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Israel Court Rejects Delay In Settlement Evacuation

 
 
Reply Sun 25 Mar, 2012 12:24 pm
Israel Court Rejects Delay In Settlement Evacuation
by The Associated Press
March 25, 2012

The Israeli Supreme Court on Sunday rejected the state's request to postpone dismantling a large, unsanctioned West Bank settler enclave until late 2015, dealing a serious blow to settler hopes to keep dozens of rogue outposts standing.

The ruling could ignite a violent showdown with settlers, who have vowed in the past not to abandon their hilltop stronghold, Migron. Settler leader Shimon Riklin, one of the enclave's founders, told Israel's Channel 2 TV that the evacuation of Migron "would not pass quietly."

A spokesman for the Palestinians, who claim all of the West Bank as part of a future state, was skeptical that the ruling would be carried out.

The state submitted the delay petition earlier this month, seeking to bypass the high court's earlier order to dismantle the Migron outpost by March 31 because it was built on privately held Palestinian land.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scrambled to find a solution that would satisfy both settlers and the court. Earlier this month, it asked the court to let Migron's settlers stay put until new homes were built for them on a nearby West Bank hilltop by November 2015. On Sunday, the court ruled that accepting the state's agreement would be tantamount to flouting the rule of law.

"The obligation to fulfill the (earlier) ruling is not a matter of choice," the court said.

Even so, it extended the evacuation deadline to Aug. 1.

In a text message to reporters, Netanyahu said the government "respects the court's rulings and operates according to Israel's laws."

Some hard-line lawmakers said they would promote legislation to skirt the ruling. Earlier attempts to legislate around the Migron evacuation order have foundered.

Ultranationalists began settling Migron more than a decade ago on a wind-swept West Bank hilltop about 10 miles north of Jerusalem.

The government says the settlers took over the territory unlawfully in 2001. Settlers claim Arab plaintiffs haven't proven ownership of the land and note that government officials helped them to set up their outpost, even though it wasn't officially sanctioned.

"The residents of Migron received today the harsh court ruling, which is based on the false claim of privately held land, and whose objective is the expulsion of peace-loving people," said Migron spokesman Itai Chemo.

He would not say whether Migron residents would resist a forced evacuation. Settlers believe it is their religious duty to settle this patch of the biblical Land of Israel and have insisted that Jews remain there.

Part of the settlers' deal with the government involved efforts to maintain a continued Israeli presence on the hilltop where Migron stands. It overlooks the main north-south road through the territory.

Jewish settlers began setting up more than 100 outposts without government approval in the 1990s, after Israeli governments pledged not to build new settlements. Israel promised the U.S. more than a decade ago to dismantle two dozen outposts built after 2001, including Migron. But violent clashes with outpost settlers over the destruction of isolated structures, combined with political and legal obstacles, discouraged the government from honoring its pledge.

Attorney Michael Sfard, who represented the Palestinian landowners in court, welcomed the ruling and said he had no problem with the court's agreement to extend the evacuation deadline to Aug. 1.

"I hope that the government and the settlers will not try to pull any tricks and will not try to circumvent this important decision, and that the residents of Migron will evacuate the illegal outpost peacefully," Sfard said, "so that the land will be returned after a decade to its legal owners."

While Israel has given its authorization to more than 120 settlements, outposts like Migron do not have even that level of legitimacy because their construction was not officially sanctioned. Even so, the government has hooked them up to utility grids and has sent soldiers to protect them.

Palestinians do not distinguish between authorized and unauthorized settlements and claim all of the West Bank for their future state, along with Gaza and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in 1967. They see all Israeli settlement as illegal encroachment on land they claim for their hoped-for state. The settlement issue has torpedoed efforts to restart peace talks.

Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib said the Palestinians would reserve judgment on the ruling.

"We will judge the matter by deeds, rather by than decisions, words or intentions," he said. "Migron is only one of too many Israeli outpost-settlements that are supposed to be evacuated. The Israeli behavior vis-a-vis this, and other outposts, is an example that illustrates Israel's intention to consolidate the occupation, rather than end it," Khatib said.

