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The Gaza situation…error piled upon error January 8, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Israel, Palestine.

For an historical reading of the current crisis one would have to go some way to find one as factually incorrect as that presented by Tony Blankley on KCRW’s Left Right & Centre.

But it provides a telling insight into a viewpoint abroad – particularly in the US and Israel itself – that simply will not regard this situation with any complexity and simply finds respite in bellicose assertions.

In 2000 Bill Clinton tried to negotiate an agreement on this, the Israeli’s agreed to it Arafat walked away from it. Whether he did because he maliciously not wanting an agreement because he thought that if he did he’d promptly be assassinated we don’t know. We do know that the one great Arab statesman who did negotiate with Israel, Sadat, was promptly assassinated. So the problem is that there is fanaticism among far too many of the Arabs in the Middle East against Israel and they’ll kill their own leaders if they seek peace and in fact the majority if you see polling out of the Palestian Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank, the majority of them want Israel driven into the sea. It’s a story that started on their birth and it continues to this moment and the choice the Israeli’s have is to die or to fight and they’ve chosen to fight – thank God.


1. yourcousin - January 8, 2009

Points like that are very frightening to hear, home and abroad. The moment I just shook my head was when listening to NPR they had a Hamas spokesperson on who stated that Hamas had not fired the missiles and that it was only a traitor or two who wanted to cause problems. To me the point is not the rockets, but that ceasefire or no ceasefire the situation in Gaza is simply untenable and for once the Catholic Church called a spade a spade and said that Gaza resembled one big concentration camp. The problem is that obviously the very basis from which everything else stems is far too rotten to stand and that is the idea of Israel as an artifically maintained ethnically/religious homogenous state. Admittedly Israel is not going away any time soon nor should it. But that alone ensures that were stuck with a “two state” solution which means that Israel has a nation and Palestine has a concentration camp in Gaza and chunks of East Jerusalem and the West Bank from which Israel still calls the shots. And people wonder why peace is so hard to achieve.


2. WorldbyStorm - January 8, 2009

I fully support a genuine two state policy. Emphasis on the word ‘genuine’. I also fully support the right of Israel to exist. But this? Who can support this? Or as you say the on-going continuation of settlements in the West Bank? Or the encroachment in Jerusalem? It will be very interesting to see what Obama has to say when finally he speaks. I’m not optimistic, but… The thing is that a genuine two state solution is far from difficult to achieve, but it requires that the actual power relationships between Israel and Palestine to be reworked. Incidentally, what of T. Blair in all this… What indeed?


3. PamDirac - January 8, 2009

****It will be very interesting to see what Obama has to say when finally he speaks.****

Considering that Obama was quite talkative on the subject of the Mumbai attacks and is positively voluble about the economy, his steadfast determination to keep mum on this particular topic would already seem to speak volumes.

We do, however, have recourse to his campaign pledges, where he stated that Israel must not be ‘forced’ into any concessions or bargaining and vowed total fealty towards the cause of Israel’s security forever. Those with slightly longer memories will recollect that he supported the Lebanon war with vigor. I don’t think Obama will say or do anything much different from what any American president of either party would say or do, in the short term. And possibly the longer term as well, although I hope I’m wrong about that.


4. yourcousin - January 8, 2009

To me Obama said it all in his speech to AIPAC. My main issue is not the encroachment into the West Bank or East Jerusalem as I believe they are red herrings of the real problem, which is artificially imposed static boundaries for dynamic populations. The denial of the Palestinian right to exist except in their assigned corners which have been imposed on them by everyone but themselves. The idea of self determination which we have trumpeted so often in the far reaches of the world is quite useless here due to the fact that within a political lifetime a nation was torn asunder and a new artificial one instituted in its place. Israel has a nation and Palestine has shit, at best a pathetic farce of a state, never mind a nation. And this is where islamic fundamentalism come in. The traditional nationalism that fueled the conflict for decades seems to be starting to subside while fundamentalism being the strongest meidcine in the cabinet is being reached for, more and more. I don’t like it but it’s where we find ourselves. Blair might want to start updating his resume.


