Consultancy, where Ben-Gurion also served as chief executive…
The Zionists who took control of the Jewish immigrants entering Palestine had predetermined goals: the establishment of a Jewish State and the expulsion of the existing population in the land of Palestine by whatever means necessary. The reality of these goals is undeniable following the research disclosures of Benny Morris and IlanPappe, corroborated now by Catling’s file that adds the understanding of the British Mandate Forces to the conditions they faced during the decade that ended with the establishment of the Jewish State. To effectively force their goals on their constituents, the Zionist Consultancy enlisted the beliefs of the Jewish people by injecting into their political intentions the sacred biblical iterations of the “Promised Land,” the Zion of the Psalms, for example, “By the streams of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion” (137:1). Although the Zionists were, for the most part, secular in thinking, they used the Jewish yearning for the Promised Land as a goad for acceptance of their leadership (Cook’s Introduction, The Plight of the Palestinians).
The second part of your question, “Do you consider this newly-created state legitimate and sustainable?,” requires a more nuanced answer. Once the British determined that they could not control the Zionist forces aligned against them in what the Zionist leaders of the Jewish Agency called an all-out war against the British control of immigration, the matter was turned over to the UN in 1947. This resulted in the Partition Plan and Resolution 181.


While this was only a Resolution passed by the UN General Assembly and not the policy body of the UNSC, the creation of the division on one level never happened. On another more practical level, when Truman recognized the Israeli state followed by Russia, it did. The Israeli Agency used this “creation” to push Truman to recognize their state. To that extent, the 181 resolution created two states. It did not authorize the Jewish state to confiscate the land provided for in the resolution for the indigenous people, the Palestinians. Yet even before the Mandate forces left Palestine on May 15, 1948, and indeed before the Jewish Agency appealed to Truman with a letter silent on their illegal destruction of Arab towns and villages, most especially Deir Yassin in April, they had begun the Nakba and the on-going theft of Palestinian land that continues to this day.
The consequences of this on-going theft have altered the reality “on the ground” for both the Jews and the Palestinians. Both in number are approximate, especially if the “return” of the original Palestinians from their refugee status were to be included. Given the Bantustans that have been created to contain the Palestinians, the creation of a viable Palestinian State with its “secure” borders is not possible; add to that the impossibility of collectively removing all the “settlers” or in fact the “squatters” from their illegal settlements, and the reality the Zionists have created is a one state solution. But this is not tenable to the State of Israel, so what happens? Their answer is unending wars and the maintenance of overpowering force to contain the disgruntled Palestinians, to keep them divided and to deal with only a faction that can and willingly accepts its role as negotiator when it has no such authority and does not represent all the people.
Divide and conquer has been the method right along as the invasions into Lebanon, Gaza, Syria and the continuing threat of invasion of Iran demonstrate. The impunity they enjoy from the US comes from their control of the US Congress. The occupation and the wall that hides the reality on the ground from both the outside world and the Jews themselves is tolerable; they do not see nor want to see what they have done to others.
Is this sustainable? For the Zionist purpose, Yes; for the US Congress, Yes, at the moment but there are signs of dissent; for the American people, No, but only to avoid war with Iran not to further the cause of the Palestinians; yet, that may come in time; for the world communities, No, and I hope and trust that they will force this issue to the UN and the International Court of Justice as it must go there to force resolution. Can you imagine the Zionist government closing down the “settlements” in the West Bank and Jerusalem? Does legitimacy mean ultimately absolute control and justice submission to it? Is that 21st century civilized behavior? The answer to your question, is it legitimate? To respond to this Kourosh, I revert to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Dr. Grim as he answered young Ned’s question ‘Where did I come from’:
“Only one thing I am well aware of, –it was not to be happy. To toil and moil and hope and fear; and to love in a shadowy, doubtful sort of way, and to hate in bitter earnest, — that is what we came for. Whence did you come? Whence did any of us come? Out of darkness and mystery; out of nothingness; out of dust, clay, mud, I think, and to return to it again. Out of a former state of being, whence we have brought a good many shadowy revelations purporting that it was not a very pleasant one. Out of a former life, of which the present one is hell!”
Image: 1a ParisSorry, Kourosh, revisiting this period is difficult for me. Ultimately, the answer to your question rests with the UN and most especially the people of Israel and the people of Palestine. What happened to the 1919 agreement but the willful demands of a few Zionists that would tolerate only what they demanded. Until that mindset changes there will be nothing but occupation and oppression. The simple answer to your question is “yes,” the continued occupation is in defiance of the UN resolutions and of international law. This is not a question the Zionists have to ask; they have impunity because the US Congress controls the US vote on the UNSC. There is no way to address your question except by logic and morality. Let me begin with logic and revert to a non-word in the vocabulary of Zionism and “Neo-conism” as determined during the Bush administration, morality.
Hamas has been condemned by the Bush and Sharon administrations for using bombs strapped around the body as terrorism against innocent civilians. Yet these same men find the use of “flechette” bullets that scatter pellets of death into multiple civilians legitimate weapons to use against Palestinians. They find no problems using missiles fired into crowded city streets or the use of cluster bombs in Iraq as legitimate weapons of war. Both accept as legitimate weapons for use in civilian areas high altitude bombing whether from F-16s or Apache helicopters. Yet such use anticipates civilian deaths and is, therefore, deliberate slaughter and cannot even be placed in the category of “collateral damage.” The day Sharon left Washington, having conferred his blessings on Bush, Israeli tanks again fired into a crowded Gaza neighborhood in Rafah and killed six civilians including children. This is terrorism.
Why is it that these two men can act like terrorists and not be condemned for it? Because a definition has been designed that excludes them as heads of state and terrorism cannot be applied to states. Therein lays the power of words. But the world has not been fooled. Consider the UN resolutions condemning Israel for such acts: 252 (1968) calling on Israel to rescind measures that change the legal status of Jerusalem, including the expropriation of land and properties; 446 (1979) calling upon Israel to abide by the Geneva Convention regarding the responsibilities of occupying powers, especially “not to transport parts of its civilian population into occupied Arab territories”; 465 (1980) calling on Israel to cease construction of settlements in Arab territories; 471 (1981) calling on Israel to prosecute those involved in assassination attempts of West Bank leaders; 799 (1992) calling upon Israel “to reaffirm the Fourth Geneva Convention in all occupied territories since 1967, including Jerusalem, and affirms that deportation of civilians constitutes a contravention of its obligations under the convention”; 1405 (2002) calling on Israel to allow UN inspectors to “investigate civilian deaths during an Israeli assault on the Jenin refugee camp; 1435 (2002) calling on Israel to withdraw to positions of September 2000 and end its military activities in and around Ramallah, including the destruction of security and civilian infrastructure; and these are only a few. These words were written in 2003 before the condemnation by the UNGA of Israel when it considered the Goldstone Report or the condemnation of Israel when it invaded Lebanon.
These resolutions describe terrorist activities, activities supported by the Bush administration including vetoing such resolutions. Given the severity of the actions challenged by the UN, one would think Bush would rush to the UN demanding that Israel be brought before it for defying its resolutions, something he used as a “gimmick” to take his “war” to Iraq. But deception and hypocrisy are the modus operandi of this administration, not openness, honesty, and reason.
Without morality there is no justice, without justice there is no peace, without peace there is nothing to meld people together, nothing to give love and compasscompassion a chance, nothing to dissemble the absoluteness of words that give license to slaughter those who will not obey, nothing to make absurd beliefs in “chosenness” for some to be served by others (donkeys), historical rights to others lands, “democracy” for some, “security” for one by denying it to others, “friendship” while spying on friends, “right to defend our people” while destroying the innocent that have no defense—such is the amorality that rules when International Law is ignored, yea, mocked and ridiculed.
Q: Article 49 of the Geneva Conventions IV stipulates that “it is illegal to colonize occupied land or transfer non-indigenous population to that land.” This illegal conduct is exactly what Israel has been doing for some 6 decades. Israel’s settlement constructions on the Palestinian lands and the Occupied Territories starkly run counter to this internationally-recognized law. Who is responsible for holding Israel accountable while it continues to violate the law and build illegal homes on the lands it has seized from the Palestinians?

A: You ask, who is responsible for holding Israel accountable while it continues to violate the law? We know this: Israel will not hold itself accountable; it has the “right to defend itself.” That in their mind is unquestioned truth, absolute justice in the international community, and trumps every other right or assumed right. Since they abide by no other courts of law, UN or otherwise, they write and impose their law on everyone, everywhere. And we might note that they offer no such logic to their neighbors or they go to war to “defend their right’ as happened when they invaded Lebanon in 2006. A note of irony here: Israel argued it had a right to attack Lebanon because two of their soldiers were kidnapped by terrorists; how ironic that the Jewish terrorists in July 31, 1947, fighting the British Mandate authority kidnapped two British officers, hung them, and booby trapped their bodies. Needless to say Israel does not call this terrorism.
We also know this: the United States has become incrementally their “godfather,” protector of the Israeli State by agreements wrought by coercion on the American peoples’ representatives. Yet the US proclaims that any “arrangement” or agreement between the Israelis and the Jews must be done by these two peoples with US oversight as broker. That justice would suggest that these are not equal partners attempting to reach agreement but rather a thief that has commandeered the land of the other and offers to accept some accommodation of land swap that continues in existence what the Zionists have confiscated without reparation or return to internationally agreed upon borders realized in 1967, receives no negative comment in the American press or rebuttal in the international community.
If then we remove Israel and the United States as potential problem solvers to this dilemma, we must turn to the originators of the problem, the United Nations. Yet for 65 years that organization has not been able to bring Israel to justice in the international courts. Why? The US veto is not a satisfactory answer. If, as is the case, virtually two thirds of the member states have consistently found Israel in violation of their resolutions, then it is incumbent on the membership to act. Since they cannot change the role given to the US as a permanent member of the Security Council, they must go around that fact.
They could vote to remove Israel’s membership in the body that they have defied for 65 years. One would assume time has expired to allow Israel to act in accordance with the laws of the international organization. This would not prevent Israel from acting as it does, but it would notify the people of the world that this is a rogue state bent on destroying international order and agreement of rights to all peoples, including through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right of Palestinians to have a country, the most fundamental right of all. This isolation would make it increasingly difficult for Israel to ignore their neighbors, all 194 of them. Perhaps a world-wide vote on this might be executed by the UN. Let the people of the world determine if Israel is a true participant in the matters of world affairs; let the UN determine that it is a united body that treats all its members equally.
Consider the injustice that could be righted by this action. After Israel invaded Lebanon, it was the UN that had to foot the bill of reconstruction for that illegal invasion. Why? After the invasion of Gaza in 2008-9, it was the UN communities that had to come to the aid of the distraught Palestinian people. Why? After the attacks without provocation of member states development projects, Israel bombs what they determine are for them potential threats, not based on any proven matter, just Israel’s speculation. No reparation, no accountability, not before the law nor the resolutions of the UN. Why? Why does the world community sit idly by and let the US and Israel act with impunity? Who is responsible? We are, all of us in every nation on the planet.
Q: One of the problems the Palestinian people have been facing since the beginning of the occupation in 1948 is the restrictions imposed against their freedom of movement. There are hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks that forbid the Palestinians to freely travel across the Occupied Territories, West Bank and Gaza Strip. These restrictions are in contravention of the article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What do you think about Israel’s depriving the Palestinians of this fundamental right?

A: What do I think about Israel’s depriving the Palestinians of this fundamental right, freedom of movement? Perhaps the better question is “How can the world communities allow such a state of affairs to exist? Or How can the elected officials and the appointed officials of a state that oppresses the people in its occupied territories be allowed to travel among free nations that obey international law?” Consider the vocal comments of Israel’s leaders and the openness of its press that receives no condemnation from the free world: “Dov Weisglass, revealed to Haaretz that the “ulterior motive behind Sharon’s unilateral decision to withdraw from the Gaza strip” was not to further the peace process but to “freeze it” in order to prevent “the establishment of a Palestinian state.” Where did you read about this in America’s main stream media? In another news article last month, Haaretz editorialized that Israel is responsible for the terror that exists in Palestine! That confession also went unnoticed in the US. The sin of intentional omission more often than not creates the perceptions we hold on issues of great significance. The elite powers that control the message control what we think is true”.
This is the Haaretz commentary: “The underlying basis of (this) terrorism lies in the territories. Nowhere else. The main motivation for the war against us is the aspiration to shake off the cruel yoke of the occupation. The checkpoints, the humiliations, the suppression and the mass imprisonment are the true infrastructure of terrorism.”
Note the power of that admission: “the true infrastructure of terrorism” is the Israeli occupation and treatment of the Palestinians. Let’s remember that Yossi Beilin, an Israeli architect of the Oslo Accords, and former Palestinian minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, worked for two and a half years to create the Geneva Accords, to right the wrongs of the original proposals. These accords “… stipulates the immediate recognition of a Palestinian state by the state of Israel. It addresses forthrightly the issue of refugee right of return and compensation for their suffering and loss of homes in accordance with UN Resolutions 194 of 1948 and the principles of International Law. And it notes that the relations between Israel and Palestine shall be based upon the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations. Furthermore, it makes the borders that compose the state of Palestine those of June 1967 in accordance with Resolutions 242 and 338”.
Kourosh, I’ve written many articles about the deprivation imposed on the Palestinians by the occupiers; when I visited Palestine some years back, I went to the home of a family whose house and shed were completely surrounded by the wall, on all four sides. Their children had to go through gates to get to school, at the pleasure of the IDF. What is not visible when one walks through the streets of the small towns is the inner corrosion of those imprisoned not by walls but by the reality of the humans who do this. I have reason to feel the way Dr. Grim sees the world.
Q: In some of your articles, you’ve described Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people “a slow-motion genocide” and a representation of ethnic cleansing. The United States and its European allies defend what they call “Israel’s right to self-defense”, arguing that Israel launches attacks on the Palestinian Territories in retaliation to the rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip on the Israeli cities. It doesn’t matter to them that they are the defenseless Palestinian citizens who are being killed by the Israel Defense Forces on a daily basis. What’s your viewpoint? Is there any way to justify Israel’s conduct?

A: I have no way to justify Israel’s conduct in its treatment of the Palestinian people. I do not know how to justify in my own mind such treatment. Indeed, it was that treatment by Sharon and his obsequious lap dog, George W. Bush that drove me to write against this combined terror inflicted in my name by my government. America’s poor suffer the consequences in Philadelphia where schools have no money to care for the deprived Americans, and that is but an example of what happens when we dedicate the tax payers’ money to slaughter and mayhem in a land we claim must defend itself when we can’t even identify the boundaries of that state because it refuses to identify its borders as they are continually growing as they inflict further genocide on the people of Palestine.
I edited The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction to bring to the world the truth about these lies. I focused on the first ten years of this century, this new 21st century to show the horror of what Israel and the US were doing to a defenseless people. I was armed, to use a military image as seems appropriate here, with 500 pages of seized evidence by the British Mandate forces in Palestine that gave in blatant terms the original intention of the Zionists when they entered Palestine to eradicate the Arab population; their words, their intent and their proposed methods of carrying it out. It was and continues to be “slow-motion genocide.” The Introduction to that book demonstrates this conclusively. The articles that fill the book, over 20 authors of world-wide renown, demonstrate that what was true of the original Zionists continues now.
The original title for that book was “As the World Watches: Genocide in Palestine.” The MacMillan board changed that as we came to publishing hour. One does not stir the calm unnecessarily. But they did not change its content or its cover. It does what I intended, expose the truth to all who will listen. It is not a best seller. But you can help, Kourosh, Have fifty more people buy the $89 text and I can get it out in soft cover for a modest price.
Needless to say many object to the term “genocide” because the courts have not said Israel commits genocide. But how can the courts determine such if they cannot bring Israel before the courts with the US vetoing that step. I publish in The Plight the UN definition of Genocide. Any child can tell that the actions taken by the Zionists against the occupied people breaks the laws defined as genocide.
Under the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted in 1948, genocide was defined in Article 2 as:
…any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.[1] What more can be said? I believe that both the United States and Israel are guilty of Genocide under this definition. I do not believe any human with a conscience can remain silent and accept “complicity in genocide.”
Q: Some political analysts and academics consider Israel an apartheid regime that is treating the Arabs and Palestinians in a discriminatory manner through adopting measures and passing laws which deny them their basic and essential rights, such as the right of Arab-Israeli citizens in the Occupied Territories to join their families in Israel. Such policies represent apartheid, that is giving special favor to one group of people above all other groups based on certain criteria. What’s your viewpoint on that? Is Israel an apartheid regime?

A: Years ago I began my study of this issue by reading Dr. Uri Davis’ work Israel: An Apartheid State in 1987. Here is a man of conscience; here is a man that acts as he believes; here is a true humanitarian. There is this that a person can do: bring others to you, learn from them, share with them, include them—this is the way of the human; then there is the way alone, the isolated individual that must see self- repeated in all with whom they share their world, a community of exclusivity cemented by fear and loathing of others and an intrinsic acceptance of victimhood that pervades their thoughts and strengthens their will to self-defense even when there is no enemy.
I do not need to itemize the apartheid nature of the state of Israel; it’s well documented. I contributed to that in 2003 “Israeli Democracy: Fact or Fiction? And again in “The Real Axis of Evil,” 2006, and in many articles published before and since. The problem isn’t that it is not in existence, it is that we do nothing to condemn it.
Q: There’s a putative belief, which you’ve also alluded to in your articles, that the US Congress is dominated by the pro-Israel representatives or owned by the Zionist lobby. Even if this belief is not true, we have seen in different votes of the Congress that it conspicuously sides with Israel on various occasions and never allows Israel’s interests to be threatened. Why is it so? How has the Congress been dominated by such lawmakers?

A: There is a major American writer that has researched and investigated this issue for years and he has published a recent article that collapses much of his research into a direct breakdown of the facts: “Israel Buys the US Congress” by Dr. James Petras. It’s a fact; that it is not known in America is the fault of our media that is owned by Israeli sympathizers and a nation psychologically unable to criticize the state of Israel lest they be charged with anti-Semitism. The Congress of the United States is also locked into a similar mindset, but many get their political coffers filled by AIPAC and its sympathizers throughout the country. Books have been written about this subject, but they get little press and suffer from intended silence.
The answer to your second question, Why is it so?; it requires a dip into the political reality that controls the American system. Thomas Jefferson argued with John Adams about the good and the bad of the open democratic system that gave power to the people to consent to who would govern them. He noted that three things can destroy democracy: a pseudo-Aristoi, organized religion, and corporations. We have all three operating now. The rich elites of the corporatocracy that runs the country have vast amounts of wealth.
They use that wealth to buy candidates that remain in office as long as they can raise enough money to keep their seat. Hence those with the money can demand what they want of the representatives. Congressmen and women who follow their own conscience or will not play ball with the powers that run the country are challenged at the voting booth by candidates brought in by the corporations and overwhelm the electorate with severe, most often deceptive advertisements to defame the occupant. Representatives Paul Findley and Cynthia McKinny are examples of that reality. There are many. The American system is fraught with obstacles that allow for corruption, including a Supreme Court that will find ways to satisfy the powerful by allowing unlimited funding by corporations that in effect nullifies the rights of the average American. That is why it is so.
Q: Earlier in March this year, US President Barack Obama traveled to Israel and urged the Israeli leaders to recognize the right of the Palestinian people to have a state on their homeland. “Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land,” he said. As you noted in your article, President Obama asked the Israelis to put themselves in the Palestinians’ shoes. Do these statements indicate a rift or disagreement between the US President and the Israeli leaders? It’s said that the US government is strongly opposed to the settlement constructions, but cannot convince Israel to abandon the constructions. What’s your take on that?