Israel Radio political analyst Hanan Kristal predicted that evacuating Migron would not topple Netanyahu's ruling coalition, but would make it less stable and tougher to govern.
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JTT
 
  2  
Reply Sun 25 Mar, 2012 06:49 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Quote:
In a text message to reporters, Netanyahu said the government "respects the court's rulings and operates according to Israel's laws."

...

The government says the settlers took over the territory unlawfully in 2001.


Can Benjamin spell 'hypocrisy'?
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Apr, 2012 10:22 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
When will Israel finally admit that it has no intention to give up the land it stole from the Palestinians? BBB

Israel, West Bank Settlers Brace For Showdown
by Daniel Estrin - NPR Weekend Edition Sunday
April 1, 2012

Just two months ago, Aviela Deitch was proud to show off what residents had built on the hilltop outpost of Migron, just a few miles away from the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank.

At that time, the Israeli Supreme Court had already ruled that Migron was sitting on private Palestinian property and had ordered Migron settlers to evacuate.

But Deitch, who grew up in Milwaukee, was confident everything would work out for the best. Israel's government was hammering out a deal with Migron residents to build them houses on a nearby hilltop, and let them stay in Migron till 2015, when the new homes would be ready.

But the Supreme Court rejected that arrangement and said the settlers needed to leave by Aug. 1.

"We're all still in different levels of shock, disappointment, sadness," said Deitch.

A Major Point Of Friction

The Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank have created a fault line among Israelis, with some supporting them, and others believing they pose an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians.

My disappointment translates into their anger. They are teenagers, they should be idealistic. Their idealism has been very much kicked in the teeth.

- Aviela Deitch, a mother of teenagers and a resident of the West Bank settlement of Migron, which Israel's high court has ordered torn down

The Israeli government has established more than 100 settlements throughout the territory. In addition, there are dozens of unauthorized outposts like Migron.

The Palestinians, meanwhile, say all of the settlements violate international law and must be removed to clear the way for a Palestinian state that would include the West Bank.

Deitch says the Israeli government is pulling out the rug from under their feet. She acknowledges the authorities never gave the outpost an official green light, but they provided the settlers with nearly everything else they needed.

"Electricity. Water. Phone service. We flush our toilets and it goes into the sewage. All of that was brought to us by the government," she said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he respects the court's decision to evacuate the settlers. But it's unclear where Migron residents will go when they're kicked out.

Israeli authorities are now drafting possible solutions, like transferring them to a temporary trailer park until more permanent homes are built. Migron residents say past experience teaches them that's a trap.

Settlers Recall Gaza Evacuation

Haim Teitelbaum told reporters this week that the August deadline for leaving Migron coincides with the seven-year anniversary of another settlement pullout – Israel's evacuation of settlers from the Gaza Strip.

In 2005, Israel removed the settlers from Gaza and offered them financial compensation for the homes they were leaving. Some moved into trailers, and demanded that the government find them more permanent housing. But that took years, and some are still in temporary dwellings.

"The settlers from Gaza were dealt with unjustly. We will not agree to those kinds of initiatives," he said.

Here's another scenario Migron settlers want to avoid: the kind of violent confrontation that took place in 2006, in the nearby outpost of Amona.

Israel ruled that settlers there had built on private Palestinian land and ordered some of their homes demolished. Thousands of settlers faced off with Israeli officers wielding clubs. Many were injured. But most of the outpost remained intact. This year, Amona faces an eviction notice too.

The outpost's secretary, Avner Goldschmidt, plays this footage for visitors in a shack right next to the site of the demolished homes. He says it serves as a warning to Israel if it doesn't come up with proper solutions for Amona or neighboring Migron.

"I am sure residents will fight with the same determination if they are forced to evacuate like this," he said. "They won't leave with their heads down."

Youths Are More Confrontational

Back in Migron, Aviela Deitch says she and the other residents aren't interested in fighting the authorities. She says if they have to leave by August, they will. They're not anti-establishment, like some settlers in the West Bank. The vast majority of Migron's men have served in army combat units. They're committed to the state. But she fears that commitment isn't shared by the younger generation of settlers, including her two sons.

