Friday, April 3, 2009

Israel Disowns Two-State Solution

Israel’s new Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman of a far-right party, started his tenure by saying Israel wasn’t bound by the latest peace-process agreement.

Three years ago when the Palestinian people elected Hamas by a wide margin, not just in Gaza but the whole of the occupied territories, it was shunned; ostensibly for three reasons.

One was that Hamas had to accept all past agreements with Israel. Possibly they refused because past agreements had delivered exactly nothing to the Palestinians. Possibly because Israel had never abided by its past agreements to stop confiscating Palestinian land and stop building or expanding Jewish cities in the territories. Israel’s insulting final offer to the Palestinians in 2000, a West Bank divided into three Bantustans completely surrounded by Israeli territory, undoubtedly was also an important factor. Those reasons are, in fact, a large part of why Hamas won those elections.

Another was that it had to renounce violence. Kind of laughable in light of the violent nature of the Israeli nation to hold them to that standard. And that’s besides the fact that, in international law, an occupied people has the right to resist foreign domination. Why is Israel not required to renounce violence? The important point is that Hamas proposed a long term truce, and held to the short term truce, which Israel broke, prior to the Gaza assault.

Israel is worried that Hamas will use the time of a truce to become strong and 50 years in the future will come back and try to drive the Jews into the sea. (Don’t laugh, I actually read that by a reputable columnist.) It’s true that if Israel refuses over the next half century to come to a fair and equitable agreement with the Palestinians, there will continue to be hostility and strife. Look at the Tibetans and Kurds, for instance, they’ll never stop fighting for self-determination.

Finally they needed to recognize Israel’s right to exist. As I understand it they want to wait until they too are recognized as a nation. Makes sense to me.

Netanyahu, Israel’s new prime minister, is for peace, so he says, but not a two-state solution. He wants to improve Palestinian life economically, but maintain the Bantustan concept that allows total control of everything that goes in or out of Palestinian territory. Maybe he thinks they will be so thrilled with their new prosperity they’ll submit happily to foreign domination: even as they see their land continue to be confiscated and given to Jews. Both Netanyahu and Lieberman are in favor of increased settlement construction.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Bantustan concept, it was a device tried by apartheid South Africa to put all of its blacks in their own ‘sovereign’ countries (there were ten, I believe) but all completely surrounded by South African territory. Needless to say, the minority whites retained the greater part of the land and resources and total control over the blacks in that scenario. Nobody outside South Africa recognized them.

Is Obama going to accede to this new dynamic lying down or will he finally force concessions from Israel? World boycotts helped to kill South African apartheid. All the US has to do is cut off Israel’s totally unwarranted foreign aid (the largest recipient though it is a rich country) and the settlement building stops and the Israelis become a lot more adaptable. If they can no longer use US aid to subsidize colonization and the military forces necessary to protect what are essentially outposts in hostile territory they will cease their illegal activity or make a real sacrifice to continue.

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