A: You raise a question that has plagued me since that speech. I supported Obama when he ran because it appeared that he was going to reverse the Bush’s disaster. He entered the American stage like a rock star; the people were weeping in expectation that the forces of good had somehow taken root in America in the form of this man who represented a horrific past that we want to deny but can’t. As a member of the African American lineage it seemed possible that through him we would find release from that mental pain. That talk in Cairo glowed with anticipation for a new path in the world, an America that did not speak as an empire, but as a friend and counselor.
But then it seemed to collapse as he failed to end the torture and imprisonment without charge at Guantanamo, then the failure to erase the Patriot Act, then the toughening against the whistle blowers as they brought forth undisclosed information to the American people, then the removal of the rights to trial and disclosure of evidence, then the virtual uncontrolled use of drones and the continued funding of the state of Israel. What we thought might happen did not. He lost the confidence of those who backed him even before he ran for a second term.
Perhaps his decision to attack Syria on a specified date whether or not the Congress were to support him left him vulnerable before the world. But a strange thing happened. When the Congress went home for the August break, they were deluged by voters stating flatly, no more wars, 75% or more of the American people let it be known they would not return to office if they voted to take America to war. Even Obama could read those returns. And so did AIPAC and the Israeli supportive lobbies.
Enter Russia. Here was a possible way out. But that solution brought in its wake the negotiations now going on to deal finally with Iran’s nuclear plans. Suddenly, Israel’s not-mentioned nuclear arsenal became less hidden in American discourse. Iran asked that the whole issue of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty be raised again and all of a sudden Israel stood exposed. What rights does Israel have to determine which member state of the UN should or should not have atomic weapons? It alone has not and will not sign this agreement yet it wants its neighbors to rest assured that it will not use their weapons of mass destruction when they are the country that has attacked without provocation its neighbors whether that be Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, or Iraq, that it alone of the mid-east states uses chemical weapons on the defenseless people in Gaza and Lebanon.
Is it possible that Obama sees a way to dislodge this albatross from America’s neck? Kerry’s brief but telling press conference suggested that the administration is marching to a different drummer. He told the Israelis they cannot fail to see the injustice taking place at the “peace” negotiations where “peace” for Israel is “Shalom,” peace for self, for Israel, as in “we have a right to defend ourselves,” not the peace that the rest of the world knows and desires, a peace based on equity for all through justice, compassion and love.
Now we know that AIPAC and Netanyahu can and will turn on the American President if he does not do as they command. Or at least it appears that they are willing to announce their anger over his “change of heart.” Should Israel find its new alliance with France and seek commercial alliances with China and abandon America, perhaps the American people will see just how true is the claim that this is America’s only friend in the Mideast. Perhaps the Israelis and the Zionists know that if it’s not their way, they may not be able to maintain their power over the US Congress. And that will change principles and relations.
It is too early to know how this will play out, but should it free America from the shackles that have bound it to this rogue state, I would find it a blessing for the American people. I have years ago declared my own personal declaration of independence from the Bush administration and I have found it difficult to recognize a distinct change in the Obama administration until their new effort to negotiate with the world and not go it alone dragging our chains behind us, chains tied to a state that does not in my opinion share what America brought to the world with its declarations of the rights of humanity and its recognition of equality for all humanity.
Q: Several rounds of peace talks have been held between the representatives of the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli regime.

However, at these talks, Israel never seemed to be willing to recognize the essential rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to statehood, the rights of refugees to return and water and energy sources allocation. Can such talks which are not held on equal footing yield significant results?
A: No. That’s the answer to your question, can such talks yield significant results? Much of what I have said in this interview replies to this question. I published an article in The Plight of the Palestinians by Dr. Jeffrey Halper, “The Problem with Israel,” which provides detailed evidence that Israel has refused to negotiate in good faith over an extended period of time dealing with approximately 19 “peace talks.” It’s a matter of window dressing; they talk and build and confiscate as the world watches. America cannot be a fair broker for peace; that’s a ruse. Let me explain my take on this supposed peace process. I delivered a paper in Cairo in 2006, just after Hamas became the elected authority for the Palestinians. Here is what I proposed and it still stands. “Hamas can force Israel and the United States to sue for peace by presenting to the United Nations a “Plan for Peace in Palestine”.
Call Israel’s bluff; force truth into the open; make the reality on the ground evident to the people of the world; present the United Nations with its own Resolutions, actions already determined to have validity — Resolutions 181, 198, 242, 252, 338, 446, 465, 471, 799, 1405, 1435, 1544 – resolutions stretching as far back as 1947, resolutions requiring Israel to accept right of return, to respect international humanitarian rights, to return land stolen in the wars, to affirm the 4th Geneva Convention against deportation of civilians, to cease construction of the illegal settlements, to stop demolition of homes and all collective punishment, to cease their illegal change in the legal status of Jerusalem, to stop the illegal assassination of Palestinians, to accept the existence of a Palestinian state and the borders that have been determined by the UN.
It is today a bit of a stretch to point to what should be done with the reality that the seizure of virtually all of the Palestinian land has made so impossible. But if the world communities forced the UN to act, then the starting point has to be what that body has determined and not changed.
Interview by Kourosh Ziabari
__________________________________________________________________
William A. Cook is Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California where he served for 13 years as Vice President for Academic Affairs before assuming his faculty position in 2001. Prior to coming to California, he served as a Dean of Faculty, Chair of Department of English and faculty member at institutions large and small, public and private in four eastern states. He is an activist and a writer for numerous Internet publications including Counterpunch, Salem-News.com, Pacific Free Press in British Columbia, Dissident Voice and Information Clearing House, serving as senior editor for MWC News out of Canada, and contributing editor at the Palestine Chronicle, the Atlantic Free Press in the Netherlands, and the World Prout Assembly, his polemics against the Bush administration and the atrocities caused by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert in Israel, now our 51st state, have been spread around the Internet world and translated into French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Italian. Cook also serves on the Board of the People’s Media Project, interviews on radio and TV in South Africa, Canada, Iran and the United States and contributed for five years yearly predictions to the Hong Kong Economic News. This volume follows his Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy, Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied: The Rape of Palestine and continues his scourge against the hypocrisy, deceit, and destructive policies that have characterized American mid-east policy and its destructive alliance with the Zionist forces that have turned Israel into an apartheid state determined to destroy the Palestinian people.

In addition to his polemics, he writes plays (The Unreasoning Mask, co-authored with his wife, D’Arcy, and The Agony of Colin Powell), satires (see “Advancing the Civilized State: Inch by Bloody Inch” in The Rape), and poetry (Psalms for the 21st Century). His most recent fictional work creates a morality tale based upon real life figures that haunt our lives,The Chronicles of Nefaria He can be reached at wcook@laverne.edu or www.drwilliamacook.com..
The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction is a collection of voices from around the world that establishes in both theoretical and graphic terms the slow, methodical genocide taking place in Palestine beginning in the 1940s, as revealed in the Introduction. From Dr. Francis A. Boyle’s detailed legal case against the state of Israel, to Uri Avnery’s “Slow Motion Ethnic Cleansing,” to Richard Falk’s “Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust,” to Ilan Pappe’s “Genocide in Gaza,” these voices decry in startling, vivid, and forceful language the calculated atrocities taking place, the inhumane conditions inflicted on the people, and the silence that exists despite the crimes, nothing short of state-sponsored genocide against the Palestinians.

Israel Rogue State Accuses Victims of Incitement

by Stephen Lendman 

 JANUARY 08, 2014

My Photo

Blaming victims repeats with disturbing regularity. More on this below. Extremist ideologues run Israel.
 
They’re criminals. They’re thugs. They’re militantly hardline. They threaten humanity. They deplore democratic rights. Rule of law principles are ignored. 
 
Institutionalized racism is official policy. So is occupation harshness. State terror reflects it. 
 
For over six decades, Palestinians endured its worst form. They still do today. Daily suffering persists. No one’s sure each day who’ll live, die, remain free or be arrested, imprisoned and tortured. State terror occurs daily.
 
In the week ending January 1, Israeli forces conducted 53 Palestinian community incursions. Defenseless civilians were terrorized.
 
Israeli warplanes bombed Gaza multiple times. Fishermen were attacked at sea. Peaceful protesters were beaten, tear-gassed and arrested. Photojournalists were targeted.
 
An elderly man died from tear gas inhalation. Women and children were wounded. Dozens of Palestinians were wrongfully arrested.
 
Settlement construction continues unabated. Another 272 units were approved. Stolen Palestinian land will be used to build them.
 
On January 2, Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar laid a cornerstone for a new Jordan Valley settlement. His deputy, Ze’ev Elkin, said “Israel will build, will continue to build and expand the settlement.”
 
They’re illegal. It doesn’t matter. Palestinian land is stolen daily to expand them. Residents are dispossessed to do so. They have no say.
 
On January 7, Israel kidnapped five Nablus residents. Several East Jerusalemites were abducted at the same time.
 
A Palestinian man was crushed to death inside an Israeli checkpoint. Marauding security forces raided Beit Awwa. The entire town was closed off. It’s under siege.
 
Racist settlers stormed Orif village. Israeli soldiers accompanied them. They protected their lawlessness. They broke into a school. They struck a water tank. They damaged a power panel.
 
They terrorize Palestinians freely. They commit violence and vandalism. They do so repeatedly. They do it with impunity.
 
Netanyahu reflects the worst of Israeli lawlessness. He deplores peace. He makes achieving it impossible. So do likeminded ideologues.
 
They infest Israel’s Knesset. They control key ministerial portfolios. They reflect racism writ large. On Saturday, Netanyahu said:
 
“I don’t want a binational state, and I don’t want (Palestinians) as either citizens or subjects.”
 
“There’s a problem,” he claims. It’s because Palestinians aren’t going away. Even if some minimal agreement is reached, he added,  “there’s still no guarantee that the incitement against us would change.”
 
In other words, peace in our time won’t happen. Occupation harshness will continue. Millions of Palestinians will be terrorized. They’ll be blamed for Israeli crimes.
 
During his weekly Sunday cabinet meeting, Netanyahu accused Palestinian officials of “inciting hatred.”
 
“The Palestinians are continuing their campaign of inciting hatred, as we have seen in the last few days with their refusal to recognize Israel as a state for the Jewish people.”
 
“This is the main issue that we’re discussing with (Kerry). Among other topics are Israel’s security, which must remain in its hands.”
 
Fact check
 
Palestinians are longstanding victims of Israeli “incitement” and much more. They’re terrorized daily. They’re denied all rights. They’re blamed for Israeli crimes.
 
Their right to self-defense is called terrorism. Their West Bank leadership is illegitimate. It’s more appointed than elected.
 
Millions of Palestinians are on their own. They’re without international community support. Demanding recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is unacceptable. It’s outrageous.
 
Should America be declared a Judeo-Christian state? Should Canada be declared one? Should European countries be so designated? Should other religions and ethnicities be marginalized and denied?
 
The 1947 UN Partition Plan granted 56% of historic Palestine to Jews. Palestinians got 42%. They comprised two-thirds of the population at the time.
 
Jerusalem was designated an international city under a UN Trusteeship Council. It’s status remains unchanged.
 
Resolution language denoted Jewish and Arab states. It did so in undefined general terms. It explicitly said these states cannot discriminate against their minority populations.
 
Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994) include no reference to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. Nor does Oslo or initiatives relating to it.
 
Israel stipulated this demand for the first time during Annapolis 2007-08 talks. Doing so then and now is lawless. It has no basis in international law.
 
It’s obstructionist. It’s a pretext to prevent peace. America doesn’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state. It’s embassy is in Tel Aviv. Other countries operate the same way. They respect Jerusalem’s international status.
 
Washington and Italy maintain Jerusalem consulates. Many countries have them in various cities in countries with which they have diplomatic relations.
 
Recognizing Israel as Jewish state would marginalize nearly 1.7 million Arab citizens. They comprise over 20% of the population.
 
They practically have no rights now. They’ll be entirely denied in an officially recognized Jewish state. So would diaspora Palestinians. Their right of return would be harder than ever to achieve.
 
Recognizing a Jewish state declares surrender. National identity would be lost. Ethnic cleansing would be facilitated. Israel would take full advantage.
 
Netanyahu’s demand assures continued conflict. It prevents resolution. It reflects blaming Palestinians for his obstructionism.
 
He’s going all-out to prevent peace. He’s done so throughout his political career. Ongoing peace talks are more sham than real.
 
Kerry’s latest plan is totally one-sided. It denies fundamental Palestinian rights. Netanyahu’s accusations don’t wash.
 
Israel teaches hate. Children are brainwashed. Textbooks use inflammatory language. So do teachers. On the one hand, Jews are called  industrious, brave and superior.
 
Dozens of pejoratives describe Arabs. They include calling them hostile, deviant, violent, cruel, immoral, unfair, bloodthirsty, vengeful, dirty, noisy, colored, inhuman, dogs, wolves of prey and vipers, among others.
 
Children internalize fear and loathing. They do so early in life. They’re taught to hate, not tolerate or respect. They’re told Arabs are enemies.
 
Doing so continues throughout childhood, adolescence and young adult years. It prepares Israelis to become warriors. Militarism is dominant in Israeli society.
 
It’s considered a desirable way to solve problems. Arabs are vilified. They’re Israel’s enemy of choice. State-sponsored indoctrination fills young minds with racist hate.
 
Lawlessness is considered righteousness. Aggression is called self-defense. Palestinians don’t incite hatred or violence. Israeli accusations are wildly exaggerated.
 
The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP) originated them earlier. CMIP is now called the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE).
 
Its advisory board includes Daniel Pipes. He’s a notorious Islamophobe. He supports the worst of Israeli crimes. CMIP, now IMPACT-SE, reflects Zionist ideology.
 
It ignores racist Israeli textbooks. It vilifies Palestinians unjustly. It’s linked to racist Israeli groups. It supports settlement expansions. It turns a blind eye to land theft, ethnic cleansing, and other Israeli high crimes.
 
So-called Palestinian textbooks it claims include anti-Semitic hate-mongering are Egyptian and Jordanian ones. Palestinian education is polar opposite.
 
A previous article discussed a June 2004 Israel/Palestinian Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) report. It’s titled “Analysis and Evaluation of the New Palestinian Curriculum.” It said:
 
There’s “no indication of hatred of the Western Judeo-Christian tradition or the values associated with it.”
 
“(T)he textbooks promote an environment of open-mindedness, rational thinking, modernization, critical reflection and dialogue.”
 
They “promote civil activity, commitment, responsibility, solidarity, respecting others’ feelings, respecting and helping people with disabilities, (and) reinforce students’ understanding of the values of civil society, such as respecting human dignity; religious, social, cultural, racial, ethnic, and political pluralism; personal, social and moral responsibility; (and) transparency and accountability.”
 
Israeli and Palestinian education reflect opposite values. Israel vilifies Muslims unjustly. Islamic tenets are ignored.
 
The Koran teaches love, not hate; peace, not violence; charity, not selfishness; and tolerance, not terrorism.
 
Its five pillars include profession of faith, prayer five times daily, fasting during Ramadan, charity, and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime for those able to afford it.
 
It doesn’t matter. Muslims are stereotypically mischaracterized. They’re portrayed as dangerous gun-toting terrorists.
 
Hate messages repeat. Fear is stoked. Israeli high crimes are ignored. They’re called self-defense. Waging war on Islam is longstanding Israeli policy.
 
America operates the same way. So do many European countries. Palestinians are isolated on their own.
 
Long denied peace awaits better times. Hopefully it won’t take long coming. World community pressure is needed to achieve it. So far, it’s nowhere in sight.
 
A Final Comment
 
On January 7, The Times of Israel (TOI) headlined “US said to seek adding ‘Jewish State’ language to Arab Peace Initiative,” saying:
 
He’s “exploring the possibility.” Palestinian newspaper al-Ayyam cited Western sources,” said TOI.
 
Changed language “would insert a key Israeli demand into the 2002 Saudi-drafted Arab Peace Initiative…” It would “stipulat(e) that Israel’s Arab citizens not be affected by” doing so.
 
Current language calls for Arab countries offering “comprehensive peace with Israel in exchange for” relinquishing control of Occupied Palestine.
 
On Sunday, John Kerry met with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah. He said:
 
The Kingdom’s “initiative holds out the prospect that if the parties could arrive at a peaceful resolution, you could instantaneously have peace between the 22 Arab nations and 35 Muslim nations, all of whom have said they will recognize Israel if peace is achieved.”
 
On Monday, Netanyahu said “there is no American framework document yet.” Nothing was agreed.
 
Israel’s Channel 2 said if agreement is reached, it won’t be binding on either side. They fundamentally disagree on core issues.
 
An unnamed Palestinian official said: “We talked about everything, but without agreement on anything.”
 
It’s hard agreeing to provisions favoring one side over the other. Netanyahu wants every concession given him and more. It’s longstanding Israeli practice.

Kerry’s Quest for an Israel-Palestinian Peace: What You First Need to Know

State Department photo, January 2, 2014

        Tricky Netanyahu: I Deceived the US to Destroy Oslo Accords. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvqCWvi-nFo

The early reports from John Kerry’s latest trip to the Mideast, to try to breathe life into the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, are unpromising. Few informed observers expected otherwise. Prime Minister Netanyahu treated Kerry to a lecture on the savagery of the Palestinians who would celebrate the freeing of prisoners accused of committing acts of terror. I assume Kerry did not remind Netanyahu that Israel has elected two former terrorists as its prime ministers. Foreign Policy today ran an interesting book excerpt on Israeli terrorism and the British intelligence services. In the immediate post war period, when Britain lacked coal and food, Zionist terrorism was perceived by British intelligence as its primary threat.

These are atmospherics: Netanyahu wishes to signal to his cabinet and supporters that no serious negotiations will be forthcoming, that they need not worry, Greater Israel is in good hands. Kerry will lo0k for any faint sign that the continuation of ongoing negotiations are not, as they have been for more than twenty years, a cover under which Israel can proceed with colonizing the West Bank and a slow motion ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem.

Required reading for any attempt to understand the what is at stake in the negotiations is the work of Jerome Slater, a SUNY-Buffalo professor who has written perhaps a dozen methodical, careful, footnote-rich essays on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His work is a model of how much one can do with a scholarly temperament and wide and careful reading in freely available English sources. One always comes away from a Slater essay enriched—whether it is a topic one thought one understood (the failure of Oslo Camp David negotiations) or knew little about (the nearly successful Israeli-Syrian negotiations of the early 1990′s).