"My disappointment translates into their anger," she says. "They are teenagers, they should be idealistic. Their idealism has been very much kicked in the teeth."

If there's a skirmish between settlers and officers evacuating the outpost, she'd be upset if one of her sons joined the fight – but she says she wouldn't be surprised.
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 11:05 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Should American Jews Boycott West Bank Settlements?
NPR
April 3, 2012

Journalist Peter Beinart grew up immersed in Zionism. His grandmother – who had to flee Egypt and then the Belgian Congo because of religious persecution – made sure that Beinart realized the importance of supporting Israel from an early age.

"What my grandmother conveyed to me was the sense of the fragility of Jewish life in so many diaspora communities – the sense of rootlessness," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "She made it very clear to me that Jews should see Israel as a place that would take us in – the place of permanence, the place that could give us, even if we didn't go there, the psychological comfort of knowing there was a home if we had to be on the run."

Beinart still supports Israel but thinks that the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which now have more than 300,000 residents, are compromising Israel's commitment to democracy. In his book The Crisis of Zionism and in a recent New York Times op-ed, Beinart has proposed a boycott of goods made in those Jewish settlements.

His thoughts on Zionism changed, he says, after seeing a video sent to him from Israeli friends. The video showed a Palestinian man being arrested after attempting to connect his village to water pipes in the West Bank, where there is a massive disparity in water allocation resources and where Jews are citizens of the Israeli state and Palestinians are not.

"It had a powerful effect on me and it was one of a series of experiences that I would say led me to be willing to face ... the reality of what Israel's occupation is," he says. "It also made me concerned about how I would tell my own children [about] my love of Israel and try to make them devoted Zionists, while also not ignoring the reality of what happens when you hold millions of people for more than 40 years as non-citizens in the places in which they were born."

A Boycott Of The Settlements

Beinart has called for American Jews to embrace what he calls "democratic Israel" – the part of Israel that does not include settler-occupied territories. He has also called for a boycott of goods made in those settler-occupied areas, which he calls "nondemocratic Israel."

"We have to invest and spend our money in the original Israel, which offers the right of citizenship to all people, but I don't think we should be spending our money in the West Bank, which is a territory where Israel's founding ideals are desecrated," he says.

"I know that this is a controversial and painful suggestion for many Jews, because we feel ourselves to be part of something called the Jewish people. I feel that very strongly as well. I don't feel any hostility to Jews who live in the West Bank — I feel a strong sense of kinship with the entire Jewish people," he says. "But I do feel that we are sleepwalking towards the destruction of Israel as a democratic Jewish state, and we have to find ways of starting a conversation to rebuild the distinction that will allow Israel to remain a democratic, Jewish state."

Reactions to Beinart's op-ed and book have been heated and emotional, he says.

"In my own extended family, there are often very significant generational differences which flow from people's life experiences," he says. "What I have said to people who vociferously disagree with me is, 'We start from the same place: a love and dedication to the Jewish people and a deep belief that what makes Israel precious is that it's not just a Jewish state, but a democratic Jewish state.'"

Beinart says he fears that Israeli policy is moving the country toward a place where the survivability of the current democratic Jewish state is questionable.

"If you disagree with the proposal I've put forward, then please suggest to me how you think differently [about how] we can stop the process of subsidizing people to move to the West Bank that threatens Israel's future as a democratic Jewish state," he says. "We have to have that conversation. It may not be an easy conversation. It certainly should not be a conversation to the exclusion of Palestinian culpability, which there certainly is. But we have to have that conversation if we're going to fulfill our obligation to the next generation, which is to pass on a Jewish democratic state to them."

Peter Beinart is a senior political writer for The Daily Beast and an associate professor of journalism and political science at City University of New York.
Interview Highlights

On the terms 'nondemocratic Israel' and 'democratic Israel'

"I call the West Bank 'nondemocratic Israel' to convey first that this is an area under Israel's control and that it's not a territory that lives up to the democratic ideals upon which Israel was founded. But there is a territory – Israel's original boundaries – in which Israel does make a real effort to live up to those ideals."

