In my view, if there were any real chance of a Palestinian "state" emerging out of the "peace" talks sham, these timid symbolic gestures would be seen, even by the PA negotiators, as intrusive distractions. Anyone who has studied the "Palestine Papers" in context can see the PA's position is entirely hopeless, and the peace talks, except as salve for dashed Palestinian hopes, are all but dead. They were DOA, matter of fact... The Palestinians had but a single chip it could bring to the negotiating table - the terror menace.... Once that was renounced (at the insistence of the western world) the Palestinians have been playing with empty pockets.... Their only hope, their only strategy has been to appeal to the conscience and mercy of their Israeli counterparts (and Israel's legion of goyim puppets in the western world) - which, if the documents are legitimate and reliable, is why they've seemed ready and willing to sell out on the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people for any little leftover crumb they can call "bringing home the bacon" (though maybe not the most appropriate metaphor to use where non-pork eaters are involved). After the release of the Palestine Papers, how could Abu Mazen and his team approach the negotiating tables with any dignity... Hell, given recent events - from Tunisia to Sudan - it's dubious if the Arab world itself, as a "world", will survive - much less a dignified Palestinian state emerge...unless, of course, the whole world is turned on its head, and that would require the energies of oppressed western populations as well (and yes, we ARE oppressed). But the sheeple of the west can barely get their fat asses away from the HDTV, much less muster the energy to break their mental chains and overturn the "new world order." Besides, our own nation/society is so fractured and splintered and flummoxed and directionless that it's extremely dubious we can even help ourselves....
All this "symbolic" gesturing of acknowledgment of something that does not even exist, and may never exist in a dignified way, is mere theater - and, really, don't see enough theatrics on the world scene everyday. If it were something other than that, it is doubtful it would be tolerated by the new world order Zionists . If it were other than "armchair" statesmanship, these countries will be working with the likes of Kenneth O'Keefe to send wave after wave of humanitarian flotillas to Gaza so as to spite the Israeli/Egyptian blockade...But buying this "recognition" business as if it's manna from heaven is a bit peter-panish....
Peace is but a pipe dream in the ME...
"....... Netanyahu, who has previously voiced concern that the uprising would take on the characteristics of the Islamic revolution in Iran, spoke in a more positive tone on Wednesday. ‘Democracy is dear to us, it is real, and it is obvious that a democratic Egypt will not endanger peace, just the opposite. If modern history teaches us anything it is that the stronger the democratic foundations, the stronger the foundations for peace’.”
Netanyahu did not omit an assurance — that sounded more like a heavy hint — that Israeli had put unspecified “security arrangements” in place: “A peace agreement does not guarantee the existence of peace, so in order to protect it and ourselves, in cases in which the agreement disappears or is violated due to a regime change on the other side, we protect it with security arrangements on the ground,” he said. He gave no further details about these “security assurances” – and was apparently not even asked..."
Poor old Palestinians. I should have guessed something was up in Jerusalem last year when an Israeli journalist asked me about the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the agency that has been caring for Palestinian refugees for 60 years. "I'm sure," he announced to me, "that they have some connection with terrorism, that they play a role in keeping terrorism going. What are they really doing in Lebanon?" At the time, I thought this all a bit odd. If any UN institution does its job well, it is UNRWA, arranging for the food, education, health-care and other needs of millions of Palestinians who lost – or whose parents or grandparents lost – their homes in 1948 and 1949 in what is now Israel.
A visit to the filth of the camps in Beirut, or to Ein el-Helweh in Sidon, is enough to teach anyone that amid this swamp of misery and hopelessness, UNRWA represents the world's only collective sympathy, underfunded, short-staffed, poor though it is. Yet now, the whole organization is being singled out by a right-wing Israel and its so-called (and self-proclaiming) supporters as purveyors of darkness, "de-legitimisers", a network of support for Palestinians which must be destroyed lest the poorest of the poor – including those in the misery of Gaza – become addicted to their social services. UNRWA – I find it hard to believe this is a real quotation from a research fellow at a major US university, but it is – has "created a breeding ground for international terrorism".