I recently read “What Went Wrong: The Collapse of the Israeli Palestinian Peace Process,” which appeared (behind a firewall) in Political Science Quarterly in the summer of 2001. (The essay is available online to subscribers and those with access to various academic data bases). I’ve not seen anywhere a more careful and substantial debunking of the main talking points of Israeli hasbara, from the notion that the war was forced upon Israelis who in 1948 were otherwise all too happy to accept the UN’s partition resolution, to the idea that Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians everything they could conceivably have wanted for an independent state at Camp David in 2000, only to have Yasser Arafat walk away. Both propositions are simply false, though they have become–through constant media repetition—very nearly the American received wisdom. Since there is no reason to think that Bibi Netanyahu is more inclined to allow the Palestinians a viable state than Barak was, there really is little chance that Kerry’s mission will succeed—unless of course the Palestinian leadership has been sufficiently corrupted and bribed to sell out legitimate Palestinian aspirations.

Since Slater’s exemplary scholarship is not easily available on the internet, I will quote at length several of his paragraphs, which challenge the conventional wisdom but should be part of it.

The evidence is now irrefutable that David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, and the other leading Zionists “accepted” the UN compromise only as a necessary tactical step that would later be reversed, a base from which Israel would later expand to include all of biblical Palestine. In many private statements, Ben-Gurion was quite explicit, as in a 1937 letter to his son: “A partial Jewish state is not the end, but only the beginning. The establishment of such a Jewish state will serve as a means in our historical efforts to redeem the country in its entirety. . . . We shall organize a modern defense force . . .and then I am certain that we will not be prevented from settling in other parts of the country, either by mutual agreement with our Arab neighbors or by some other means. . . . We will expel the Arabs and take their places . . . with the force at our disposal.” A year later, Ben-Gurion told a Zionist meeting: “I favor partition of the country because when we become a strong power after the establishment of the state, we will abolish partition and spread throughout all of Palestine.” And “Palestine,” as understood by the Zionists, included the West Bank, Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan Heights, southern Lebanon, and much of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Or this, assaying the readiness of the assassinated Yitzhak Rabin to make peace:

Two years after the Oslo agreements were signed, Rabin announced his detailed plans for a permanent settlement with the Palestinians: there would no return to the pre-1967 borders; a united Jerusalem, including the Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, would remain under exclusive Israeli sovereignty;most of the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza would remain there, under Israeli sovereignty; free access to and military control over the settlements would be assured by a series of new roads to be built throughout the territories; Israel’s security border “in the broadest meaning of that term” would be the Jordan River, meaning that Israel would retain settlements and military bases in the Jordan River valley, deep inside Palestinian territory. What the Palestinians would get was an “entity” that would be the “home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. . . . We would like this to be . . . less than a state.” In the next year, Rabin began implementing this peace plan, under which the Palestinians would end up with a series of isolated enclaves on less than 50 percent of the West Bank and Gaza, cut off fromeach other and surrounded by Israeli settlers and military bases. Jewish settlement in an ever-expanding Jerusalemcontinued, including in Arab areas, and the massive road building project got under way, often requiring the confiscation and destruction of Palestinian homes and orchards. Astonishingly, under Rabin the growth of the Jewish settlements was greater than it had been under the previous hardline Likud government of Yitzhak Shamir.

Or this, on the Ehud Barak and the “perfect offer” given to Arafat at Camp David in the summer of 2000:

The first difficulty in assessing Camp David, as well as subsequent Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that continued until just before the February elections,is that all of Barak’s proposals were verbal; evidently seeking to keep all his options open, even as he was supposedly negotiating a final settlement, Barak refused to allow the creation of an official record. As a result, even the participants at Camp David and at subsequent meetings have differing accounts of precisely what Barak offered… . [snip]

It is true that Barak’s proposal went further than any other previous Israeli offer to the Palestinians, especially in agreeing to a Palestinian state and to the sharing of at least part of Jerusalem. On the other hand, it is no less true that Barak’s proposals fell far short of a genuinely fair compromise that would result in a viable Palestinian state. Within a few weeks of Camp David, a number of Israeli political analysts had reached this conclusion. Particularly revealing was the forthright assessment of Ze’ev Schiff, the dean of Israel’s military/security journalists and a centrist in the Israeli political spectrum. According to Schiff, because of Barak’s ongoing violations of the spirit of the Oslo agreements—“above all . . . the relentless expansion of the existing settlements and the establishment of new settlements, with a concomitant expropriation of Palestinian land . . . in and around Jerusalem, and elsewhere as well”—the Palestinians had been “shut in from all sides.” Thus, Schiff concluded, “the prospect of being able to establish a viable state was fading right before their eyes. They were confronted with an intolerable set of options: to agree to the spreading occupation . . . or to set up wretched Bantustans, or to launch an uprising.” As both the Palestinians and Israeli political analysts began to draw up detailed maps, it became evident not only that Gaza and the West Bank would be divided by the State of Israel, but that each of those two areas would in turn be divided into enclaves by the Israeli settlements, highways, and military positions, the links between which “would always be at the mercies of Israel, the Israel Defense Forces and the settlers.” With little or no control over its water resources, with no independently controlled border access to neighboring countries, and with even its internal freedom of movement and commerce subject to continued Israeli closures, the already impoverished Palestinian state would be economically completely dependent on—and vulnerable to—Israel.

In greater detail, this is what the consequences of Barak’s proposals would have been:

Borders. First, the Jerusalem “metropolitan area,” which since 1967 had been expanded to include almost one-fifth of the entire West Bank, would now be incorporated into the city. The eastern boundaries of this “Greater Jerusalem” and the other newly annexed settlements would reach almost to the Palestinian town of Jericho, itself only a short distance from the Jordan River and at Camp David and at subsequent meetings have differing accounts of precisely what Barak offered. Still, there is general agreement on the main Dead Sea. The net effect of these Israeli facts on the ground would be to split the West Bank nearly in half. Second, the so-called blocs of settlements that Barak proposed to annex were ten times the area of Tel Aviv and contained Palestinian villages whose population of some 120,000 was actually greater than the settler population. What would happen to that Arab population? Since it was inconceivable that Israel would want to incorporate a large number of new Arab citizens into the Jewish state, presumably they would be relocated or transferred by one means or another, thereby adding still further to the refugee problem, with all the moral and practical problems that would entail. Third, the land that Barak proposed to give to the Palestinian state in a territorial exchange was only about 10 percent of what Israel was taking from the Palestinians. Moreover, it was empty desert. By contrast, the land that Israel would annex was relatively fertile; even more important, it contained most of the West Bank underground water aquifers—precisely why the settlements had been put there in the first place.

Israeli military control. The independence of the Palestinian state would have been severely compromised—perhaps nullified—by the continuation of Israeli military control throughout the new state. Under the terms of Barak’s proposals, Israel would continue to control all of Palestine’s border access points with the outside world; would continue to patrol and protect all the Jewish settlements that remained in place in the West Bank, and perhaps even in Gaza; and would remain for at least six years—perhaps indefinitely, for all Palestinians knew—throughout the Jordan River valley.

Jerusalem. The situation in Jerusalem would have been intolerable for the Palestinians—and not simply for religious or symbolic reasons. As noted, Barak insisted that the Palestinians accept all of Israel’s “facts on the ground” since 1967, except that they would be given sovereignty over the remaining Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. The problem was that these neighborhoods would be isolated and impoverished enclaves, cut off not only from the rest of the Palestinian state but even from each other by the Jewish neighborhoods, roads, and military outposts. Since 1967 it had been Israeli policy to establish Jewish political and economic control over all of Jerusalem and to create conditions that would convince the Arab residents to leave. To this end, highly subsidized Jewish neighborhoods were built in East Jerusalem, while the Arab neighborhoods were left in poverty, denied economic assistance and even most city services. As a result, even if Arafat had agreed to Barak’s proposals, long-run prospects for Jewish-Arab stability in the context of such extreme political, social, and economic inequality would have been dismal.

Some former Jerusalem city officials and city planners, including Deputy Mayor Meron Benvenisti, now openly admit that this was the purpose of Israel’s policies. For example, see a major but little-remarked story in the New York Times on 15 March 1997, in which a number of current and former Israeli officials admitted that “political planning” and “lopsided development strategies” had been employed to ensure Jewish dominance over Jerusalem and to encourage the Palestinians to move out of the city into neighboring West Bank towns. Even long-time Jerusalem mayor, Teddy Kollek, who in the past had claimed he did everything he could to help the Jerusalem’s Arab population, spoke quite differently in an 10 October 1990 interview with the Israeli newspaper, Ma’ariv. The Arabs of East Jerusalem, he bluntly admitted, had become “second and third class citizens,” for whom “the mayor [that is, Kollek himself] nurtured nothing and built nothing. For Jewish JerusalemI did something. . . . For East Jerusalem? Nothing!”

Barak’s Camp David proposals effectively perpetuated Israel’s control over most of the West Bank’s water, since the most important aquifers would be incorporated into the newly annexed Israeli territory. If for no other reason, this made the Barak plan intolerable to the Palestinians, and a strong indication that Barak continued to resist the establishment of a genuinely independent and viable Palestinian state.

Here and in other essays Slater provides detailed opinions about other sticking points in the negotiations, including the Palestinian “right of return” and Israel’s demand that Palestinians recognize it as “a Jewish state”. He believes that these are far from insurmountable obstacles, subject to compromise and symbolic actions—provided that there is sufficient Israeli good will and realism to actually leave the Palestinians with a viable (if largely disarmed) state at the end of the negotiation. I tend to agree, though we are likely never find out so long as Israel can contemplate no more than an archipelago of Palestinian bantustans.

The real question is whether the liberal Zionist convictions of someone like Slater have already been overtaken by events, or as it happens, by the construction of Israeli settlements. Already much of the Palestinian population has moved on from the desire to build small state on the 22 percent remnant of Palestine, to placing their hopes on the idea that a broad based, international campaign for boycott and divestment will tear down Israel’s walls. South Africa is not an exactly similar case, but it is not entirely dissimilar either.

In any case, any realistic assessment of Kerry’s latest efforts—which I believe are probably doomed—requires some sense of what has gone before. To this, there are few better sources than Jerry Slater’s work.

Sharp rise seen in West Bank Palestinians killed by IDF

 

Palestinian riot police clash with protesters demonstrating against renewed peace talks with Israel in the West Bank city of Ramallah in July. According to an annual report by rights NGO B'tselem, 2013 saw a sharp rise in the number of West Bank Palestinians killed by Israel. (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

Palestinian riot police clash with protesters demonstrating against renewed peace talks with Israel in the West Bank city of Ramallah in July. According to an annual report by rights NGO B’tselem, 2013 saw a sharp rise in the number of West Bank Palestinians killed by Israel. (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Twenty-seven Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military in the West Bank in 2013, more than triple the number killed in the previous year, according to an annual report published late Monday by Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem.

The study found that for the first time in 10 years, more Palestinians were killed in the West Bank than in the Gaza Strip.

The group reported 21 fatal incidents in the West Bank during 2013, versus seven altercations in Gaza that left nine Palestinians dead.

In 2012, Israeli security forces killed eight Palestinians in the West Bank and 246 in Gaza, 167 of them during Operation Pillar of Defense. According to B’Tselem, 104 of the 246 were non-combatants.

Nine of the deadly altercations in the West Bank in 2013 occurred during IDF operations to make arrests in the area that turned violent when local Palestinians hurled rocks or shot at Israeli troops, the group said. In one case, the organization was not able to confirm IDF claims that an exchange of fire had taken place.

Richard Falk Interview… Stealing Palestine

20 December, 2013

Creeping annexation, ethnic cleansing and ‘the politics of fragmentation’ inflicted by criminals who strut the world stage and thumb their noses at international law

As the international conspiracy to rob Palestinians of their freedom and homeland is exposed a little more each day, observers and activists still puzzle over the duplicity of the United Nations in the decades-long illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Territories, not to mention the true intent of Palestinian leaders. So when Richard Falk, professor of international law at Princeton and UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Occupied Palestine, visited Norwich recently, I took the opportunity to put some questions to him.

SL – Can we start with the so-called peace process, please? Does the resignation of the Palestinian negotiation team, and the reasons given, effectively end the already discredited ‘peace talks’? Should the Palestinians walk away or carry on playing a pointless game for another 6 months?

Richard Falk – It is difficult to know how to assess the current suspension of peace talks. The Palestinian Authority seems always ready to bend to pressure, although with some outer limits. In this respect, the future of this phase of ‘peace talks’ will be determined not in Ramallah, but in Washington and Tel Aviv. It should be evident 20 years after Oslo that the peace talks serve Israel’s interest in ‘creeping annexation’ of the West Bank and ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem, while diminishing Palestinian prospects, and even harming the Palestinian image by disinformation that blames the Palestinian side for the breakdown of the process when and however it occurs. It would be a welcome sign of PA independence if they come forth and denounce this peace process for what it is.
The sad reality is that this is almost certain not to happen, and more likely than not the period of negotiations will be extended beyond the nine months set aside, on the entirely false claim that the parties are on the verge of resolving all their differences, and with a little patience, the prospects for a deal are quite bright.

SL – The negotiators said they were resigning because of the ‘unprecedented escalation’ of settlement building and because the Israeli government wasn’t serious about a two-state solution and had failed to fulfill commitments given before the present talks were resumed. I now read that Erekat has already been back to Washington for more talks with Tzipi Livni (Israel’s lead negotiator), Kerry and US envoy Indyk. Far from denouncing the process they are once again endorsing it, which makes your point.

In any case, how acceptable is it for a weak, demoralised and captive people like the Palestinians to be forced to the negotiation table with their brutal occupier under the auspices of a US administration seen by many people as too dishonest to play the part of peace broker?

Richard Falk – Even if the United States was acting in good faith, for which there is no evidence, its dual role as Israel’s unconditional ally and as intermediary would subvert the credibility of a negotiating process. In fact, the US Government signals its partisanship by White House appointments of individuals overtly associated with the AIPAC lobbying group as Special Envoys to oversee the negotiations such as Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk. It is hard to imagine the fury in the West that would exist if the conditions were reversed, and the UN proposed a one-sided ‘peace process’ biased in favour of the Palestinians. The unsatisfactory nature of the current framework of negotiations is further flawed by weighting the process in favour of Israel, which enjoys a position of hard power dominance.
“Palestinians’ main grievances are all reinforced by an objective interpretation of international law”

SL – There can be no peace without justice, so is it right for final status ‘negotiations’ to be held before competing claims are tested in the courts and the many outstanding rulings under international law and UN resolutions are implemented? In any case, shouldn’t a neutral UN peace commission be supervising the final settlement of this long struggle, rather than the US or the Quartet?

Richard Falk – Yes, if the priority were to attain a just and sustainable peace, a framework would be developed that had two characteristics: neutral as between the two sides and sensitive to the relevance of rights under international law. Such sensitivity would favour the Palestinians as their main grievances are all reinforced by an objective interpretation of international law, including in relation to settlements, Jerusalem, refugees, borders, water.

SL – How much legitimacy does President Abbas enjoy, having overstayed his term of office?

Richard Falk – This question of political legitimacy of President Abbas turns on the subjective mood of the Palestinian people. Because the PA is a political entity so vulnerable to pressures and manipulation, the status of its presiding leader seems to be widely seen as a secondary matter of limited significance. When President Abbas has articulated the case for Palestinian statehood during the last three years at the United Nations he gained considerable personal respect among most governments and for many Palestinians. He seems a leader caught between the realities of his compromised position and the occasional opportunities to express the national ambitions and support the rights of the Palestinian people. The division with Hamas, and the failure to find a formula to restore Palestinian unity in relation to the West is a further source of weakness for PA claims to represent the Palestinian people as a whole. The failure to hold scheduled elections highlights the insufficiency of PA and Palestinian leadership.

SL – Do you believe a two-state solution is still feasible?

Richard Falk – No. I think Oslo has been dead for some years, primarily due to Israeli policies designed to encroach upon the remnant of Palestinian territorial and symbolic rights, especially by the continuously expanding settlement archipelago, the unlawful separation wall built on occupied territory, and the demographic manipulations in East Jerusalem. The pretence that Oslo plus the Roadmap point the only way to peace serves American and Israeli purposes in quieting growing complaints about the persistence of the conflict. It represents a diplomatic attempt to deflect criticism, and to divert attention from Palestinian grievances and a growing global solidarity movement.

SL – The 1947 UN Partition was unworkable as well as immoral. Shouldn’t the whole territory (of historic Palestine) be returned to the melting pot and shared out more sensibly? Shouldn’t Jerusalem and Bethlehem become an international city, or ‘corpus separatum’, as the UN originally intended?

Richard Falk – For me the fundamental flaw with the partition proposals contained in GA Resolution 181 was the failure to consult the people resident in Palestine at the time. A secondary flaw was the unfairness of awarding 55% of the territory to the Jewish presence as represented by the Zionist movement which in 1947 accounted for only one-third of the population owning around 6% of the land . This idea of determining the future of Palestine by outsiders, even if well intentioned, which seems not to have ever been the case, is incompatible with the historical trend toward resolving the future of peoples by way of the dynamics of self-determination. In Palestine’s case, at least from the issuance of the Balfour Declaration onward, this effort to control the future of Palestine has been justly condemned as the last major example of ‘settler colonialism.’ It is a particularly acute example as the settlers have no mother country to which to return, and take a poker player’s high risk posture of ‘all in.’
“There is no authoritative explanation of ICC passivity in face of the Israeli criminal violation of fundamental Palestinian rights.”

SL – Turning to the role of the International Criminal Court, this is an organ of the UN. So why doesn’t the ICC initiate its own prosecution of Israeli crimes based on UN reports and the mountain of evidence available to it, especially in view of Palestine’s upgraded status?

Richard Falk – There is no authoritative explanation of ICC passivity in face of the Israeli criminal violation of fundamental Palestinian rights. As a matter of speculation it is plausible to assume an absence of political will on the part of the prosecutor’s office to initiate an investigation that would be deeply opposed by Israel and the United States. The ICC has been recently criticized for its Western bias, and its failure for instance to consider whether the United Kingdom and the United States violated the Rome Statute’s enumeration of international crimes by initiating and conducting the Iraq War. The African Union has complained about the seeming focus on the criminality of African leaders, and the bypassing of grievances directed at Western behaviour.

SL – We hear you and others calling for intervention to prevent humanitarian catastrophes, e.g. the Gaza water crisis. Who exactly are you calling on? What is the chain of responsibility for intervening.

Richard Falk – There has been evolving within the UN and in international society more generally a sense that there is a ‘responsibility to protect’ peoples subject to severe threats of humanitarian catastrophes or natural disasters. Such sentiments are part of a process I have described as ‘moral globalization.’
In fact, R2P diplomacy has been discredited by being used as a geopolitical instrument, most dramatically as the normative foundation for the UN endorsement of the NATO 2011 military intervention in Libya. With respect to Libya the justification was protection against a feared massacre of civilians in the city of Benghazi, but the actual military operation from its outset seemed designed to achieve regime change in Tripoli. When it comes to Gaza where the present crisis has passed into a zone of desperation, the UN and world community are silent as if stone deaf to this deepening human crisis of survival.
“So long as it is useful for Israel and Washington to treat Hamas as ‘a terrorist organization’ the UN will be limited in its role to being a provider of a subsistence existence for the Gazan people…”

SL – We have just seen the UN intervening to bring fuel into Gaza as it teetered on the brink of a full-blown public health crisis. There are many such emergencies thanks to Israel’s continuing blockade. Why doesn’t the UN take over the supply of fuel full-time? And indeed the supply of medicines, drugs, medical equipment and spares?