On his fear that Israel is moving toward the creation of one state – Israel within its 1949 boundaries plus the territory of the West Bank

"If Israel holds that territory permanently and does not give the right of citizenship and the right to vote to the Palestinians living there, it will no longer be fully a democratic state. If it does, it will no longer have a Jewish majority and will no longer be a Jewish state and therefore our generation will have failed our responsibility to pass down to our children what our parents gave to us – a precious legacy – the democratic Jewish state."

On Israel being precious to him because it was a state established soon after the Holocaust

"My reading of many of the founders of the Jewish state was that they didn't only want a state for Jewish protection, they wanted a state where they could live out the ideals that were betrayed by Europe and in that way, they would redeem the Enlightenment ideas that Europe had failed. For me, that is still the struggle – to preserve a Jewish state that tries to live out the principles of Israel's Declaration of Independence, and I feel that that Jewish state is incompatible with a permanent occupation of millions of people who lack citizenship and basic rights, live under military law and don't have freedom of movement simply because they're not Jews."

Younger American Jews are alienated precisely because of the Jewish community's inability to talk openly and honestly and in an unafraid way about these subjects.

- Peter Beinart

On the rate of population growth in the West Bank

"Jewish settlers live under civil law. Palestinians in the West Bank live under military law. With the settler population growing at three times the rate of the Jewish population inside Israel's original boundaries, at some point in the future, there will be too many settlers in the West Bank to actually extricate Israel from the West Bank, and at that point, Israel will become, in the words of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, an 'apartheid state.' And that would be such a tragedy for us."

On calling for a boycott while working as a journalist

"This proposal was inspired by three of Israel's most famous writers — David Grossman, Amos Oz and A. B. Yehoshu. All of whom themselves have said that they would not perform in the cultural center in the West Bank [settlement] of Ariel. What I was doing was suggesting a way that we could be in solidarity with those Israelis who I think are themselves struggling to preserve Israel as a Jewish state while reinforcing our commitment to the right of Israel to exist as a democratic, Jewish state."

On engaging younger Jews

"If you want to talk to younger American Jews and try to engage them and find language that is meaningful to them, a language just of victimhood and survival ... is not actually a storyline that speaks to the realities of their lives. There is so much in Jewish tradition that talks about the Jewish use of power, our struggle to wield it ethically. That seems to me to be very, very important for us to have a conversation about because it shows our tradition has relevance today to the lives of our children. ... Younger American Jews are alienated precisely because of the Jewish community's inability to talk openly and honestly and in an unafraid way about these subjects. That's why, I think, we lose a lot of younger American Jewish kids. They want the right to voice their questions and criticisms openly without being written off. And the American Jewish community hasn't done a good job of that."

On AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee

"I know lots of people in AIPAC and have for many years and they're lovely people. And they want what's best for Israel. But where I disagree with them is that AIPAC defines being pro-Israel as supporting the policies of the Israeli government. I would define being pro-Israel as helping Israel to achieve the principles in its founding document, in its Declaration of Independence – just like I would define being pro-American as helping America live out the ideals in our founding documents, not supporting all the policies of a particular American president. And I think tragically today, we find ourselves in a situation where the Israeli government is supporting policies like subsidizing Jews to move to the West Bank that actually violate Israel's founding ideals. And we are forced to choose between those two commitments."


BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 10:32 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Apr. 04, 2012
Israeli police evict Jewish settlers from house in Hebron
Joel Greenberg | McClatchy Newspapers

HEBRON, West Bank — Israeli police evicted Jewish settlers Wednesday from a house in this volatile West Bank city, heading off what they feared was an attempt to expand settlement enclaves here.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to allay criticism of the move by pledging to secure authorization for three settlement outposts in the West Bank that were built without government approval. He also said he'd ask the attorney general to "find a solution" to prevent the razing of a fourth outpost built on private Palestinian land.