5. CL - January 9, 2009

Perhaps the appointment of Dennis Ross as adviser to Hillary, if true, gives some indication.
‘In an announcement prepared by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, his current employer, Ross is described as the new Obama administration’s “ambassador at large” and Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton’s top adviser on a wide range of Middle East issues, from the Arab-Israeli peace process to Iran.’-


6. PamDirac - January 9, 2009

Interesting article, CL. Ross has been advising Obama for some time. I was struck by this paragraph:

“Ross is also aware that one of the flaws of the Clinton approach was not to have done a more thorough job in bringing the Arab leaders in the region into the process sooner, applying more pressure on Arafat in 2000 to accept what was clearly the best deal he was ever going to get from the Israelis for the creation of a Palestinian state.”

If this is indeed so, the Palestinians really are screwed. There were indeed flaws in the Clinton approach, but I didn’t realize that a failure to apply the screws sufficiently to Arafat (not to mention dumping all over him later on) was one of them.


7. WorldbyStorm - January 9, 2009

The Guardian this morning tells us that Obama is ready to talk to Hamas.

Who do we believe? It could be a step change in US foreign policy on the issue or merely optics to appear to do the right thing… I guess we’ll know soon enough…


8. Old SFWP - January 10, 2009

Any of you CLR people see the letters in the Irish Times defending Israel from Ollie Donohue and Eoghan Harris? Oh where did the gurus of our movement go?


9. WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2009

Yeah, I did Old SFWP, I thought it was the same brand of rubbish as Patterson’s cant about ‘moralising’ yesterday in the IT. Frankly I don’t rate Harris at all.


10. Leveller on the Liffey - January 11, 2009

I think Eoghan Harris’s ego is consumed by being seen to be a ‘big thinker’ in Irish history, whatever conservative/reactionary position he has to adopt to do that.


11. Dunne and Crescendo - January 11, 2009

Yes. More shite about this subject from Ireland’s leading philosopher in the SINDO today.


12. Jim Monaghan - January 12, 2009

I remember Matt Merrigan saying that what was being offered to the Palestinians were Bantustans.How right he was. By the way, Ranor Lysaght has edited his autobiography.
If we send troops to police the Gaza border we are supplying prison guards and saving the Zionists the bother.
On a footnote we should not take ex-prisoners from the American concentration camp in Cuba. Their mess.


13. Pax - January 13, 2009

Through polite silence and fence-sitting, Obama will probably support this too. “change”…hmmm

Israel bans Arab parties from coming election

“JERUSALEM — Israel on Monday banned Arab political parties from running in next month’s parliamentary elections, drawing accusations of racism by an Arab lawmaker who said he would challenge the decision in the country’s Supreme Court.

The ruling by parliament’s Central Election Committee reflected the heightened tensions between Israel’s Jewish majority and Arab minority caused by Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. Arabs have held a series of demonstrations against the offensive.

Parliament spokesman Giora Pordes said the election committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of the motion, accusing the country’s Arab parties of incitement, supporting terrorist groups and refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Arab lawmakers have traveled to some of Israel’s staunchest enemies, including Lebanon and Syria.

The 37-member committee is composed of representatives from Israel’s major political parties. The measure was proposed by two ultranationalist parties but received widespread support.

The decision does not affect Arab lawmakers in predominantly Jewish parties or the country’s communist party, which has a mixed list of Arab and Jewish candidates. Roughly one-fifth of Israel’s 7 million citizens are Arabs. Israeli Arabs enjoy full citizenship rights, but have suffered from discrimination and poverty for decades.

Arab lawmakers Ahmed Tibi and Jamal Zahalka, political rivals who head the two Arab blocs in parliament, joined together in condemning Monday’s decision.

“It was a political trial led by a group of Fascists and racists who are willing to see the Knesset without Arabs and want to see the country without Arabs,” said Tibi.

Together, the Arab lists hold seven of the 120 seats in the Knesset, or parliament.

Tibi said he would appeal to the high court, while Zahalka said his party was still deciding how to proceed…..”


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