Richard Falk – The tragic situation in Gaza cannot be understood without taking account of the political context, above all the split between Fatah and Hamas, and the Israeli posture toward Gaza after its ‘disengagement’ in 2005 and the imposition of a punitive blockade in mid-2007 after Hamas took over the governance of Gaza. The UN has no capability to override geopolitical priorities, and so long as it is useful for Israel and Washington to treat Hamas as ‘a terrorist organization’ the UN will be limited in its role to being a provider of a subsistence existence for the Gazan people, long victims of unlawful Israel policies of ‘collective punishment’ unconditional prohibited by Article 33 of the 4th Geneva Convention.
After the Egyptian coup of July 3rd of this year, the subsistence regime evolved in Gaza is itself in jeopardy. The tunnel network has been substantially destroyed by Egyptian military action and the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Egypt has been mainly closed, isolating the people, and creating emergency conditions due to fuel shortages that have made electricity only available in very limited amounts.
The results are horrifying: sewage in the streets, insufficient power to run machines needed to keep the terminally ill alive, fuel shortages that virtually preclude economic activity, and closed borders that seal the fate of 1.6 million Gazans. Long before this dramatic further deterioration of life circumstances, observers were calling Gaza the largest open air prison in the world.
“The wrongful appropriation by Israel of Palestine’s water, land, and energy resources has been a massive crime against the Palestinian people…”

SL – What is the UN doing to protect Palestine’ s precious aquifers and offshore gas field from being plundered by the Israelis?

Richard Falk – Again, the UN has no independent capability, or ever will, to challenge Israel or to protect Palestinian rights. It is a case of geopolitical manipulation and Palestinian victimization. The wrongful appropriation by Israel of Palestine’s water, land, and energy resources has been a massive crime against the Palestinian people that has been continuous with the occupation that commenced in 1967.
“Israeli military dominance, as politically reinforced by American geopolitical muscle, overrides all of these Palestinian claims of right…. Such injustice and suffering can only be challenged by Palestinian resistance and international solidarity.”

SL – Why is the requirement, often repeated, to allow Palestinians free and unfettered movement in and out of Gaza not implemented? Gaza and the West Bank are supposed to be a contiguous territory but, for example, Palestinian students in Gaza are prevented from attending their excellent universities in the West Bank. And why are Gazan fishermen still restricted to a mere fraction of their territorial waters, despite agreements to the contrary, and regularly fired on? Why is Israel not prosecuted for acts of piracy in international waters against humanitarian traffic to Gaza?

Richard Falk – As earlier, the hard power realities of Israeli military dominance, as politically reinforced by American geopolitical muscle, overrides all of these Palestinian claims of right. In this respect, such injustice and suffering can only be challenged by Palestinian resistance and international solidarity. The specific abuses can and should be delimited to raise public awareness and contribute to the mobilization of support for the Palestinian struggle, but it is pointless to expect the UN to do more than its capabilities allow. The whole structure of the Organization, combined with the method of funding, gives geopolitical pressures great leverage in relation to specific situations. The veto power given to the permanent members of the Security Council is a major expression of this weakness that was built into the constitutional structure of the UN from the moment of its establishment.
“Nuremberg Promise has not been kept”

SL – People reading what you say here will be alarmed that US geopolitical power and Israeli military might can so easily override international and humanitarian law. After Nuremburg our legal institutions were strong enough to bring Nazi era criminals to book, but present-day war criminals walk free and thumb their noses. What hope is there for mankind and our brave new world if this is allowed to continue?

Richard Falk – The Nuremberg experience was based on ‘victors’ justice,’ holding the defeated leaders after World War II criminally accountable, while exempting the crimes of the victors from accountability. There was a promise made at Nuremberg that in the future the rules by which the Germans were judged would be applicable to all who committed state crimes in the future. This Nuremberg Promise has not been kept. The political and military leaders of the main states enjoy impunity while the leaders of defeated countries (e.g. Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic) or sub-Saharan African countries are prosecuted by international tribunals. Double standards prevail, and it is questionable whether an international criminal law that punishes the weak and exempts the strong is to be treated as legitimate even if those accused receive a fair trial and are convicted and punished only if they were guilty of grave misconduct.
The bottom line is that we live in a world in which the primacy of hard power prevails in the relationship among states. Geopolitical leverage enables Israel to defy the most basic principles of international law, and yet their leaders are not held accountable. There are only two paths available that challenge this result. National courts can be empowered by what is called ‘universal jurisdiction’ to investigate, indict, prosecute, convict, and punish anyone accused of state crime that can be personally delivered to the relevant court. In 1998 the Chilean dictator was detained in London after the Spanish Government requested that Pinochet be extradited. After lengthy litigation is was found that Pinochet could be extradited for torture committed during part of his reign, but in the end he was sent back to Chile because of health reasons, and never faced trial in Spain. Yet such a possibility exists in relation to Israeli political and military leaders, and seems to have discouraged their travel to countries whose criminal law contains the authority to invoke universal jurisdiction.
The other possibility is by convening a peoples tribunal of the sort constituted in the past by the Bertrand Russell Foundation in Brussels and the Lelio Basso Foundation in Rome. The Russell Foundation sponsored four sessions devoted to various allegations of criminality attributed to the government of Israel. It produced convincing documentation of the charges, and issued judgements that called for civil society initiatives. Such a tribunal, although acting on evidence and in accord with the relevant provisions of international criminal law, possesses no formal authority and lacks implementing capabilities. Its role is limited to documenting the case against a government, and providing symbolic support to those who contend that there have been violations of international criminal law. Such outcomes may influence public opinion, and help change the balance of political forces by undermining the legitimacy of an established order of oppression as exists with respect to Israel’s relationship to the Palestinian people and the denial of their collective right of self-determination.
“The ‘politics of fragmentation’ designed to undermine Palestinian unity… has been alarmingly successful.”

SL – What are the chances as you see them for achieving unity between Fatah and Hamas, and how should the Palestinians play their cards in future?

Richard Falk – There is a near unanimous belief among Palestinians and their supporters that unity is needed to move the struggle forward. Such unity existed throughout the early decades of the Palestinian National Movement, despite many ideological differences relating to tactics and goals, but within a shared resolve to achieve national liberation. The unifying image provided by Yasser Arafat’s uncontested leadership was also important.
Israel has pursued a policy I describe as ‘the politics of fragmentation’ designed to undermine Palestinian unity, and it has been alarmingly successful. Oslo contributed to this end by dividing up the West Bank into Areas A, B, and C, by splitting the administration of Gaza off from the rest of Palestine. The emergence of Hamas highlighted Palestinian fragmentation, a result welcomed by Israel even as it was condemned. Fatah appears to have been inhibited in reaching some kind of functional unity with Hamas by pressures to refrain from such moves mounted in Israel and the United States. So long as Hamas is treated as a terrorist organization, even in the face of its turn from armed struggle and entry into the political process back in 2006, there will be strong opposition to moves toward unity, which were attempted in the Morsi period of leadership in Egypt, and seemed on the verge of success.

SL – Finally, Richard, your robust defence of Palestinian rights has ruffled many feathers and led to demands from ‘the usual suspects’ for your dismissal. Should the people you speak up for be concerned about this?

Richard Falk – The attacks on me, and others who have tried to bear witness to the directives of international law and political justice, are part of a deliberate campaign by Israel, and its cadres in civil society, to deflect attention from the substantive grievances of the Palestinian people. It is what I have described as ‘the politics of deflection,’ go after the messenger so as to deflect attention from the message. The media has been largely compliant as have Israel’s powerful governmental friends, including the United Kingdom, US, and Canadian governments. Of course, many NGOs and elements of the public push back against such tactics. In my case the defamatory efforts of UN Watch, in particular, have been unpleasant, but have not altered my effort to do the job of witnessing to the best of my ability and in accordance with the canons of truth telling.
“Those of us living in comfort should not turn our gaze away from the children of Gaza this Christmas.”

SL – Thank you for being so generous with your time and sharing your assessment of the situation. But before you go, what sort of Christmas can the children of Gaza look forward to?

Richard Falk – We can only imagine the horror of Christmas this year in Gaza for young and old alike: from life amid raw sewage to freezing cold, scarcities, desolation, and a sense that the world is elsewhere, indifferent to such acute suffering, such sustained injustice, such blind hate.
And yet also knowing many Gazans makes me believe that even in such dire circumstances there remains space for some laughter, and much love, and that such a spirit of resistance lives on among the children of this place haunted by the evils of our world. If present these days in Gaza it would likely make me feel a mystifying blend of sadness and inspiration.
At the very least those of us living in comfort should not turn our gaze away from the children of Gaza this Christmas: we should demand empathy from our leaders and be as personally attentive as possible, whether by commentary, prayer, donations, a compassionate scream! We should not allow these days of celebration and renewal to pass this year without moments of reflection on selfish joys and cheerful carols, as contrasting with the miserable destiny bestowed upon the innocent and abused children of Gaza
Let us look the children of Gaza in the eye if we can. And if we can’t, as I could not, seize the moment to reflect on what it means to be (in)human during this holiday season.

Stuart Littlewood’s articles are published widely on the web. He is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. 

For further information please visit http://www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk “Lawlessness must have painful consequences for the lawless, not their victims.” (Stuart Littlewood)

Zionist Ministers Rule out Peace Process, Propose Partial WB Annexation

Local Editor

Zionist entity: settlements

Zionist Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday proposed that the entity of occupation annex parts of the West Bank under its full military control where most Jewish occupiers reside.

“I favour implementation of Israeli sovereignty over the zone where 400,000 (settlers) live and only 70,000 Arabs,” said the head of the far-right Jewish Home religious party in the ruling coalition.

Bennett also ridiculed the US-brokered peace talks between the Zionist entity and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose writ covers the West Bank but not Gaza, ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas.

In another negative Zionist assessment of the peace process, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Saturday: “There is no partner on the Palestinian side to reach a two-state solution for two peoples.”

Their views contrasted with a statement by US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday at the end of his latest mission to the entity and the Palestinian territories.

“I believe we are closer than we have been in years to bringing about the peace and the prosperity and the security that all of the people of this region deserve,” Kerry told reporters.

Direct negotiations were launched in late July but have made little apparent progress as they approach the half-way mark of a targeted nine months.

Source: AFP
08-12-2013 – 10:45 Last updated 08-12-2013 – 10:45

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Partition of Palestine: Loss of Palestine

 Al-manar
Eslam al-Rihani

USA: Norman Finkelstein On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 recommending the implementation of the Partition Plan of Palestine. The Plan was described as a Plan of Partition with Economic Union which, after the termination of the then British Mandate over the Arab country, would lead to the creation of two independent Arab and Jewish States along with a  Special International Order for the City of al-Quds.The Plan sought to address the conflicting objectives of what it considered ‘two competing movements’, i.e. the Arab nationalism and the Jewish nationalism, widely known as Zionism.

Part I of the Plan contained provisions dealing with the Termination of the Mandate, Partition and Independence, where Part II included a detailed description of the proposed boundaries for each state. The Plan also called for Economic Union between the proposed states, and for the protection of religious and minority rights.Palestine: UN Partition PlanImmediately after adoption of the Resolution – accepted by the Jewish Agency on behalf of the Jewish community, but rejected by Arab governments at the time – the civil war broke out in Mandatory Palestine, and the partition plan was not implemented.Following more than forty years of continuous conflict, the Palestinian Declaration of Independence of 15 November 1988 was interpreted as a support for a two-state solution, for referencing the UN Partition Plan of 1947 and “UN resolutions since 1947” in general.Many Palestinians and Israelis, as well as the Arab League, have stated that they would accept a two-state solution based on 1949 Armistice Agreements, more commonly referred to as the “1967 borders”. And in a 2002 poll conducted by the American Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), 72% of both Palestinians and Israelis supported at that time a peace settlement based on the 1967 borders so long as each group could be reassured that the other side would be cooperative in making the necessary concessions for such a settlement.Different conferences were held to negotiate the two-state solution, the most significant was the Oslo Accords, which officially divided Palestinian land into three administrative divisions and created the framework for how much of the Zionist entity’s political borders with the Palestinian territories function today, not to mention the Camp David 2000 Summit and follow-up negotiations at Taba in January 2001. However, no final agreement was ever reached amid nonstop Zionist massacres against the armless Palestinian people. Commemorating the 66th anniversary of the Resolution 181, Al-Manar Website interviewed the American-Jewish author and political strategist, Doctor Norman Finkelstein, to highlight the most significant developments regarding the two-state solution and the future of the Palestinian cause:

Al-Manar Website: Do you think “Israel” will be able to make the whole world recognize it as a Jewish state?

Dr. Finkelstein: Israel’s principal goal right now is to consolidate politically its achievements since the Oslo agreement was signed in 1993.  Practically, this means it wants to annex the major settlement blocs that constitute approximately 10 percent of the West Bank, along the path of the Wall it has been building.  It also wants to liquidate the refugee question.

The Palestinians have never been weaker politically.  Regionally, they have no allies, and internally they have neither leadership nor popular resistance.  It’s quite possible that Israel will succeed in imposing a historic defeat on the Palestinians through U.S. Secretary of State Kerry’s current negotiations. Al-Manar Website: Is the two state solution a functionable or workable now? Dr. Finkelstein: The international community has called for a resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict on the basis of two states along the 1967 border and a “just” solution of the Palestinian refugee question.   Judging by the annual votes in the United Nations General Assembly, the entire world supports this formula, except the U.S., Israel and a handful of South Pacific islands.   This is not a philosophical or even a moral question.   It is a strictly political question, although it is also backed with the force of international law.  I see no political basis for any other solution to the conflict, because no other solution has significant political support in the world.

Al-Manar Website: How do u assess the safety of Israel after all that happened and is happening in the region?

Dr. Finkelstein: It cannot be doubted that Israel’s political existence for the foreseeable future is secure.  It is thriving economically and faces no significant military threats.  It is pointless to project into the future.  I lived long enough to see the fall of the Soviet Union, the end of Apartheid, and a Black man elected president in the United States.  The future is full of surprises, mostly unpredictable

Al-Manar Website: On a personal level, where the ongoing confrontation between you and the Zionist lobby has reached now?

Dr. Finkelstein: I have been unemployed the past seven years.  It has not been easy.  But I will reach my 60th birthday in a couple of weeks.  It means that I have lived much longer than the average person in Africa.  I also have a roof over my head, food on my table, and clothes on my back.  So I count my blessings.  I continue to read, think and occasionally write.   I also continue to do my small part to make the world a better place. He’s a strategist in American and Israeli affairs.

USA: Norman Finkelstein Norman G. Finkelstein received his doctorate in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University in the U.S.. For many years he taught political theory and the Zionist-Palestine conflict. He’s a strategist in American and Israeli affairs.He currently writes and lectures.
Source: Al-Manar Website
29-11-2013 – 09:15 Last updated 29-11-2013 – 16:26

Appeasement dooms Palestinians to misery

Appeasement            

UN’s precious gift empowering legal action is squandered while Israel, with US/UK/EU acquiescence, continues to seize land and resources with impunity

By Stuart Littlewood

Later this month Palestinians will be celebrating an important anniversary, namely the decision by the UN General Assembly a year ago to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state.

But not with much joy, I suspect.

Its upgraded status now enables Palestine to take part in UN debates and join bodies like the International Criminal Court (ICC). Predictably, Israel flew into a rage at the prospect and said the move pushed the peace process “backwards”, while the US said it was “unfortunate”.

So what has the Palestinian leadership done with this precious gift of empowerment from the international community?

Nothing.

Litany of crime

In March this year the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, concluding four years of investigations, called for the ICC to investigate “crimes” committed by Israel in the occupied territories. The tribunal said it would “support all initiatives from civil society and international organizations aimed at bringing Israel in front of the International Criminal Court”. Since Palestine was awarded observer status at the UN the previous November, it could file complaints on its own behalf against Israel with the court. The tribunal also called on the ICC to recognize Palestinian jurisdiction and for an extraordinary session of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, set up for South Africa, to examine the Israeli case.

Also in March the United Nations Human Rights Council said Israeli settlements in the West Bank were a “creeping form of annexation” and the international community should take steps to halt business ties with those communities. Their report claimed that Israel could be culpable for these acts before the ICC. The mission asked Israel to withdraw its settlers from the West Bank and East Jerusalem and urged the international community to comply with their obligation under international law to act.

In April senior Palestinian officials were saying that if Israel began construction in the area designated “E-1″, a piece of land in the West Bank adjacent to Jerusalem seized by Israel in 1967, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would request the ICC to seek indictments on war crimes charges. It is believed that Israel’s administration had just given provisional permission to build some 3,300 Jewish homes in E-1.

…why is Abbas waiting for the bulldozers to go into E-1 [occupied Palestinian land adjacent to East Jerusalem] when there’s a long list of other examples of criminal settlement building and atrocities that Israel ought to be charged with?

Palestinians say that Israeli construction there would make an independent Palestinian state virtually impossible because it would cut off East Jerusalem (which is Palestinian) from the rest of the West Bank.

But why is Abbas waiting for the bulldozers to go into E-1 when there’s a long list of other examples of criminal settlement building and atrocities that Israel ought to be charged with?

In June Saeb Erekat, Palestine’s chief negotiator, was criticizing the policies being pushed by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, “including aggressive settlement activity, home demolitions, evictions and ID revocations. This is part of Israel’s plan to destroy any possibility for a Palestinian state, by annexing and changing the status quo of Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and other vast areas of the occupied state of Palestine”.

The Israeli government, with its destructive policies, was determined to make US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts fail, he said. Israel’s actions made it clear they were declaring the end of the two-state solution. The international community should be pushing Israel to implement previous agreements and adhere to international law instead of calling for a resumption of negotiations. “There is a new urgency to face reality and finally hold Israel accountable for destroying the prospects of justice and peace.”

Israel was turning up its aggression against the Palestinian people while we were trying to reach a negotiated solution, grumbled Erekat. “After the announcement to intensify negotiations made by Kerry, Israel destroyed the village of Khirbet Makhoul for the fourth time and approved further settlement expansion aimed at sealing occupied East Jerusalem from Ramallah.”

Palestinian leadership shows no sign of starting the justice ball rolling

“Our position is clear and in line with international law: all Israeli settlements in Palestine are illegal… and undermine the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution. If Israel is serious about peace, they must cease all settlement activities.” Erekat again demanded action by the rest of the world “to make Israel pay the price for its institutionalized defiance of international law and UN resolutions”.

But there was still no sign of his own people – the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) – taking action on their own account, or at least starting the ball rolling, even though the international community had given them the wherewithal to do so.

Now I hear that Israel is drilling into 3.5 billion barrels of oil reserves straddling the armistice “green line”, most of it lying under the West Bank. According to official agreements, says Al-Jazeera, “Israel is obligated to coordinate any exploration for natural resources in shared territory with the Palestinian Authority, and reach agreements on how to divide the benefits”.

Ashraf Khatib, an official at the PA’s negotiations support unit, described the oil field as part of Israel’s “general theft of Palestinian national resources… the occupation is not just about settlements and land confiscation. Israel is also massively profiting from exploiting our resources. There’s lots of money in it for Israel, which is why the occupation has become so prolonged.”