Israeli officials said the Hebron settlers were being evicted because they'd moved in without the required permission from the Israeli military government in the West Bank. Netanyahu suggested that his government ultimately might approve the expansion of the Hebron settlements, however.

"We are strengthening Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria," Netanyahu said, referring to the West Bank by its biblical names, "and we are strengthening Jewish settlement in Hebron, the city of the patriarchs, but there is a principle we abide by: We do it while observing the law."

The issue of Jewish settlers in the West Bank remains a volatile one. There are 120 officially established Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but dozens of others were set up without government approval. Netanyahu's government, whose Cabinet includes several supporters of the settler movement, has taken few steps to dismantle the unauthorized settlements. All the settlements are deemed illegal under international law.

In Hebron, about 850 Jewish settlers live in a cluster of heavily guarded enclaves among 180,000 Palestinians in a part of the city that's controlled by the Israeli army and where movement and access by Palestinians are heavily restricted.

Violence between settlers and Palestinians is common here, and the takeover of the house near the Tomb of the Patriarchs shrine, where tradition holds that the biblical patriarchs and their wives are buried, threatened to heighten tensions.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu intervened to delay the eviction of the settlers, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the eviction a day later, saying the move was necessary to uphold the law because the settlers hadn't asked permission to be there.

"We will not permit a situation where actions are taken to dictate facts on the ground to the authorities," Barak said.

Netanyahu's office said the prime minister had agreed to the eviction after the country's attorney general ruled that the house had to be vacated because the military hadn't authorized its occupation.

The settlers claim that they bought the property from its Palestinian owner, but the mayor of Hebron, Khaled Osaily, said the sale documents had been forged. Such transactions are often done through straw men used to mask the identities of the Palestinians making the sale to representatives of the settlers.

Barak said the ownership of the house would be determined later.

Hallel Gonen, 16, who was in the house with her parents, said police SWAT teams smashed the front door open with a sledgehammer, then hustled the settlers — most of them children — out of the building. She said that only about a dozen people were present, after most of the settlers who'd occupied the house had returned to their original homes to clean them for the approaching Passover holiday.

The settlers made no effort to resist eviction.

Border police ringed the three-story building after it was cleared, and officers were posted on the roof. Officials said security forces would remain in the building until its legal status was verified.

(Greenberg is a McClatchy special correspondent.)
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 12:58 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
in BBB's copy & paste job, NPR, in quoting Peter Beinart, wrote:
"We have to invest and spend our money in the original Israel, which offers the right of citizenship to all people. . ."


Um, what? Israel doesn't offer the right of citizenship to all people. It offers the right of citizenship to Jews. It doesn't even offer the right of citizenship to the Palestinian refugees who have the Right of Return as defined by United Nations Resolution 194 that was drafted shortly after the Nakba.

Quote:
"My reading of many of the founders of the Jewish state was that they didn't only want a state for Jewish protection, they wanted a state where they could live out the ideals that were betrayed by Europe and in that way, they would redeem the Enlightenment ideas that Europe had failed. For me, that is still the struggle – to preserve a Jewish state that tries to live out the principles of Israel's Declaration of Independence, and I feel that that Jewish state is incompatible with a permanent occupation of millions of people who lack citizenship and basic rights, live under military law and don't have freedom of movement simply because they're not Jews."


To which Enlightenment ideas is Beinart referring? Some of the selfsame Enlightenment ideals that he accuses Europe of failing, Israel doesn't even pretend to. Egalitarianism? Sure, if one is a Jew. Democracy? In Israel, "democracy" is for Jews, with a certain concessionary tolerance--minority management--for its non-Jewish (i.e. Israeli Palestinians) population.

These liberal Zionists don't go far enough in their rejection of the policies of Israel as the Zionist state. They recognize that state's oppression of the Palestinians in the occupied territories, but fail to take into account the discrimination of the Israeli Palestinians that is perpetrated in the name of preserving the ethnocentric ends of Zionist ideology: Israel as the state for Jews, and the maintenance of a Jewish majority towards that end to the detriment of the Palestinian peoples and their rights. For them the idea of "Israel for Jews" trumps the human rights of the Palestinian peoples.

