Friday, January 23, 2009
Lies, delay, and fear of an 'honest broker'
Henry Siegman, in the London Review of Books: Western governments and most of the Western media have accepted a number of Israeli claims justifying the military assault on Gaza... Middle East peacemaking has been smothered in deceptive euphemisms, so let me state bluntly that each of these claims is a lie... Why then are Israel's leaders so determined to destroy Hamas? Because they believe that its leadership, unlike that of Fatah, cannot be intimidated into accepting a peace accord that establishes a Palestinian 'state' made up of territorially disconnected entities over which Israel would be able to retain permanent control.
Paul Woodward, War in Context: For as much as Israel likes to assume the posture of an indomitable military power, the simple truth is that Israel's military might is utterly dependent on America's patronage -- hence the threat posed by America as honest broker, as opposed to loyal defender. As honest broker, America cannot perpetually provide Israel with the option of choosing war instead of peace.
Tony Karon, at TomDispatch: Hamas has demonstrated beyond doubt that it speaks for at least half of the Palestinian electorate. Many observers believe that, were new elections to be held tomorrow, the Islamists would probably not only win Gaza again, but take the West Bank as well. Demanding what Hamas would deem a symbolic surrender before any diplomatic conversation even begins is not an approach that will yield positive results...
'Recognizing' Israel is difficult for Palestinians because, in doing so, they are also being asked to renounce the claims of refugee families to the land and homes they were forced out of in 1948 and were barred from recovering by one of the founding acts of the State of Israel... Such recognition could never be a precondition to negotiations, only the result of them... A two-state solution, if one is to be achieved, will have to be imposed by the international community, based on a consensus that already exists in international law (UN resolutions 242 and 338), the Arab League peace proposals, and the Taba non-paper that documented the last formal final-status talks between the two sides in January 2001.
Interviewed by Sameer Dossani in Foreign Policy in Focus:
There's a theme that goes way back to the origins of Zionism -- 'Let's delay negotiations and diplomacy as long as possible, and meanwhile we'll 'build facts on the ground.' So Israel will create the basis for what some eventual agreement will ratify, but the more they create, the more they construct, the better the agreement will be for their purposes. These purposes are essentially to take over everything of value in the former Palestine and to undermine what's left of the indigenous population...
Every time you see Hamas in the newspapers, it says 'Iranian-backed Hamas which wants to destroy Israel.' Try to find a phrase that says 'democratically elected Hamas which is calling for a two-state settlement' and has been for years... There's no question about it but the West doesn't want to hear it.... They're willing to accept a political settlement. Israel isn't willing to accept it and the United States isn't willing to accept it. And they're the lone hold-outs.
Image source here.