And, of course, the world knows how the Palestinians are prevented from benefiting from their offshore gas field and how, if Israel has its way, they’ll never get a sniff of their own gas either.

“Life in Palestine is subject to the rule of the jungle”

Since the beginning of the Oslo process over 20 years ago, the rights of the Palestinian people have been sacrificed on the altar of so-called political progress, the glittering prize being “peace and security”. But that was never really on the cards. All we’ve seen is a continuous slide downhill for the Palestinians while the Israelis’ colonization and expansion programme goes from strength to strength. “In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the expansion of settlements continues relentlessly, while the illegal annexation wall creates a situation that is completely at odds with both international law and the stated goals of the peace process,” says Shawan Jabarin in an excellent article, “Time for the ICC to act on Palestine”. He says:

Life in Palestine is subject to the rule of the jungle: generals and politicians know that they can violate the law with impunity, fuelling a continuous cycle of violations and suffering. The result has been an increase in war crimes committed against innocent civilians. Throughout Palestine we are struggling for the right to live, and the right to live in dignity.

Talking of the right to live in dignity, only today I was reading how some of the Palestinian villages are used by Israel for military training exercises in which soldiers enjoy virtual impunity with regard to their cruel behaviour in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, the pretext being that the Israeli military is the sovereign authority over the whole territory. “This edict contradicts international law and numerous United Nations resolutions that question the Israeli claim to sovereignty over all Palestinian land,” reports the International Middle East Media Centre.

The Israeli military frequently invades Palestinian towns and villages, with soldiers running through streets and alleys with loaded automatic weapons, ransacking homes and terrorizing residents, for the purposes of “training”. Residents and the human rights groups representing them have provided numerous examples of the soldiers tearing through homes and yards, breaking into houses, running up and down stairs and taking over rooftops of family homes as part of these exercises.

It’s bad enough that villages experience actual Israeli military invasions on a regular basis. Now, since the military makes no attempt to differentiate between an invasion and a “training exercise”, the villagers are just as terrorized as they are during real raids.

Wasting that all-important empowerment on a dumb promise

International justice remains out of reach for millions of civilians because the corrupt US, UK and EU political establishments conspire to “persuade” Palestine not to join the ICC or press war crimes charges and other complaints against racist Israel. The Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC, meanwhile, is waiting for Palestine to ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court and become a full member if it wishes to commence proceedings.

To pretend there is something wrong with pursuing a brutal oppressor for war crimes through the proper channels – that is, the ICC – while talking peace, is absurd. No peace is sustainable unless it’s underpinned by international law and justice.

So a week ago I sent a press enquiry to the Palestinian embassy in London, addressed to Ambassador Manuel Hassassian. It said:

What is the PA/PLO doing, please, to regularise its position regarding the ICC statute and satisfy any remaining requirements for exercising its membership rights and bringing charges against Israel for its crimes?

What still remains to be done and why the continuing delay after the international community cleared the way and upgraded Palestine’s status?

No reply, no acknowledgement, despite follow-up phone messages. Silence speaks volumes and is par for the course when dealing with Palestinian officials.

However, I’ve heard it said that Abbas promised Kerry not to seek justice through the ICC during the nine months or more the going-nowhere peace talks will be… well, going nowhere. That takes us by my reckoning to May next year, or beyond. And he gave the undertaking without wringing from the Israelis a corresponding promise to halt settlement planning, construction and enlargement.

Welcome to the Palestinian School of Appeasement.

It’s now clear: the Oslo peace accords were wrecked by Netanyahu’s bad faith

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/12/oslo-israel-reneged-colonial-Palestine

I thought the peace accords 20 years ago could work, but Israel used them as cover for its colonial project in Palestine

OSLO ACCORDS avi

Shimon Peres, the Israeli foreign minister, signs the Oslo accords at the White House on 13 September 1993. Onlookers include Israel’s PM, Yitzhak Rabin; Bill Clinton; and the PLO’s Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. Photograph: J David AKE/AFP

Exactly 20 years have passed since the Oslo accords were signed on the White House lawn. For all their shortcomings and ambiguities, the accords constituted a historic breakthrough in the century-old conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine. It was the first peace agreement between the two principal parties to the conflict: Israelis and Palestinians.

The accords represented real progress on three fronts: the Palestine Liberation Organisation recognised the state of Israel; Israel recognised the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people; and both sides agreed to resolve their outstanding differences by peaceful means. Mutual recognition replaced mutual rejection. In short, this promised at least the beginning of a reconciliation between two bitterly antagonistic national movements. And the hesitant handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat clinched the historic compromise.

Critical to the architecture of Oslo was the notion of gradualism. The text did not address any of the key issues in this dispute: Jerusalem; the right of return of 1948 refugees; the status of Jewish settlements built on occupied Palestinian land; or the borders of the Palestinian entity. All these “permanent status” issues were deferred for negotiations towards the end of the five-year transition period. Basically, this was a modest experiment in Palestinian self-government, starting with the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho.

The text did not promise or even mention an independent Palestinian state at the end of the transition period. The Palestinians believed that in return for giving up their claim to 78% of historic Palestine, they would gain an independent state in the remaining 22%, with a capital city in Jerusalem. They were to be bitterly disappointed.

Controversy surrounded Oslo from the moment it saw the light of day. The 21 October 1993 issue of the London Review of Books ran two articles; Edward Said put the case against in the first. He called the agreement “an instrument of Palestinian surrender, a Palestinian Versailles”, arguing that it set aside international legality and compromised the fundamental national rights of the Palestinian people. It could not advance genuine Palestinian self-determination because that meant freedom, sovereignty, and equality, rather than perpetual subservience to Israel.

In my own article I put the case for Oslo. I believed that it would set in motion a gradual but irreversible process of Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories and that it would pave the way to Palestinian statehood. From today’s perspective, 20 years on, it is clear that Said was right in his analysis and I was wrong.

In 2000 the Oslo peace process broke down following the failure of the Camp David summit and the outbreak of the second intifada. Why? Israelis claim that the Palestinians made a strategic choice to return to violence and consequently there was no Palestinian partner for peace. As I see it, Palestinian violence was a contributory factor, but not the main cause. The fundamental reason was that Israel reneged on its side of the deal.

Sadly, the Jewish fanatic who assassinated Rabin in 1995 achieved his broader aim of derailing the peace train. In 1996 the rightwing Likud returned to power under the leadership of Binyamin Netanyahu. He made no effort to conceal his deep antagonism to Oslo, denouncing it as incompatible with Israel’s right to security and with the historic right of the Jewish people to the whole land of Israel. And he spent his first three years as PM in a largely successful attempt to arrest, undermine, and subvert the accords concluded by his Labour predecessors.

Particularly destructive of the peace project was the policy of expanding Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. These settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a huge obstacle to peace. Building civilian settlements beyond the Green Line does not violate the letter of the Oslo accords but it most decidedly violates its spirit. As a result of settlement expansion the area available for a Palestinian state has been steadily shrinking to the point where a two-state solution is barely conceivable.

The so-called security barrier that Israel has been building on the West Bank since 2002 further encroaches on Palestinian land. Land-grabbing and peace-making do not go together: it is one or the other. Oslo is essentially a land-for-peace deal. By expanding settlements all Israeli governments, Labour as well as Likud, contributed massively to its breakdown.

The rate of settlement growth in the West Bank and Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem is staggering. At the end of 1993 there were 115,700 Israeli settlers in the occupied territories. Their number doubled during the following decade.

Today the number of Israeli settlers on the West Bank exceeds 350,000. There are an additional 300,000 Jews living in settlements across the pre-1967 border in East Jerusalem. Thousands more settlement homes are planned or under construction. Despite his best efforts, John Kerry, the US secretary of state, failed to get the Netanyahu government to accept a settlement freeze as a precondition for renewing the peace talks suspended in 2010. As long as Netanyahu remains in power, it is a safe bet that no breakthrough will be achieved in the new round of talks. He is the procrastinator par excellence, the double-faced prime minister who pretends to negotiate the partition of the pizza while continuing to gobble it up.

The Oslo accords had many faults, chief of which was the failure to proscribe settlement expansion while peace talks were in progress. But the agreement was not doomed to failure from the start, as its critics allege. Oslo faltered and eventually broke down because Likud-led governments negotiated in bad faith. This turned the much-vaunted peace process into a charade. In fact, it was worse than a charade: it provided Israel with just the cover it was looking for to continue to pursue with impunity its illegal and aggressive colonial project on the West Bank.

Is Israel serious about peace? No (It never has been)

Israel’s occupation is not about security. It is all about maintaining what we should have long ago admitted is a “Carthaginian peace.

by James M Wall

Shrinking-Palestine-1024x724

Israeli Gov’t mocks ‘Peace Talks’ with announcement of 1200 New Squatter homes in Occupied Palestine 

A few weeks after a new round of U.S.-sponsored talks began between Israelis and Palestinians, Israel activated its plan to construct 1,500 apartments in East Jerusalem.

The new construction will be in the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, the project initially announced by Israel during U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s 2010 visit to Israel.

Early Monday morning, a few hours before another peace talk session was scheduled to be held at the Jericho home of chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, IDF soldiers entered the Palestinian Qalandia refugee camp.

The IDF said it was looking for a “terrorist” suspect, Yousef al-Khatib, a recently-released prisoner who had been incarcerated for ten years in an Israeli army prison.

Palestinian mourners grieve

Palestinian mourners at the funeral of one of three slain Palestinians at the Qalandia refugee camp, West Bank. Credit :Yahoo photo gallery.

These nighttime searches for “terrorists” have long been routine in Palestine refugee camps like Qalandia.

The refugee camp of Al Am’ari. Picture credit: UNRWA.

Aljazeera reports that Israeli forces have killed 14 Palestinians in the occupied territory this year, most of them in what Israel describes as “clashes”. Three Palestinians were killed in the same period in 2012. In the Qalandia camp, three Palestinian men were shot and killed during Monday’s raid.

UNRWA said one of those killed on Monday was Robin al-Abed, a 34-year-old father of four, who worked for UNRWA. He was walking to work when he was shot in the chest. The agency condemned the killing.

To protest the killings, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cancelled Monday night’s peace session.  Meanwhile, the question persists: Does Israel have a government that is serious about peace?

Perhaps a more pertinent question would be: Why should Israel even pretend to be serious about peace when it already has the peace it wants.

That peace is called “occupation”, a state of affairs in which an invading army assumes total and permanent control of an occupied population.

Israel’s occupation is sustained, encouraged and funded by the United States.  U.S. public opinion tolerates, ignores and in some sectors, strongly supports the occupation, thanks in no small measure to Israel’s propaganda assistant institutions in the U.S., including the media and the churches, agencies which are supposed to be holding the public to higher moral standards.

Note to future empire builders: Your best Fifth Column operatives will be in institutions that shape public opinion.

Israel’s occupation is not about security. It is all about maintaining what we should have long ago admitted is a “Carthaginian peace”.

A Carthaginian peace describes a deceptive agreement that over the centuries has emerged as synonymous with any plan enforced by a winning side in a conflict which leads to nothing less than the total submission of a defeated enemy.

The Versailles treaty that followed World War I is the most recent example. That treaty is a Carthaginian peace because the victorious Allied nations designed a “peace” intended to leave Germany as a weakened state. That action, of course, led to the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust.

A Carthaginian peace is not without its consequences.

The term originated in 146 BC after the Roman army totally destroyed Carthage, a destruction that left behind only ruins to be visited by tourists.

The Third Punic War  (149 BC to 146 BC) was the third and last of the Punic Wars fought between the former Phoenician colony of Carthage, and the Roman Republic. The Punic Wars were named because of the Roman name for Carthaginians: Punici, or Poenici.

The [third Punic] war was a much smaller engagement than the two previous Punic Wars and primarily consisted of a single main action, the Battle of Carthage, but resulted in the complete destruction of the city of Carthage, the annexation of all remaining Carthaginian territory by Rome, and the death or enslavement of the entire Carthaginian population. The Third Punic War ended Carthage’s independent existence.

patton<img style=”border: 1px solid black; margin: 10px;” alt=”patton” src=”http://www.veteransnewsnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/patton.jpg” width=”181″ height=”218″ />We don’t hear much about Carthage these days.  

Except when a movie script remembers. The 1970 movie Patton includes a scene in which General George S. Patton (George C. Scott, right) ordered his young aide to drive him to the ancient Carthage battlefield in present-day Tunisia.

Patton tells his aide:

“It was here. The battlefield was here. The Carthaginians defending the city were attacked by three Roman Legions. Carthaginians were proud and brave but they couldn’t hold. They were massacred. [Local] women stripped them of their tunics and their swords and lances. The soldiers lay naked in the sun, two thousand years ago. . . .”

Of course, the John Kerry-moderated peace negotiations will continue. Public opinion wants it that way.

Can we expect new Israeli housing construction in the West Bank to stop during these talks?  Will there be a halt to night raids that terrify Palestinian children and kill their parents? Don’t count on it.

The peace talks are a good gig for Israel.  They pretend a dictatorial ruler’s quest for peace without having to take any actual steps to make peace possible.

Of course, the talking will proceed.  When they finally stop, Palestine will have received a few scattered crumbs to bolster its economy. Sources within Palestine do not envision major industries like the Palestinian natural gas fields to be among the crumbs shared after the peace talks.

It sounds, in short, like the current peace talks–as we now know from a nighttime raid on Qalandia and the construction of Israeli housing in the West Bank—will end with yet another peace agreement, a Carthaginian peace agreement.

Sam Bahour, a Palestinian-American business development consultant from Youngstown, Ohio, now living in the Palestinian city of Al-Bireh in the West Bank, described in his blog, ePalestine, how he discovered the plan.

The first proclaimed leak, (in Arabic) from Secretary John Kerry’s efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as it is so often called, were published last week in the reputable London-based daily Arabic newspaper, Al-Hayat.

The source is said to be a posting on the website of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, who claim the information was leaked to them by someone attending the tightly closed negotiating sessions.

The validity of this claim and the contents of the leak are unverifiable and the infighting between Hamas and Fatah give both a vested interest to publicly damage the other.

Here are just the opening proposals in the peace plan Bahour discovered and posted:

“The Separation Wall will serve as the security borders of the ‘Jewish’ state, and the temporary border of the ‘Palestinian’ state… Both parties will acknowledge and announce this.”   There will be “an exchange in disputed territories within the plan of the Separation Wall noted above, as agreed to by both parties and with the blessing of the Arab League Follow-up Committee, as specified by this Committee to Mr. Kerry during their last visit to Washington, ranging in size from eight to ten percent of West Bank lands.” There will be also be a “freeze in the settlement projects at a number of outposts, as approved by the Israeli government, which does not apply to existing projects in large settlement communities located in the vicinity of Jerusalem and in the Jordan Valley, including the settlements of Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Har Homa, Gilo, Neve Yacov, Ramat Shlomo, Ramat Alman, Kiryat Arba’, and other densely populated settlements.”

There is more to this leaked plan, all of which may be read here.

Until John Kerry and his boss in the White House reject such Zionist extremism, this nation will continue to fund and endorse more IDF nighttime raids in refugee camps like Qalandia.

James Wall blogs at Wallwritings.

Canadian Author: Mideast Peace Talks Doomed to Failure

Interview by Kourosh Ziabari

Fars News AgencyTEHRAN (FNA)—Canadian columnist and political author Greg Felton believes that the new round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will ultimately fail and lead to nowhere as the Israeli regime is continuing to insist on its illegitimate demands and also is not ready to engage in talks on an equal footing.

According to Greg Felton, the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, is the sole loser of the talks as he already knows that he is “in the pay of Israel.”

“He [Mahmoud Abbas] and his cronies go through this moronic peace charade to give the illusion they are important and are the representatives of the Palestinians. In fact, all it does is giving diplomatic cover to Israel’s persistent expropriation of Palestine. The fact is, the only legitimate representatives of the Palestinians belong to the duly, and honestly elected Hamas government of Khaled Meshaal. Therefore, all these peace talks are illegitimate, like Israel itself,” Felton said in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency.

Greg Felton is a journalist from Canada who has won several awards for investigative reporting. For seven years, he wrote a political column for the Arabic-English bi-weekly Canadian Arab News. In his recent book The Host and the Parasite—How Israel’s Fifth Column Consumed America, Felton gives an analysis on how agents of Israel came to control the US Middle East policy. He has written extensively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In an interview with FNA, Greg Felton elaborated on his viewpoints regarding the future of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the dominance of the Israeli lobby over the Western mainstream media and the prospects of the latest round of peace talks between the representatives of the Israeli regime and the Palestinian Authority. What follows is the text of the interview.

Q: Greg: in one of your articles, you wrote about the under-representation of the pain of the Palestinian nation in the mainstream media as a result of the extensive dominance of the Israeli lobby over these media outlets. How has the Israeli lobby gained such an influence that prevents the press in the West from giving a fair and balanced coverage to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and presenting the Palestinian point of view, too?

A: This profoundly important question is the core of my book The Host and the Parasite—How Israel’s Fifth Column Consumed America, so a comprehensive, short answer is difficult. Essentially, the Lobby came to dominate the media because of three factors. First pro-Israeli Jews own the vast majority of print and electronic media, and similarly minded reporters and editors populate these media, so filtering out pro-Palestinian, pro-Arab, or Pro-Islamic news is virtually automatic.
Second, Zionist Jews are well represented in governments and the corporate plutocracy, and Israel has many trade relations with governments and corporations. Any reporter who wants access to influential people cannot risk giving respect to Palestine. Notice how repetitively inane most reporting is; it is safer to recycle official propaganda than to do real reporting.

Third, and most importantly, the cult of the Holocaust covers Israel in a cloak of faux legitimacy. There is, to all intents and purposes, no distinction in the media between Jews, Holocaust and Israel, so any accurate reporting on Palestine amounts to de facto criticism of Israel, and this invites the absurd slanders of “Holocaust denial” and “anti-Semitism.” The effect of all this intellectual terrorism and filtering is the active censorship of the Palestinian point of view.

Q: What’s your viewpoint regarding the UN General Assembly’s unanimous vote in 2012 to recognize the Palestine’s non-member observer status? How does the decision by the world countries in granting Palestine an interim membership to the UN contribute to the championing of the cause of the Palestinian nation and the alleviation of the pains of the subjugated people?

A: The vote was expected, but since the US, Canada and other pro-Israel mouthpieces actively sabotage the UN when it does useful work, the vote will have only marginal benefits for Palestine. Interestingly, the vote to admit Palestine was perfectly legal and consistent with UN procedures. In contrast, Israel’s membership was obtained illegally. In May 1947 it became the only state to be admitted conditionally. According to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 273, Israel’s membership was contingent upon making reparations to Arabs displaced in 1947-1948 and allowing them to return to their homes. Israel has never lived up to its terms of admission.

Q: The new round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has started and is slated to last for nine months. However, past experience shows that these talks lead to nowhere as the Israeli side is adamantly persisting on its illogical and expansionist demands, such as the continuation of illegal settlement constructions, the Judaization of the East Jerusalem (Al-Quds) and the siege of the Gaza Strip. So, why has the Palestinian authority been deceived into holding new talks with Israel once again?