I suppose we might as well laugh as cry, but this comes from a cruel – indeed vicious – article that appeared in the American Commentary magazine a few weeks ago, written by one Michael Bernstam, a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. I single it out not because it is atypical, but because it represents a growing and quite ruthless trend in right-wing Israeli thinking, the kind of self-delusional brutality that is supposed to persuade us that the destiny of the poorest of the Palestinian poor is the destruction of their camps. In his article, Bernstam actually claims that "for 60 years, UNRWA has been paying four generations of Palestinians to remain refugees, reproduce refugees and live in refugee camps", where it is, "in effect, underwriting a self-destructive Palestinian cycle of violence, internecine bloodshed and a perpetual war against Israel". Get the point? The UN is now the fount of all terror.
There was a time when this kind of drivel would be ignored but it is now part of an increasingly dangerous narrative in which charity is turned into evil, in which the one institution supplying help to perhaps 95 per cent of almost five million Palestinian refugees is to become a target. And since UNRWA in Gaza did appear to become a target in the 2008-9 bloodbath, this is pretty frightening stuff.
But hold on. It goes further. "UNRWA's mandate created ... a permanent supranational welfare state in which simply placing most Palestinians on the international dole has extinguished incentives for work and investment ... and created a breeding ground for international terrorism. It is this open-ended refugee status that puts bread on the table in the rent-free house, together with an array of rent-free services." This allows the Palestinians – mark these words – a "permanent refugee ... war as it is fueled by a particular 'right of return' claim – the argument that the Palestinians should be given title to the land they occupied before Israel's independence".
Note that word "occupied". Far from owning the land, they "occupied" it! They had a "particular" "right of return" claim. And – wait for the next bit: "The claim of the Palestinian right of return is intended for one historical ethnic diaspora of the descendants of perennial refugees to repopulate another people's nation-state, Israel. This is not the right of return to a country; this is the right of return of a country, a reconquest after a lost war, a claim of the right of retake."
And so it goes on and on and on ... UNRWA should be abolished, which "would signal the end of the world body's support for the continuance of the Palestinian's agony ... Israel is obviously unsuitable as a country of resettlement because integration there is not feasible ... Instead of perpetuating the dead end that the international welfare state for the Palestinians represents, ending UNRWA's horrific six-decade reign would instantly create the conditions for an honest, meaningful and viable peace process to begin in the Middle East".
There you have it. Mr Bernstam should meet Mr Qaddafi. They have a lot in common.... Total contempt for the Palestinians. Total abuse for a people who have lost their future and their lives. Total abuse for anyone but their own tribe.....
"Zionism Has Nothing to do With Judaism" - An Interview With Dr. Hajo Meyer, By DAVID ZLUTNICK, Counter Punch .com, March 11 - 13, 2011
Q.: Could you summarize this idea that you've often spoken and written about, the "ethical tradition of Judaism?"
A.: So now we come to a very important point. In my view—I was educated in the tradition of enlightened Reform Judaism, without any relation to the prescripts of Halacha [Jewish religious law] but just to the socio-cultural heritage and the enlightened parts of Judaism…
This ethical tradition is absolutely contrary to everything which is at the basis of Zionism. Because Zionism was created by Mr. [Theodor] Herzel and others at the end of the 19th Century, and in that era it was commonplace to be colonialist, to be racist, to be super-nationalist, to adore the nation-state--so the idea of France for the French, Germany for the Germanics, and then some state for the Jews. This all formed the basis for Zionism.
Zionism and Judaism are contrary to each other. ...
All these “Niceties” about an Israeli/Palestinian peace "Process" are completely moot…because real Israeli policy is NO Peace at all, but more and more Land Grabs…
When Israel really wanted Peace with Jordan…it was signed, sealed and delivered in 9 Months….OSLO was a Shame and a Charade, a cruel Diversion….
What seems likely is that the stranglehold which the Israeli lobby has secured on the political process in the United States, together with its alliance with neoconservatives in that country and elsewhere, has blinded Netanyahu – and indeed many other Israeli leaders and supporters – to the suicidal nature of recent Israeli policy, and indeed of the whole attempt to colonize the West Bank. The extent to which Netanyahu simply has not grasped the implications of his actions was made amply evident in the extraordinary phone call he made to the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, to express his disappointment after Germany supported last month’s UN resolution declaring Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories to be illegal and a ‘major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace’. The resolution, which was sponsored by at least 130 countries, this was supported by all members of the Security Council, apart from the United States, which vetoed it. His complaint provoked a furious response from Merkel, according to Haaretz, who complained that Netanyahu had not ‘made a single step to advance peace.’