A: The Palestinian Authority is not deceived. It knows the corrupt reality that allows it to exist. The PA holds “power” by virtue of Israel’s sufferance and Mahmoud Abbas is essentially in the pay of Israel. He and his cronies go through this moronic peace charade to give the illusion they are important and are the representatives of the Palestinians. In fact, all it does is giving diplomatic cover to Israel’s persistent expropriation of Palestine. The fact is, the only legitimate representatives of the Palestinians belong to the duly, and honestly elected Hamas government of Khaled Meshaal. Therefore, all these “peace” talks are illegitimate, like Israel itself, and designed solely to accomplish nothing short of Palestine’s acquiescence in its own destruction. It is a sad fact of history that oppressed peoples are betrayed by their leaders.

Q: The United States is maintaining its political and economic sponsorship of Israel, and seems to be unwilling to drop its unconditional support. As far as this support continues, Israel will obdurately defy international law, kill the Palestinian civilians, imprison political activists who oppose the occupation and confiscate the rights of the people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. What’s the reason the United States supports Israel so blindly that it doesn’t really pay attention to Israel’s lawlessness and violations?

A: The US does not support Israel blindly for the simple reason that “the US” as a republic no longer exists. As I explain in The Host and the Parasite, the 1980 presidential election that put Ronald Reagan in the White House amounted to a quiet coup d’état. Among other things, it opened Congress and the Pentagon to unfettered Israeli occupation and domination. Over the next 20 years the US would surrender its independence as it accelerated its mutation into Isramerica. It makes no sense to debate if the US supports Israel when Israel owns the government.

Q: What do you think of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement and the success it has made in achieving such goals as preventing Israel from infringing upon the rights of the Palestinian people, impeding the construction of illegal settlements and convincing the Tel Aviv leaders to abide by their obligations under the international law with regard to the Palestinian refugees and the besieged people of the Gaza Strip?

A: The BDS movement has had considerable success because it has attacked Israel where it is most vulnerable—its image. Like any unjust society, Israel needs to project the illusion of being civilized, and therefore campaigns that explode this illusion are most effective. Just recently, the EU banned all trade in goods manufactured in Occupied Palestine, a significant blow. The BDS movement is hobbled by servile governments that (of course!) denounce it as “anti-Semitic” and conclude free-trade agreements with Israel, but the popular movement is one hope for the future, just as the Jewish War Veterans of World War One led the successful worldwide boycott against Nazi Germany.

Q: What do you think about the Israeli lobby’s growing influence in such countries as Canada? Here in Iran, many politicians and a great number of people firmly believe it was Israel that stimulated the Canadian government to cease its bilateral relations with Iran and close its embassy in Tehran. It’s clearly understandable that the Israeli lobby is trying to sabotage Iran’s relations with the outside world. Do you agree?

A: Israel has always had a disproportionate influence in Canada. In fact, Canadians like Lester Pearson and Justice Ivan Rand have been at the centre of major decisions that benefited Israel at the expense of Palestine. The difference with Stephen Harper is that he is a thoroughgoing fascist and a devoted Zionist. He is not Canada’s prime minister; he is Israel’s satrap in Ottawa, and nothing emanating from this government should be considered “Canadian.”

Q: An important question regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the way the Western mass media stigmatize and vilify the critics of the actions and policies of the Israeli regime as anti-Semites. Anti-Semitism is an excuse that is blindly used to silence the voices critical of Israel’s misconduct and illegal behavior. However, the global public opinion needs to draw a line between opposition to the apartheid policies of Israel as an illegitimate political entity, and anti-Semitism, as it’s defined by the historians. What do you think?

A: To begin, “anti-Semitism” does not exist—never has. It is an artificial term invented in 1873 by Wilhelm Marr, an anti-Jewish German journalist who needed to redefine Jews as an ethnic, not a religious, group to justify official discrimination; hence, he coined the term Semitismus, based on the linguistic term “Semitic.” By this linguistic corruption, Marr was able to attack not only Jews but the larger concept of Jewishness. The fact that historians and others use this term shows how thoroughly Jewish fascists have co-opted the racialist mentality of German fascists, and how completely we have accepted it. I see little need to be precious about condemning Israel, given that Jews are not the least bit circumspect about smearing Arabs and Iranians because of their religion. The best treatment of the nature of Jews, Jewishness and zionism is Gilad Atzmon’s outstanding book The Wandering Who.

Sham Peace Talks Continue

gaza-1-16

by Stephen Lendman

Why bother. Talks are doomed to fail. So did multiple previous rounds. Israel wants things its way. Demands masquerade as give and take.

According to one PLO official, “Israel will dodge, evade and propose unachievable demands to promote a conclusion that negotiations are futile, and so Israel will continue to steal lands as they are doing now.”

It’s hard imagining Palestinian officials agreeing to talks rigged to fail. Longtime Israeli collaborators do it willingly. It’s for generous benefits they derive. Crime pays well. So does betrayal.
On August 14, US/Israeli orchestrators met with PA’s Saeb Erekat and Fatah official Mohammed Shtayyeh.

He’s a technocrat. He’s managing director of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR).

He’s founding member of the Palestinian Development Fund. He’s a former Palestinian public works and housing minister.

He’s a founding Palestinian Institute for Regional Studies member. He’s collaborating with Israel for personal self-interest.

Talks discussed guidelines and agenda issues. They did so despite Israel bombing Gaza. Warplanes fired missiles at multiple targets. Similar attacks happen often. Israel invents pretexts to do so. Innocent civilians die.

Talks continued despite Palestinian fishermen attacked at sea. They’re at the same time as outrage over accelerated settlement construction.

Stealing Palestinian land’s no olive branch. Nor is releasing 26 long held political prisoners. Their freedom’s subject to restrictions.

Some weren’t allowed to go home. They’re vulnerable to rearrest. In 2004, Yasser Arafat said “(t)here will be no peace until all Palestinian prisoners are released.” Palestinian supporters today feel the same way.

Thousands of Bedouins await dispossession. Israeli courts spurned them. Israel wants land they own. It wants it for exclusive Jewish development.

In July, a Beersheba court rejected Bedouins’ appeal. They urged delaying another court-ordered property demolition and dispossession ruling.

It’s their land. It doesn’t matter. On August 15, efforts to displace them began. They’re losing everything. Rogue states operate that way. Israel’s one of the worst.
One Sawah village resident spoke for others, saying:

“We requested that Israeli authorities give us a delay until we arrange to move into a neighborhood in the nearby village of Hurah which is being expanded, but they refused.”

Jewish rights alone matter. Palestinians ones don’t. Sham peace talks won’t change things. Decades of occupation harshness continue.

Expecting this time’s different reflects Einstein’s definition of insanity. Expecting success after decades of failure explains it. Israel’s worst government in history assures it.
Hardliners are all take and no give. US orchestrator John Kerry’s two-faced. He’s Israel’s man at State.

Publicly he’s concerned about settlement expansions. At the same time, he doesn’t think proceeding hampers talks.

Privately he’s comfortable with build, build, built. He’s been that way all along. In the Senate, he supported them for years.

He said we knew “there was going to be a continuation of some building in certain places, and I think the Palestinians understand that.”

Israel announced accelerated construction. Doing so reflects land grabbing writ large. It spurns equitable conflict resolution.

It reveals longstanding Israeli business as usual. It shows contempt for rule of law principles. It makes justice a four-letter word.

It exposes Washington’s true face. It’s in lockstep with whatever Israel does. Palestinian rights don’t matter. Talks won’t change things.

It bears repeating. Kerry is Israel’s man at State. He’s in lockstep with its worst policies. His pro-Israel voting record is second to none. He’s committed to maintaining a longstanding special relationship. Whatever Israel wants he’s for.

He’s always been that way. For sure he is now. He favors moving America’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Doing so is illegal. In 1947, the UN declared it an international city. It remains so today.
Kerry calls Jerusalem “Israel’s indisputable capital.” In 1999, he signed a letter criticizing Clinton for not moving America’s embassy there.

He ignored international law doing so. He’s throwing Palestinians under the bus. He pretends otherwise. He supports continued occupation harshness.

On August 13, Robert Fisk headlined “Any other ‘statesman’ who negotiated peace like John Kerry would be treated as a thief.”

“Has (he) no shame,” he asked? “First he cuddles up to both Palestinians and Israelis and announces the renewal of a ‘peace process which the Palestinians don’t trust and the Israelis don’t want.”
“Then Israel announces that it will build 1,200 new homes for Jews – and Jews only – on occupied Palestinian land.”

“And now Kerry tells the Palestinians – the weak and occupied Palestinians – that they are running out of time if they want a state of their own.”

“Then came the ultimate lie: that the ‘question of settlements’ is ‘best resolved by solving the problem of security and borders.’ ”

Doing so justifies lawless land grabbing. Millions worldwide condemn it. So do many Israelis.
Kerry “go(es) all out for ‘peace.’ ” He does so on Israeli terms. “Cabined, cribbed (and) confined” Palestinians have to “shut up” and accept them.

Kerry insists “hurry, hurry, hurry. Book your seats now, or it will be a full house,” said Fisk. ‘What price ‘Palestine?’ ”

Over decades, Washington vetoed 39 Security Council resolutions criticizing Israel. In 2011, it blocked one condemning continued settlement construction. All other SC members supported it. So do over 90% of world community members.

At the time, US officials claimed resolution backing harmed peace prospects. How wasn’t explained. Arab street reaction expressed outrage. It did so justifiably. America’s position is untenable.
Palestinian political prisoner Marwan Barghouti calls Washington’s one-sided Israeli support a crime against humanity. Bouthaina Shaaban condemned America’s veto, saying:

“The importance of what is happening today in the Arab world is the fall of the colonial dimension of the official regime, which has ignored the crimes against humanity in Palestine¦”

America’s veto reflects “eternal shame for western ‘democracies…’ (L)ike tens of other(s), (it) contributed to the perpetuation of Israeli suppression of the Palestinian people, colonizing their land, expelling and condemning them to life in refugee camps.”

MJ Rosenberg said:

“It is not hard to explain the Obama administration’s decision to veto a resolution embodying positions that we support.”

“It is the power of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which (lobbied) furiously for a US veto.”

One-sided Israeli support is “why US standing in the Middle East will continue to deteriorate.”
Akiva Eldar thanked Obama. He did so for showing “his true colors.” He’s “two-faced.”
“The lame excuse that denunciation of construction in the settlements would harm ‘the peace process’ constitutes a victory of opportunism over morality,” he said.

Yaron London said Israel’s “relying on a sinking superpower that is abandoning its pretenses to lead the world”

Haaretz editors said “Palestinians lost the vote, (but) achieved their goal: They exposed for all to see the international isolation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration and embarrassed the US.”

“The world’s patience over continued construction in the settlements is wearing thin.” Other observers agree. In time, it’ll be entirely gone.

Peace prospects remain distant. One day Palestinians will be free. Occupation harshness can’t last forever. What can’t go on forever, won’t.

Hopefully time will resolve injustice. Some things are worth waiting for. Peace, equity and justice matter most. Patience brings its own reward.

Edmond Burke said it “achieve(s) more than force.” Rousseau called it “bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Israel : The Killer of Peace

 The Israeli Jewish settlers of the Palestinian territory, which was occupied by Israel in 1967, are dictating unilaterally the demarcation of the borders with any future Palestinian statnetanyahue, thus rendering its creation impossible; holding the Israeli decision-making process hostage, they have become the real killers of peace, who brought the twenty –year old Palestinian – Israeli peace process to its current stalemate.

As early as the summer of 1995, the Iraqi born Israeli – British “new historian” Avi Shlaim wrote in the Journal of Palestine Studies: “The settlers now are the ones who determine Israel ’s internal political agenda.”

Their numbers then were in the tens of thousands; now there are three quarters of a million settlers. The Head of the “Samaria Regional Council” of the Israeli illegal settlements in the Israeli – occupied Palestinian West Bank (WB) of River Jordan, Gershon Mesika, on this August 6 boasted there will be one million settlers there “in just three years time,” telling “Arutz Sheva” online that “the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria (i.e. the Palestinian WB) has passed the point of no return.”

Writing in the “National Interest” on September 6, 2012, the President of the U.S./Middle East Project, Henry Siegman, agreed that “ Israel ’s colonial… settlement project has achieved its intended irreversibility, not only because of its breadth and depth but also because of the political clout of the settlers and their supporters within Israel.”

When Benjamin Netanyahu assumed his second term as prime minister, with the settler Avigdor Lieberman as his foreign minister, the German Süddeutsche Zeitung, quoted by Spiegel on March 17, 2009, wrote: “He and Lieberman are the gravediggers of the Middle East peace process. They want to maintain the occupation and expand the settlements.”

The electoral campaign of Netanyahu for his first term in 1995 was blamed by Israeli media for creating the right environment which led to the assassination of the “father’ of the first Oslo accord for peace with Palestinians in 1993; ever since the “peace process” has been deadlocked.

The incumbent government of Netanyahu’s third premiership is now described as the “settlers’ government” or “a settler –friendly government,” the survival of which is secured by a Knesset led by Speaker Yuli Edelstein, himself an illegal settler of the Neve Daniel colony in the WB, who called recently for the annexation of two thirds of the WB area.

This is a call that was also repeatedly voiced by the pro – settler Jewish Home party, a partner to Netanyahu’s ruling coalition, which holds three key ministries, including the housing ministry, and controls the parliamentary finance committee.

Netanyahu declared his backing for the Jewish Home’s plan. Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett was the chairman of the council of the illegal settlements in the WB and Gaza Strip and is still an advocate of imposing Israeli sovereignty unilaterally on “Area C” in the WB. Uzi Landau, of Lieberman’s Yisraeli Beiteinu party, has the tourism portfolio. Likud’s ardent supporter of settlements, Moshe Yaalon, has the ministry of defense. Foreign minister’s deputy, Zeev Elkin, is himself a settler.

The education minister, Shai Piron, of Yair Lapid’s so-called “centrist” Yesh Atid party, is a settler rabbi; Lapid himself who is the finance minister supports the “growth” of settlements even during peace talks and rejects any Palestinian sovereignty under any pact in eastern Jerusalem .

Deputy Minister of Defense, Danny Danon of Likud, was quoted by The Jewish Press on August 8 as saying that the “views” of Israel ’s chief negotiator, the Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, whose Hatnua party holds six seats only in the settler –dominated Knesset, “do not represent the majority of the current government.” Livni’s role in Netanyahu’s “government of settlers” seems a cosmetic one intended only to circumvent the U.S. pressure for the resumption of the peace talks.

In Israel ’s proportional system, the voting settlers and the pro – settler political parties and groups have over the years accumulated enough political clout that is far – in – excess of their numbers to determine the internal balance of power, decide the electoral outcome and dictate their own agenda. They are holding the system hostage. So far they have become the real killers of peace.

On July 28, 2013, Barak Ravid wrote in Haaretz that Netanyahu “is acting so weak … like a prisoner … a hostage” of his pro –settler coalition partners.

During the interval between the first and the second rounds of the recently resumed negotiations, Israel approved a “new” settlement and 1700 settlement units in eastern Jerusalem; the government included 90 settlements in a new list of “national priority development areas” eligible for special benefits; the list included also the three formerly dubbed by the Israeli government as “illegal outposts,” namely Bruchin, Rachelim and Sansana.

U.S. Lip Service

On August 11, 2013, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reacted by reiterating from Bogota , Colombia his country’s “unchanged” position since 1967: The U.S. “views all of the settlements as illegitimate” and had “communicated that policy very clearly to Israel .”

Ironically, “Israel’s settlement project” has evolved “irreversible” nonetheless, mocking the U.S. repeatedly declared illegitimacy thereof as merely a lip service that has been all throughout a thinly veiled cover of the U.S. actual protection of the accelerating expansion ever since of “Israel’s colonial” project.

No surprise then Kerry from Colombia “expected” what Peter Beinart described in the Daily Beast on August 12 as the “Opening of settlement floodgates” just two days ahead of the second round of the U.S. – sponsored Palestinian – Israeli negotiations, which were resumed in Washington D.C. on July 29, 2013.

Worse still, Kerry pragmatically defended the new “opening of settlement floodgates” as an incentive which “underscores the importance of getting to the table … quickly,” ignoring insensitively the Palestinian reaction.

On May 18 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Netanyahu must choose between settlements and peace. Secretary General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation organization (PLO), Yasser Abed Rabbo, and the PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erakat said they were considering not to participate in the second round of the talks, scheduled in Jerusalem on August 14. Member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Hanan Ashrawi, condemned Israel ‘s latest settlement plans as “confidence-destruction measures.” Her co – member, Wasel Abu Yusuf, concluded that the PLO committed a “big mistake” by joining the Kerry – sponsored talks. Spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that Israel ‘s latest plans “aim at obstructing the peace efforts.”

However, the PLO is too weak to translate its words into deeds and challenge kerry’s statement that the issue of settlements should not derail the resumed peace talks.

Israelis without Compass

Americans for Peace Now, in a report titled “Settlements & the Netanyahu Government: A Deliberate Policy of Undermining the Two-State Solution,” said that in “its policies and actions” this government “disclose a clear intention to use settlements to systematically undermine and render impossible a realistic, viable two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.”

In a roundtable on the sidelines of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on September 22, 2011, former U.S. President Bill Clinton blamed the “Netanyahu administration” and what he called a “demographic shift in Israel ,” which was an indirect reference to the settlement project, for the failure of the peace process.

In “A Message from a Longstanding Zionist to the Israeli People,” Robert K. Lifton, a former president of The American Jewish Congress, on this August 8 urged Israelis that they “must make clear the direction they want their country to pursue,” “separate Israel from the Palestinians,” and “avoid being ensnared in a bi – national state.”

However, Lifton’s appeal sounds like a cry in the settlers’ wilderness. Israelis have yet to liberate themselves from being hostage to these killers of peace. Until then, Israelis will continue to navigate without compass, rejecting the one – state solution, the two – state solution, the bi – national state solution and every other proposed solution for peace, except their peace – killing colonial settlement project, which Henry Siegman, referred to by The Forward  on October 5, 2012 as a “Jewish elder statesman,” believes is “suicidal.”

Most likely, the settlers are drawing on the fact that Israel itself is the product of a “colonial settlement project,” which so far has proved successful; they are expectedly betting also on the “unbreakable” support of the other successful colonial settlement project that has become the United States of America .

 Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. nassernicola@ymail.com

Decades of Israeli – Palestinian Peace Talks Failure: 50 Reasons Why

by Stephen Lendman

Paul Simon’s 1975 “Still Crazy After All These Years” album featured the hit song “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”

Subverting peace perhaps is simpler. Four decades of futile Israeli/Palestinian talks prove it. There never was a peace process. There’s none now.

It’s a convenient fiction. It’s an illusion. It’s fake. It’s a sham. It’s a charade. Pretense pretends otherwise. It substitutes for reality.

Here’s why. Israel deplores peace. So does Washington. They’re warrior states. They’re not peacemakers. They never were. They’re not now.

They proliferate violence and instability. Their entire histories reflect it. Peace is inherently abhorrent. It defeats their agenda. Imperial marauding requires conflict.

Rule of law principles don’t matter. They’re systematically spurned. Racism is institutionalized. So are apartheid, colonization, barbaric persecution, and injustice.

Imagine holding talks with Palestine’s legitimate government excluded. Imagine letting longtime Israeli collaborators represent them.

Imagine longstanding Israeli intransigence. Imagine involving Washington. Imagine it acting as interlocutor. Imagine letting it orchestrate proceedings.

Imagine the worst possible outcome. It’s certain. It’s guaranteed. It’s decided. Talks are illegitimate. They’re theater. They assure failure and betrayal.

Palestine’s still occupied. It’s militarized. Gaza’s besieged. On August 6, Israeli armored vehicles and militarized bulldozers invaded.

They targeted central Gaza’s Al-Boreij refugee camp. They struck other areas. They fired live rounds. They terrorized residents. They uprooted farmland.

They conduct frequent attacks. They launch air strikes. They kill innocent civilians. They do so with impunity.

They conduct multiple daily West Bank/East Jerusalem incursions. They terrorize men, women and children. They arrest them.

They torture them. They hold witch-hunt show trials. Guilt by accusation is policy.

Bulldozing homes continues. Palestinians are dispossessed of property and land. Israel confiscates it. It controls about 60% of the West Bank.

It wants all valued areas Judaized. It wants Jerusalem as its exclusive capital. It denies land for peace.
It wants Palestinian resources exploited. It says one thing. It does another. It wants Arab MPs excluded from Knesset representation.

They’re little more than potted plants now. They’re excluded from policymaking. Over 20 Hamas PA legislators are imprisoned. It’s for belonging to the wrong party.

Israel treats Arabs like subhumans. They’re denied all rights. Diaspora Palestinians can’t return. Praying to the wrong God is criminalized. So is wanting to live free in sovereign Palestine.
Israel deplores peace. Fascist rule spurns justice. Confiscating Arab land continues. So does settlement construction. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett wants unlimited expansions. He prioritizes development.

He doesn’t acknowledge the word occupation. He wants all valued West Bank land annexed. So does Netanyahu. Israel’s government is its most extremist in history. It’s all take. It’s no give.
Bennett’s a software entrepreneur multimillionaire. He heads the fascist Habayit Hayehudi party. It’s part of Netanyahu’s coalition government.

He represents hardline extremism. According to Haaretz editors, he’s one of the “new politics” leaders.

He’s “many things, but more than anything he is a nuisance.” He’s “a nuisance to any Israeli who is hoping to live in a better place.”

He represent settler extremists. They terrorize Palestinians. The do so with impunity. Formally, Bennett’s economy minister. Practically he’s “minister for development of the settlements.”
He “feigns innocence.” He “border(s) on boorishness and racism.”

“What occupation,” he claims? “A Palestinian state never existed here.” He calls political Palestinian prisoners “terrorists.”

“If we capture (them),” he says, “we need to just kill them. I’ve already killed a lot of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that.”

He calls interference with Israel plundering Palestinian resources “economic terror.” He promises unabated settlement construction. He wants it accelerated.

Along with other Habayit Hayehudi extremists, he believes his mission is enforcing “Jewish sovereignty from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.”

He spurns peace and reconciliation. He’s got lots of coalition government allies. They assure continued conflict. They betray Jews and Arabs alike.

Israel told John Kerry construction will continue during peace talks. Settlements will keep expanding.
East Jerusalem construction tenders will be issued in days. Confiscated Palestinian land will be used. According to Bennett, “no construction freeze” exists.

Development continues unabated. It’s extensive. Israeli hardliners insist. According to sources close to Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel:

“At the moment there are 2,500 units ready to be marketed in the Jerusalem area, and we will market them at the first possible moment.”

“However, at this time we know of no date at all for this to happen.”
Ariel directed the Jerusalem District “to prepare for the marketing of land in the city as if it can be done tomorrow morning.”

In November 2012, tenders were published for selling Pisgat Ze’ev land. It’s in the northwest Ramot neighborhood. About 600 units will be built.

Additional tenders will be issued. They include 800 southern Gilo units, 1,200 southwestern Gilo ones, 100 between Gilo and Beit Safafa, and from 1,000 – 2,000 in Har Homa Gimel.

On August 6, Haaretz headlined “Israel to begin construction on new Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem,” saying:

It’s on stolen Palestinian land. “Housing Minister Uri Ariel and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat plan to attend a ceremony next week”

They’ll “lay the cornerstone for a new Jewish neighborhood near Jabal Mukkaber.” It’s a “predominantly Arab neighborhood in southeast Jerusalem.”

The announcement followed what’s discussed above. Widespread settlement construction continues unabated.

Dozens more units were approved. They’re not the first Jewish community adjacent to Jabal Mukkaber.

“Nof Zion, a large, gated apartment complex, where Jews live in the midst of a Palestinian village, is nearby as well.”

“Like Nof Zion, the new neighborhood is not an ideologically motivated settlement built by a right-wing non-profit group, but a neighborhood constructed by a private developer who caters to national religious Jews.”

Ceremonial cornerstone-laying precedes municipal elections. Mayor Barkat seeks support. He wants another term. Stealing Palestinian land helps him.

According to a new Israeli Democracy Institute poll, most Israelis oppose withdrawing to 1967 borders.

Nearly 80% say peace talks have little chance of succeeding. Most reject pre-1967 borders with land swaps.

They’re against diaspora Palestinians returning. They support business as usual. They didn’t surprise.
Gershon Mesika heads the Samaria Regional Council. “The population beyond the Green Line currently numbers over 730,000 Jewish citizens,” he said. Other estimates place it between 600,000 and 650,000.

Israelis occupy stolen Palestinian land. Settlement expansions won’t stop. It’s beyond the point of no return, says Mesika. He expects one million settlers in three years.

So does Samaria Liaison Office Coordinator David Ha’ivri. Peace process illusions persist. Reality explains otherwise.

A Final Comment

North American Palestinian activists reject fake peace talks. They issued the following statement:
“We, the undersigned Palestinians and Palestinian organizations in shatat and exile, write today to express our firm opposition to the resumption of bilateral Israeli/Palestinian negotiations under U.S. auspices in Washington DC, today, July 29.

<img class=”alignright wp-image-263298″ style=”border: 1px solid black; margin: 5px;” alt=”peace” src=”http://www.veteranstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/peace.jpg” width=”367″ height=”216″ />For twenty years, the negotiations have not served Palestinian interests. Through countless sessions of futile negotiations, Israeli settlement construction has escalated, thousands of Palestinian political prisoners are held behind bars and Palestinian rights – including Palestinian refugees’ right to return – are no closer to implementation.
peaceWhile the Netanyahu government is planning the massive dispossession of Palestinians in the Naqab via the Prawer Plan, the negotiations serve only to provide a thin veneer of legitimacy to the aggressive policies of Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Our rights – the rights of the Palestinian people – and our land – the entire land of Palestine – are not for sale or bartering at the negotiations table.

That this process is presided over by the United States government, which provides $3 billion annually in military aid to Israel, and specifically by Martin Indyk, former research director at infamous Israel lobby organization the America Israel Public Affairs Committee, only adds insult to injury and makes clear that these negotiations will bring nothing of value or benefit to the Palestinian people.

Today, we say: PA President Mahmoud Abbas does not represent us! Our rights cannot and will not be bargained away at a negotiating table in Washington, DC.

Instead, we affirm that the Palestinian people are one people and our cause is one cause. Our people have struggled for 65 years in order to achieve the liberation of the land and people of Palestine and the implementation of the right of Palestinian refugees to return their homes.

As Palestinians in shatat/diaspora, we are not being represented here, and we demand to reclaim our voice and role. We do not accept these negotiations, and our rights, our people and our land are not for sale!”
Signatories:

  • Al-Awda NY – Palestine Right to Return Coalition
  • Al-Jisser Group
  • Al-Nakba Awareness Project
  • Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign – Vancouver
  • Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign
  • Canadian Students’ Coalition for Palestine
  • Labor for Palestine
  • Palestine Solidarity Group – Chicago
  • Palestinian American Society – Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
  • Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights at McMaster University
  • Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights at University of Calgary
  • Students for Justice in Palestine at Florida Atlantic University
  • Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College
  • Students for Justice in Palestine at Hunter College
  • Students for Justice in Palestine at College of Staten Island
  • Students for Justice in Palestine at John Jay College
  • Toronto Students for Justice in Palestine
  • US Palestinian Community Network
  • Voice of Palestine
  • Women for Palestine
  • 1948 Lest We Forget
  • Abdullah Khalifeh, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Abe Deeb, Dublin, Ireland
  • Abeer Fadda, Heidelberg, Germany
  • Ahmad Ali Bawab, Amman, Jordan
  • Alaa Milbes, Los Angeles, CA
  • Ali Salama, London
  • Amador Navidi, Australia
  • Amani Barakat, Moorpark, California
  • Amar Husain, USA
  • Amer Shurrab, Monterey, CA
  • Amer Taha, Houston, Texas
  • Amin Arar, Amman
  • Amin Husain, New York City
  • Aya Dama, London
  • Bader Takriti, Montreal, QC
  • Bargas Hatem
  • Bianca Shana’a, Paris
  • Cynthia George Taha, Bellingham
  • Daleen Elshaer, Falls Church, VA
  • Dana Olwan, Syracuse, NY
  • Deena Duwaik, Aurora, CO
  • Dina Omar, New Haven, CT
  • Dr. Anita Shanley, Edinburgh
  • Dr. C. Nureddin Awad, Cuba
  • Dr. Ismail Zayid, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Dr. Jamal Abu-Attiyeh, Oxford, Ohio
  • Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo, Texas
  • Edgar Tawfiq Zarifeh, Toronto
  • Ehab A. Alrmoony, Amman, Jordan
  • Ehab Shqair, Pacifica, CA
  • Eid Masri, Alta Loma, CA
  • Ezdihar Shalabi, Oak Forest
  • Fadi Saba, San Jose, USA
  • Fadi Shbita, Montreal, Canada
  • Falastine As-Saleh, Palestine
  • Farah S., Canada
  • Farid Bitar, New Jersey
  • Farouq Shafie, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Faten Toubasi, Toronto, Canada
  • Fayez Abdel-Fattah, Poland
  • Feras Al-Hefnawi, USA
  • Fuad Abboud, Calgary, Canada
  • G. Nijim, Indiana, USA
  • Ghada Talhami, Evanston, Illinois, US
  • Ghasan Taha, Bellingham
  • Ghassan Alami, VA
  • Ghassan Al-Sahli
  • Gihad Ali, Chicago, IL
  • Haitham Salawdeh, Wauwatisa, WI
  • Hala George, Scotland
  • Hamed Khalil Awad Ahmad, Amman, Jordan
  • Hanaa Yosef, Lebanon
  • Hanna Gamal Eldin, Philadelphia, PA
  • Hanna Kawas, chairperson, Canada Palestine Association and co-host, Voice of Palestine
  • Hatem Abudayyeh, Chicago, IL
  • Hazem Ghanam, Coquitlam, BC, Canada
  • Helmy Mostafa, Jackson, PA
  • Hicham Harati
  • Hicham Harati
  • Ida Audeh, Colorado
  • Imad Hatu, Chicago
  • Imad Shalbak, Bayshore, NY, USA
  • Inas Abbas, Berlin, Germany
  • Isam Nubani, Canada
  • Issam Al-Yamani, Toronto, Canada
  • Iyad Arar, Edmonton, Canada
  • Iyas AlQasem, London, UK
  • Jadallah Safa, Brazil
  • Jafar Ramini, London
  • Jawad Jaser Abukhalaf, NJ, US
  • Jilnar Ramahi, Amman
  • Kamal Boullata, France
  • Kamal Hassan, Grants Pass, Oregon, USA
  • Karmel al-Ramahi, Jordan
  • Khaled Barakat, Vancouver, Canada
  • Khaled Mouammar, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
  • Lamis J. Deek, J.D., NY/ Huwarra Nablus Palestine
  • Lamis Kayali-Sakr, Rockville, Maryland
  • Lutuf Ghantous, Wilmette, IL
  • Maher Alrai, Minnesota
  • Mahmoud Abdulal, Sweden
  • Majdi Rabah, Bahrain
  • Mariam Abu Thallam, Amman
  • Marsilio Salem
  • May Abboud, Bethesda, MD, USA
  • Mazin Al Nahawi
  • Mohamed Salah El Ramahi, Algiers
  • Mohammad Ghbari, Jordan
  • Monadel Herzallah, California
  • Monira Kitmitto, Toronto, Canada
  • Moussa H Kassis, Girard, Ohio
  • Munir Atall, Boston, MA
  • Nabil Ayad, California
  • Nabil Keilani, San Diego, CA, USA
  • Nabila Mango, San Mateo, California
  • Nadia Shoufani, Toronto, Canada
  • Nahla Abdo, Canada
  • Nasser Mashni, Australia
  • Nicola Abu-Khalil, Germany
  • Nicolas A. Sayegh, Laval, Quebec, Canada
  • Nidal A. Barakat, Los Angeles, California
  • Noura Khouri, Oakland
  • Rabab Abdulhadi, California
  • Rabiah Nezar, Lansing
  • Rafe Abdulla, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • Rafik Neme, Colombia
  • Rajai Ghattas, Vernon, BC, Canada
  • Raji Abuzalaf, Hawaii
  • Rami Alsaqqa, Vancouver, Canada
  • Ramy Abdeljabbar, Paterson, NJ
  • Ramzi Issa, North Bergen, NJ
  • Rana Hamadeh, Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • Randa Kamal, San Francisco, California
  • Rania Lafi, Amman, Jordan
  • Rania Laswi, Amman, Jordan
  • Rania Madi, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Rena Zuabi, Palestine
  • Rob Moubarak, Ontario, Canada
  • Sabha Salman, Jerusalem
  • Sabrina Azraq, Toronto, Canada
  • Said Shehadeh, California
  • Salah Al-Aswad, Hamburg, Germany
  • Salah Fakhri Khalaf, Hamilton, ON
  • Salim A.S. Al-Nabahin
  • Salma Abu Ayyash, Cambridge, MA
  • Samah Sabawi, Melbourne, Australia
  • Samar Yunis, Kuwait
  • Sami Joseph, Bucks, UK
  • Sami Zubi, Canada
  • Samia A. Halaby
  • Samia Shannan, Jerusalem, Palestine
  • Samira Ahmad, Illinois, US
  • Sana Ibrahim, USA
  • Sana Kassem, Athens, Greece
  • Shahin Shabanian, Williamsport, PA, US
  • Suhail Shafi, Ozark
  • Suleiman Hodali, Los Angeles, CA
  • Sumbal Naz
  • Talal A. Kanaan
  • Tarek Abu-Jbarah, Boston, MA
  • Tarek Zaher, Terre Haute, IN
  • Tareq Salameh, Alexandria, USA
  • Tariq Alardah, Dubai, UAE
  • Tawfiq Mousa, California
  • Wafaa Adwan, Palestine
  • Waqar Mohsin, Manchester
  • Wesam al-Khatib, Jordan
  • Wesam Cooley, Calgary, Alberta
  • Yahya Ghunaim, Los Angeles, CA
  • Yara Erian, London, Ontario
  • Yasmeen Daher, Montreal, Canada
  • Yasmine Wasfi, Doylestown, PA
  • Ziyad Zaitoun, Seattle

John Kerry’s Israeli-Palestinian talks are a cover for aggression and annexation

 

The so-called “peace talks” initiated by John Kerry between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are meaningless theatrics that are part of a stratagem concealing and obscuring the real intentions of the US and Israel in the Middle East.

When US President Barak Obama went to visit Israel, in March  2013, the peace talks were not even a priority for his  administration. The world was bluntly told by Obama that the  so-called “peace process” was not even on the agenda for  discussion between the US and Israeli governments. Hence, the big  question on a lot of minds: why have the talks become a priority  for the US government now?

  The “peace talks” illusion

The main purpose of the so-called peace process has been to serve  as a theatrical distraction. Initially, the Israeli-Palestinian  talks were used to keep the Palestinian people and Arabs at bay.  The peace talks and negotiations acquired another dimension with  time, when they became a convenient tool for distracting the  international public and influencing global public opinion by  presenting Israel as a reasonable entity willing to make  concessions for peace and security.

On the latter point mentioned above, on the concept of   “Israeli concessions” to the Palestinians, there is a  catch. Israeli concessions only exist in theoretical terms if  Israel’s illicit fancies are considered legitimate. In reality,  there are no Israeli concessions, especially when international  law is the measuring stick to evaluate the Israeli-Palestinian  conflict. Tel Aviv unlawfully claims the entire West Bank, which  it has no legal entitlement to under international law, as its  own territory. Israeli leaders present the attenuation of their  territorial claims on the West Bank, which they have been busy  annexing during the bogus peace talks, as some type of concession  to the Palestinians.

The so-called “Israeli settlements” in East Jerusalem and  the West Bank are categorically rejected by the United Nations as  illegal. They are a brazen violation of international law.  Israel’s settlements in the West Bank have unanimously been  identified as a war crime under the 1998 Rome Statute of the  International Criminal Court by all of the International Criminal  Court’s judges. The US is also an accomplice in this, because  Washington has prevented international action from being taken  against Israel. A spade should be called a spade: these Israeli  settlements in the West Bank are nothing more than Israeli  colonies.

  There are no Israeli concessions, just demands

It is comical to hear US Secretary of State John Kerry ask for  both Israel and the PA to make “reasonable compromises.”   To put it bluntly, it has actually been the Palestinians which  have made the real compromises and then, on top of it, have been  the ones that have been forced by both the US government and  Israel into gradually making more and more concessions. In  addition to the recognition of the approximate 80% of Palestine  that is demarcated within Israel’s 1967 borders by Palestinian  officials, about 60% or more of the West Bank’s territorial space  is occupied by Israeli settlements/colonies.

The Israeli Hafrada (Separation) Wall or Apartheid Wall has cut  off East Jerusalem and the most economically important lands of  the West Bank off from their Palestinian inhabitants and owners.  Palestinians are not even allowed to manage their own resources  and their fresh water is stolen on a daily basis by the Israelis.  Notwithstanding all this, the corrupt Palestinian negotiators,  which have no popular or legal mandate to represent the  Palestinian people, have been willing to recognize and keep the  bulk of the Israeli settlements/colonies in the West Bank (on the  best land) and to forfeit the legal rights provided by the  Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International  Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to the Palestinian people  to return to their occupied homes.

Palestinian protesters wave the national flag as their comrades climb Israel's controversial separation barrier. (AFP Photo / Abbas Momani)Palestinian protesters wave the national flag as their comrades climb Israel’s controversial separation barrier. (AFP Photo / Abbas Momani)

Israel does not want a genuine negotiated settlement with the  Palestinians. It merely wants them to be what can best be  referred to as “Fourth Worlders.” In fact, establishing  more settlements/colonies in the West Bank has become a national  priority for Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Aside from annexing  the best land in the West Bank, Tel Aviv wants to dictate its  terms for the creation of a ‘Palestinian Bantustan’ that  will be comprised of several disconnected enclaves essentially  controlled by Israel via proxies and will lack any real  legitimacy, any real political independence, and any real  economic capabilities.