Even with Germans, the assumption that one can rely on Gentile guilt over the Holocaust to inhibit criticism of Israel cuts less and less ice. One comes back again to the automatic assumption that opposition to what Israel does reflects hatred of Jews – related to which is the assumption that accusations or imputations of anti-Semitism are both an appropriate and effective means of stifling such opposition. In fact, as the balance of opinion about Israel shifts, such accusations not only progressively lose traction, but become counter-productive. The use of the post-war taboo on anti-Semitism, which arises out of the Holocaust, to stifle criticism of Israeli policy tends to create a particularly toxic form of resentment, which comes when people are prevented from expressing thoughts and feelings they regard as perfectly legitimate – while enabling those creating resentment to blind themselves to the fact they are creating it. It also is visibly tending to weaken the taboo, which is much to be regretted.
That there are sinister undertones to some of the opposition to Israeli policy – and certainly among some pro-Palestinian activists – is clear. A revival of anti-Semitism, as also the current upsurge in Islamophobia, is something to which men and women of goodwill should be implacably opposed. But anti-Semitism is certainly not the prime driver of the ongoing shift of opinion in Britain, EU or USA as elsewhere against Israel, and until Israelis and their supporters abroad grasp that fact, they will continue to act in ways which are leading inexorably to the end of the Zionist experiment, and indeed may already have put paid to hopes for its survival….
"The whole Zionist enterprise was hopeless from the start." The growth and development since 1948 and the present strength of Israel, even with its internal and external problems and its oppressive policies and actions, make some statements wishful thinking rather than proven fact....
I am personally inclined to think (or perhaps guess) that the Zionist state will ultimately fail. As an historian , not a prophet,however,I neither believe failure is imminent nor absolutely certain to occur in the foreseeable future. I realize that United States backing and support has been essential for Israel's survival to date and will almost certainly be necessary for continued survival of that state. Although changes have occurred and are continuing to occur in United States public opinion concerning Israel, the United States government remains overwhelmingly supportive and protective of the Zionist state.
(As a person who has for half a century opposed Zionism and the almost blind support by the United States government for oppressive policies of the state of Israel, I continually remind myself that I need to be as realistic as possible as I continue to be cause committed and to work for positive change.) I contend, as do some other commentators, that Zionism is the fundamental cause of this conflict. Habakkuk seems to suggest this, but I want to attempt to be a bit more specific and precise.
I need not and cannot in this one comment review the entire historical development of Zionism. It is enough to state that the essence of political Zionism rests upon the following absolute theory of anti-Semitism: Jews have been in the past and/or are being in the present and/or will be in the future persecuted by non-Jews in all nation-states in which they are a minority. In Zionist logic it follows that Jews will only be safe in a nation-state in which they begin as the majority of the residents of the state (or at least of the citizens who control the state) and thereafter remain the majority.
The state of Israel was created in the Zionist image and has since its creation maintained its Zionist foundation. Thus it is that the state of Israel denies by law to non-Jews,even to non-Jewish citizens of the state, certain rights and privileges, given to Jewish citizens. Thus it is that the indigenous population of about four million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have been occupied and oppressed since 1967 but not been given the opportunity to become citizens of the state. All of this (and more) is Zionism in action.
The primary cause of conflict is obvious. The Zionist state has existed for nearly sixty-three years. Only a small percentage of Jews from the United States, Britain and France have emigrated to Israel. These Jews, most of whom support Zionism, have opted to remain in the diaspora. They do not believe wholeheartedly in the absolute theory of anti-Semitism; they obviously do not think they would be safe only in the Zionist, Jewish state. They attempt to garner financial and other support for Israel by emphasizing the Holocaust and then maintaining that the Jews in Israel are living in the most unsafe place for Jews in the world. Zionists appear to pay no heed to their convoluted logic.