  The Palestinian Authority does as it is ordered by Washington and  Tel Aviv

Since the Oslo Accords, the occupation of the West Bank has  merely been outsourced to Palestinian collaborators. The PA and  its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, lack any popular mandate. There should  be little doubt that the morally bankrupt and illegitimate PA is  not fundamentally a US and Israeli client that polices the  Palestinians for Washington and Tel Aviv. Since the electoral  victory of Hamas and the defeat of Fatah in the January 2006  Palestinian general elections, the US and Israel have done  everything they could to prop up Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah  faction in Ramallah, while inversely crushing any semblance of  authentic democratic participation in the Palestinian  Territories. Since then no new elections have taken place and  Abbas has ruled via edict as a quasi-dictator supported by the  US, the EU, Israel, and the dictatorial Arab monarchies.  Moreover, Abbas has cancelled both the presidential elections and  the parliamentary elections.

There should be no illusions; the PA never had a choice about  entering the talks. The PA gets all its funding and authority  from the US and Israel, without which it would collapse. When  protests broke out in the West Bank against the PA, Abbas sent  envoys scrambling from Ramallah to see US and Israeli officials,  asking them to throw him a lifeline. He is not supported by the  people, but by brute force and the Israeli occupation. Via the  Israeli pledge to free several Palestinian prisoners that have  been held in Israeli prisons for decades the US and Israel are  even creating a cover for the PA to justify entering the  fictitious peace talks initiated by Secretary of State Kerry.

  The return of Arch-Zionist Martin Indyk

One merely needs to examine the US official supervising the  talks, to get a sense of how ingenuous they actually are.  Arch-Zionist Martin Indyk, a former high-level lobbyist at the  American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that was  eventually given US citizenship by US President Clinton to manage  US foreign policy in the Middle East, will be mediating the talks  between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as Washington’s  so-called special peace envoy. Indyk has been tied to every  tentacle of the Zionist lobby inside and outside of the United  States ranging from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy  (WINEP), which is the research arm of AIPAC, to the  Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy, which heavily influenced Qatar’s  Arab Spring foreign policy. According to a speech Indyk made to  the first convention of the self-described “pro-Israeli  organization” J Street in 2009, he deliberately emigrated to  the US as a means of ensuring that US foreign policy would serve   Israel’s interests. Indyk also served  as the US Ambassador to Israel twice, was an architect of the US  policy of containing Iraq and Iran, and an avid cheerleader and  apologist for Israel’s wars on the Palestinians in Gaza and  Lebanon. Now Indyk is in charge of the peace talks as a member of  the Obama Administration.

Equally disreputable to Indyk are the Israeli and PA negotiators  sitting at the table with him. On the Israeli side sits Tsipi  Livni, a brazen war criminal who was forced to cancel a trip at  the end of 2009 to the UK because an arrest warrant was issued for her. Sitting next to her from  the PA is a man who Livni knows very well, and who once told her  that he “would vote for her” if he were an Israeli. That  man, Saeb Erekat, is someone who no Palestinian takes  seriously or respects. In his entire career Erekat has done  nothing but grovel to US and Israeli officials; he said Senator  John McCain had a “genuine commitment to peace” after  McCain let it be known that he did not give a damn about the  Palestinians in 2008, Ekekat even called Israeli Prime Minister  Ariel Sharon—the Israeli official responsible for the Sabra and  Shatila Massacre in Beirut’s Palestinian refugee camps—his  friend, and on numerous occasions he has ridiculously apologized  profusely to the Israelis that the negotiations that Tel Aviv  itself has sabotaged have not succeeded.

  The peace talks and the regional equation

The timing of the Israeli-Palestinian talks is linked to US and  Israeli plans to save their declining regional status in the  Middle East and their clients. Regionally, the events involving  Egypt, Syria, Qatar, and the Muslim Brotherhood have additionally  had a big impact on the Palestinians and Israel. Abbas even made  a visit to Beirut in early July 2013 to tell the Palestinian  refugees in Lebanon to be neutral in the clashes taking place in  Syria and Lebanon.

Meanwhile in the Gaza Strip, Hamas has become more isolated. For  a while it looked like the Hamas government in Gaza was going to  win the favour of other Arab countries at the expense of Mahmoud  Abbas and his lackeys in Ramallah. The events in Syria and Egypt,  however, have hurt Hamas. Although he is not completely correct,  it is worth quoting what Eli Shaked, the former Israeli  Ambassador to Egypt, joyously said about Hamas as the Muslim  Brotherhood was being ousted in Egypt in early July 2013:   “Hamas has lost Iran, they have lost Syria and they are losing  Egypt. They are much more isolated.”  Despite the  suffering of Gazans, the isolation of Hamas has pleased Abbas and  his regime in Ramallah too, which went out of their way to  congratulate General Al-Sisi and the Egyptian military for  removing the Muslim Brotherhood from power in Cairo. Now a  military wave of terror has begun against Palestinians in  Egypt.

Palestinian Hamas security forces patrol near the border with Egypt in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on July 5, 2013. (AFP Photo / Said Khatib)Palestinian Hamas security forces patrol near the border with Egypt in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on July 5, 2013. (AFP Photo / Said Khatib)

The highly unpopular Abbas himself faces a potential rebellion in  the West Bank. A political crisis has been developing in his  fiefdom as his degenerate PA faces collapse with rising  unemployment, increasing economic stagnation, mounting  unpopularity, and its increasing repressiveness. The regime in  Ramallah has seen a wave of political purges and resignations by  officials trying to distance themselves from Abbas as the  situation in the West Bank becomes more desperate.

  Talking peace while preparing for war?

It is ironic that the US and Israel, two of the three parties  involved in the peace talks, have been threatening to attack  Syria, Lebanon, or Iran. Perhaps most interesting of all, the  announcement about the renewal of the talks between Israel and  the PA came just when the US and Israel pressured the European  Union to designate the military wing of Lebanon’s Hezbollah as a  terrorist organization, not that the EU has any relations with  Hezbollah’s military wing or knows anything about it. The EU  decision is clearly a political one that is really tied to the US  failure of imposing regime change in Syria, where Hezbollah has  intervened and the foreign-sponsored anti-government forces have  been routed.

Historically, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have always been  linked to alleviate pressure tied to US war plans. Washington and  Tel Aviv could be contemplating some type of confrontation with  Hezbollah or even its patron Iran. Israel’s tattered  international image could dissipate even more, if a new  confrontation with Hezbollah takes the form of another Israeli  war on Lebanon. Netanyahu has also started threatening to  unilaterally attack Iran again, which would be impossible for  Israel without US involvement. Aside from providing cover for the  Israeli settlements/colonies in the West Bank and providing  relief from the international pressure on Tel Aviv, the renewed  Israeli talks with the PA could serve as a means of portraying  Netanyahu’s government as genuinely desiring peace before it gets  involved in some sort of adventurism. Additionally, the EU’s  terrorist label on Hezbollah could be used by the US and the  Israelis to justify such a confrontation as a fight against  terrorism.

Whatever the reasons are behind the renewal of the futile talks  between Tel Aviv and the PA, the US government and Israel are not  interested in a just resolution. Neither the talks nor the  negotiators nor the US government, as a broker, are genuine. The  Obama Administration is merely pursuing its own interests in the  wider Middle East.

Livni, the Israeli representative at the talks, set the tempo for  the outcome of the talks herself by declaring that people should  not be “optimistic.” Washington and Tel Aviv will not even  let the Palestinians create their own independent country by  ending the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip,  and the West Bank. While the destitute Palestinian people undergo  territorial disposition, the sham peace talks have served as  nothing more than a smokescreen for Tel Aviv to systematically  colonize what is left of the Palestinian homeland as Israeli  Lebensraum or “living space.”  There is no  other way to phrase it.

‘I’ve Killed lots of Arabs’ says Israeli Minister Bennett as Washington “Peace” Talks Begin

Source

 Naftali Bennett (Reuters)
Naftali Bennett (Reuters)

A right-wing Israeli minister called for terrorists to be killed rather than captured alive, after Israel approved the release of more than 100 Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture to ease the resumption of peace talks.

Jewish settlements champion Naftali Bennett, also reportedly rebuked critics who said the practice would be illegal saying he had personally killed “lots of Arabs” and “there is no problem in that”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was heavily criticised by conservative forces as his cabinet voted for the release of some 104 Palestinians, accused of attacks against Israelis, ahead of fresh negotiations in Washington.

The releases are to take place in stages over several months.

“If you catch terrorists, you have to simply kill them,” newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth quoted, Bennet, who is Israel’s Industry, Trade and Labour minister, as saying during a related government meeting.

As National Security Adviser Ya’akov Amidror pointed out that the practice may be unlawful, Bennett replied “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there’s no problem with that,” the newspaper said.

After the comment was published, causing widespread controversy, Bennett’s spokesperson told 972 Magazine the minister referred to killing Arabs, in the context of “operations” he participated in while serving in a combat role in the army.

Bennett believes that to “wipe out terrorists” is a more effective policy rather than keeping them alive in prison and then releasing them, the spokesperson said.

The son of an immigrant from San Francisco, Bennett, 40, served in one of the IDF’s elite fighting units before founding a software company, Cyota, which he sold to the US security firm RSA for about $145m.

A former member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, he went on to establish Jewish Home, his own political movement which rocked the electoral campaign boat with a clear pro-settler agenda and youthful image, earlier this year.

The party won 12 seats in the 120-seat parliament or Knesset in January’s elections.

His party’s presence in the government coalition raised fears about the possible successful outcome of peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

“Bennett’s casual remarks about ‘killing Arabs’ reveal the contempt which many Israeli politicians regard Palestinian lives and concerns,” said a spokesperson from London-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign, adding that expecting the same politicians to reach a fair peace deal with their Palestinian counterparts “appears wildly optimistic.”

Bennett told The New Yorker in January that he will do “everything in my power to make sure they [the Palestinians] never get a state.”

After five years of diplomatic stalemate, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have sat at a negotiations table thanks to an intensive brokering by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Israel’s chief negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, her Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erekat and US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk held a first meeting earlier this week in Washington.

Livni Suggests Erasure of Palestinian History is a Necessary Price for Freedom

 

By Muki Najaer / PNN

Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni suggested on Thursday July 18th during President Shimon Peres’ ‘Facing Tomorrow’ conference that Palestinians stop using the word ‘Nakba’. Nakba, or ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic, refers to the plight of Palestinian Arabs starting in 1948, displacement and murder of tens of thousands of Palestinians.  The Nakba is marked by the start of Israel’s occupation in 1948 –also considered the moment of the Israeli state’s independence.

Livni said, “the Palestinians could celebrate Independence Day if they would erase the word ‘Nakba’ from their vocabulary.”  Her insensitive assertion suggests that Israel’s continued occupation of Palestine would end, if only Palestinians forgot about their history.

Livni’s remark is not the first of this kind.  In a 2007 address to the Annapolis Conference she said, “Not every celebration of ours is cause for sorrow on the other side, and vice versa. I say to my Palestinian colleagues: Do not bemoan the establishment of the State of Israel; establish your own state,” thereby diminishing the actions of the Israeli state against Palestinians for the last 65 years.  She went on to say, “The establishment of the Palestinian state is not our Nakba, or disaster – provided that upon its establishment the word “Nakba” be deleted from the Arabic lexicon in referring to Israel,” as if partition is comparable to the occupation and destruction of Palestinian land and sovereignty for six and a half decades.

Livni’s suggestions to eradicate the word ‘Nakba’ in reference to the Israeli state’s long lived history of oppressing Palestinians has caused internet controversy, with some interpreting her remark as an attempt to give Israel a clean slate.  I am left wondering: How would Livni and other Israeli’s feel about their freedom hinging on the eradication of the word ‘Holocaust’?  While comparing the Nakba to the Holocaust is highly contested, that debate misses the point:  As a peace negotiator, Livni’s remarks invalidate generations of Palestinians’ experiences of oppression.

Kerry Stumbles Into a Peace ‘Bully’ Role

The U.S. Secretary of State cannot meet with a delegation from the 22-member Arab League in Petra, Jordan. as Kerry did on July 17, and expect his strategy to retain confidential.
Abbas and Kerry by WAFA. It appeared in The Palestine Chronicle.
Abbas and Kerry by WAFA. It appeared in The Palestine Chronicle.

(CHICAGO) – Nicola Nasser, a blogger from Bir Zeit, Palestine, has delivered a stinging rebuke to John Kerry on the eve of the meetings with the U.S., Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.
Nasser’s blog,  allarabi. exposed a “new tactic” in Kerry’s preparation for the peace conference, scheduled to begin Monday.
When preparations for the talks began, Kerry asked Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas not to comment on the conversations they had with Kerry prior to the Washington meeting.
Sorry, Mr. Secretary, but If the Edward Snowden/NSA fiasco has taught us anything, it is this:  There are no secrets in the internet age.
The U.S. Secretary of State cannot meet with a delegation from the 22-member Arab League in Petra, Jordan. as Kerry did on July 17, and expect his strategy to retain confidential.
Certainly not with bloggers like Nasser writing under this blunt headline, ”Kerry Uses Arabs to Bully Palestinians”,
This is how Nasser began his posting:
    A new tactic by US Secretary of State John Kerry is causing a split within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) ranks regarding further talks with Israel. Kerry is apparently using the Arab League’s Follow-Up Committee on the Arab Peace Initiative (FCAPI) to bully the Palestinians into accepting new ground rules for the talks to which they had objected in the past.
    In his sixth tour of the region as secretary of state, Kerry did something unusual. Instead of visiting Israel, as he always does, he left it out of his itinerary, deciding instead to hold most of the talks in the Jordanian capital Amman. While there, he conferred with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as well as members of the FCAPI.
    As the talks progressed, it became clear that Kerry was no longer focusing on Israel, the country that has torpedoed all previous attempts at peace, but on the PLO. His aim is to get the latter to offer more concessions than any they have accepted in the past. . . . .
    The tactic is not totally new, for it resonates with the manner in which US diplomats have used the Arab League to justify foreign intervention for the sake of regime change in countries such as Iraq and Libya in the past.

The Petra meeting was hosted by Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs Nasser Judeh. When the Jordan News Agency reported on the meeting. It remained faithful to the western narrative:

The Petra meeting was hosted by Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs Nasser Judeh. When the Jordan News Agency reported on the meeting. It remained faithful to the western narrative:
    The delegation, which included Arab foreign ministers and permanent representatives at the Arab League of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Palestine, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Secretary General of the Arab League, praised the efforts made by US President Barak Obama and Secretary Kerry, and their commitment to achieve peace.
The FCAPI delegates also remained in western mode:
      Speaking after a meeting with Kerry in Amman, FCAPI diplomats voiced their “great support” for Kerry’s efforts to revive the talks. Their remarks were seen as a “victory” for Kerry, said the Associated Press. It was a “success” for his diplomacy, added

The New York Times

    .
Meanwhile, Nasser’s posting from Bir Zeit swept through the Middle East.
The posting first surfaced outside of Palestine in Cairo, Egypt’s  Al-Ahram. Other postings , with the same harsh headline, quickly went on line in Tripoli, Libya, London’s Middle East on Line, and Russia’s Pravda, and Palestine’s The Palestine Chronicle. Across the Atlantic., it ran on CounterPunch and on Montreal, Canada’s  Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)‘s site. (Click on each link to tour through Nasser’s posting).
When Kerry initially asked participants for confidentiality, he appeared to be dropping a hint that he was working for a surprise ending.  This lured some of us into hoping Kerry might revert to the fairness approach of the first President George Bush and his Secretary of State, James Baker.  The choice by Kerry of Martin Indyk, former AIPAC staffer. as his point person pretty much scuttled that dream.
Of course, long gone are, dare we say it, the halcyon days of President Jimmy Carter, when a U.S. President really was an honest broker.

      The only successful U.S. mediation between Israelis and Arabs was conducted by President Jimmy Carter

(right)

    at Camp David in 1978. Carter managed to bridge the gaps that had led Israel and Egypt to go to war three times previously by being the ultimate honest broker.
    In his book about Camp David, Gen. Moshe Dayan, who was then Israel’s foreign minister, described how Carter would keep the pressure on both sides equally, telling President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin, in turn, that if the talks failed, he would publicly name who was responsible.
    All during the long arduous process that produced a peace treaty that has survived 34 years, Carter refused to act as either side’s advocate. His only client was peace and that is how he achieved an agreement.
For a time, it appeared that when he brought new leaders back to Camp David, Bill Clinton would keep his promises to Israel and the PLO.  Alas, political expediency appears to have led Bill Clinton astray. Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery recalls what happened:
    In the past, the US has broken such promises without blushing. For example, before the Camp David meeting, President Bill Clinton gave Yasser Arafat a solid promise that he would blame neither side for a failure. (Since the meeting was convened without the slightest preparation, failure was predictable.)
    After the conference, Clinton put the blame squarely – and wrongly – on Arafat, a vile act of political opportunism, designed to help his wife get elected in New York.

As it turns out, Clinton’s wife did get elected to that Senate seat from New York, from which she moved on to serve as Secretary of State. She was succeeded by John Kerry, who is a victim of a changing, and increasingly dark, political landscape in which the Israel Lobby and the U.S. Congress leave him and President Obama little room to maneuver.As it turns out, Clinton’s wife did get elected to that Senate seat from New York, from which she moved on to serve as Secretary of State. She was succeeded by John Kerry, who is a victim of a changing, and increasingly dark, political landscape in which the Israel Lobby and the U.S. Congress leave him and President Obama little room to maneuver.

In his posting, Nicola Nasser referred to “concessions” Kerry asked of Abbas. This strongly suggests that Kerry had already gained what few “concessions” he could pry out of Netanyahu.
For his part, President Abbas has, no doubt, given John Kerry his wish list for any future peace accord. The easiest wish Netanyahu could grant is a grudging release of Palestinian prisoners. Netanyahu will play with the prisoners like they are poker chips. He will hold them until he decides to release some “in stages” throughout the negotiations.

John Kerry should be able to deliver his promises of Palestinian economic development, which is certainly needed. But what sort of economy can be developed under the restraints of an internationally illegal military occupation? What about the rebuilding of the Palestinian airport in Gaza? An airport is always helpful for a nation’s trade purposes. Don’t count on it.

A major Palestinian demand for reaching some sort of peace agreement is the end of all illegal Israeli settlement growth. Not a chance. Israel plays the peace process game not to give away ill-gotten gains, but to protect them.

So where can this peace gathering go? It remains an outside possibility that strong voices within the Palestinian leadership will refuse to let Abbas give in to the U.S. bullying tactic. But thus far, limited prisoner release and additional economic development are strong incentives to send Mahmoud Abbas on yet another hat-in-hand journey to pick up what benefits are promised him.

On the day before the Washington talks were set to begin Monday, some of the strong voices voiced their disapproval of the talks.  The Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported on demonstrations in Ramallah.<!–

Hundreds of Palestinians marched in Ramallah on Sunday to protest a return to negotiations with Israel. Demonstrators marched from the city center towards President Abbas’ headquarters in the Muqata, chanting slogans condemning the Palestinian Authority’s decision to return to talks.

Four Palestinian Authority police officers and three protesters were injured when both sides clashed during the march, which was organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

http://wallwritings.me/2013/07/28/kerry-stumbles-into-a-bully-peace-role/b

Please visit James Wall’s Website, Wall Writings
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