Zionists are not a monolithic group. The left-wing Zionists, who in varied ways oppose Jewish settlements in the West Bank and advocate a Palestinian state, still favor a Zionist state behind or slightly beyond the green line. They, therefore, with but few exceptions want a Jewish exclusive state that would continue to grant certain rights and privileges to Jews not granted to non-Jews. Such a position maintains the basis, even if lessened, of conflict.
A Jewish, exclusive state, consisting to a great extent of land taken from the non-Jewish indigenous population, will probably have steadily increasing difficulty remaining viable in the Arab Middle East.
Jewish religious Zionism adds another problematic dimension to the conflict. The great majority of Orthodox rabbis and groups opposed Zionism before the Holocaust. They adhered to Talmudic dictates that the Jewish state would not be restored until the Messiah came and that it would be a sin for Jews to attempt to have a state before then. These Orthodox Jews also opposed the secularism of most early Zionist leaders. A minority of Orthodox rabbis and their followers in the early twentieth century, however, became religious Zionists. and followed the leadership of Rabbi Kook, the elder. Rabbi Kook maintained that the Messianic age had arrived, and, therefore, Jews could and should work for the creation of a Jewish state. The Jewish state, envisioned by Rabbi Kook and his followers, was different in many ways from the kind of state sought by secular, Zionist leaders. During the time of the Holocaust and clearly by 1948, when the state of Israel came into existence, the overwhelming majority of Orthodox Jews, including rabbis, who had been anti-Zionist, became ardent supporters of the Zionist state in many ways, even though they continued to oppose certain specific policies and practices of the state's largely secular leadership. Orthodox religious parties took their place in the political system of the state and became for the most part fiercely anti-Palestinian. A small minority of Orthodox Jews and rabbis, the most notable being the Chassidic group called Naturei Karta, remained anti-Zionist and have continued to oppose the state and its oppressive policies. Some of the Orthodox groups, most noteworthy being the Lubavitch Chabad Chassidic group, refused to be identified as Zionist but still supported some of the most extreme Zionist policies and practices.
In our book, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, Israel Shahak and I discuss this Jewish religious Zionist dimension in some depth. We pinpoint in our book reasons why these religious Jews have exerted influence far beyond their numbers. In my work since the publication of the book I have supplied more explanation. These religious Jews, including those who do not call themselves Zionists but who support the state of Israel and many of its extreme Zionist policies, believe and maintain that God gave Jews an eternal deed to the Holy Land. They specify those passages of the Bible that clearly express this promise of land. The Holy Land includes at least the Israel of pre-June, 1967 borders and the West Bank. According to these Jews giving any of this land to Palestinians or to other non-Jews would be committing a sin.
Perhaps, the best advocacy of this position is the Lubavitch Chassidic tract, Eyes Upon the Land, put on the lubavitch.org website in 1997. Eyes Upon the Land is taken from the teachings of the late, revered (by his followers) Lubavitch "Rebbe," Menahem Mendel Schneerson, who stated that the giving back to Egypt of the Sinai in 1979 was a major sin, committed by then Prime Minister Begin and the Israeli government. (Schneerson died in 1994, although some of his followers who to this day consider him to be the Messiah believe he will soon be resurrected.) It is a mistake to discount, as some commentators have, the importance of Jewish religious Zionism. It is an influential factor in the conflict. It has influenced and is continuing to influence not only Jews and the state of Israel but also many non-Jews, most especially the Christian Zionists.
I emphasize in conclusion that a sophisticated understanding of Zionism and its complexities is necessary if we wish to deal adequately with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
I originally felt intuitively that the existence of the State of Israel makes sense within the world, if only as an attempt to rectify the failures of the West in WWII… Unfortunately, this seems more and more a mirage… The ugliness, hatred, wholesale assassinations via the machinations of the infamous White House Murder INC. in the Levant, wars of aggression, injustice, disregard for international law, corruption and mafiosi tactics on a global scale, land theft on a grand scale and racism that I more and more associate with the Israeli state and populace is an embarrassment to human feeling… I am a student of history and religion, and I am keenly appreciative of the mystical experiences found within and outside of religious traditions. It is always so sad to see the belief in an us-them reality internalized so deeply as to excuse the absolute dehumanization of another group of people…. Human history teaches us that when this projection is intertwined with religious sanction, tragedy and wholesale killing are all too often the result…