In that regard, they are only slightly less to the right of the hardcore Zionist zealots like Binyamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman who either refuse to acknowledge Israel's oppression of and discrimination against the Palestinian peoples, or merely dismiss it with an offhanded, "so what?".
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Jul, 2012 12:55 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
The fight for Israel to claim Palestinian land is getting more dangerous. BBB

A West Bank Bid For Heritage Claims Holy Land
by Daniel Estrin - NPR Weekend Edition Sunday
July 8, 2012

Palestinian officials are throwing a party in the West Bank this weekend to celebrate what they call a national victory. The United Nations' cultural body, UNESCO, accepted a Palestinian request to recognize an important Bethlehem church as an endangered World Heritage site.

But Israel says the Palestinians are exploiting a historical site for political gain, and this latest struggle over historical sites in the Holy Land is just beginning.

Making The List

For millions of believers around the world, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is the ultimate heritage site. It's one of world's oldest functioning churches and marks the spot where tradition says Jesus was born.

For Palestinian tour guides like Adel Dweib, having this sacred site in their own backyard is a badge of honor. For Palestinian leaders, it's also a political opportunity.

After the Palestinians won membership last fall in UNESCO, they submitted an emergency request to get the church on the UN's List of World Heritage in Danger. A UNESCO team of experts inspected the site, noting a leaky roof but concluding the site wasn't in danger. Still, the Palestinians stuck to their emergency request, and they won.

For the Palestinians, it's another symbolic step toward international acceptance as an independent state.

"We're not trying to portray it as political issue. But indeed it is an achievement on our long way to achieve our right to self-determination," Palestinian political adviser Xavier Abu Eid says.

Church clergy were against the move. They were afraid of letting politicians meddle on their turf. The U.S. and Israel also objected.

"This really was far more the Palestinians looking to score a few political points than the need to recognize heritage sites," says Paul Hirschson, spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Members of the Samaritan community make a pilgrimage to Mount Gerizim in 2011 in Nablus, West Bank. Palestinians and Israelis want to claim sites like Mount Gerizim as part of their own heritage.
Enlarge Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Members of the Samaritan community make a pilgrimage to Mount Gerizim in 2011 in Nablus, West Bank. Palestinians and Israelis want to claim sites like Mount Gerizim as part of their own heritage.

Claims To The Same Site

Preserving historic sites has long been a national priority for Israel. Biblical sites that point to a Jewish past aren't just good for tourism. For Israelis, they justify why their country deserves to exist in the first place.

Now that the Palestinians are trying to build a state, they're also seeking to claim sites as part of their own heritage. The problem is Israelis and Palestinians are fighting over many of the same sites, like Mount Gerizim.

It's an archaeological site with panoramic views of the surrounding West Bank hills. The biblical Samaritans built their temple on this site, where Samaritans still pray today. Half of the community lives in Israel. The rest are here. They speak Arabic and attend Palestinian schools.

Palestinians see the Samaritans as proof of their own deep roots in this land. Officials are asking UNESCO to deem this mountain — along with a list of 20 other West Bank sites — as belonging to Palestinian heritage.

But the crisp, new Israeli flags whipping in the wind make it abundantly clear who's the boss here. A few days ago, Israel declared this site a national park.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said the Palestinian Authority claims this site as its own in order to deny Israel's biblical rights to the Holy Land.

"Our response," he said, "is to develop and invest in this place."

Then, the high priest of the tiny Samaritan community — an old man in a red turban — got up to bless the crowd.

Samaritan elder Yefet Cohen said he hopes this place can serve as a bridge between Israelis and Palestinians. But Mount Gerizim, he said, shouldn't be a tourist trap; it's a holy site.

In the Israeli-Palestinian tug-of-war over heritage sites, it's often the custodians who've looked after these places for centuries who feel the uncomfortable pull.
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jul, 2012 08:35 am
Why the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process Is Doomed
by Barry Rubin, Middle East Review of International Affairs, June, 2012

(Editor's Note: This article is excerpted from a longer piece, "Is the Peace Process Dead?" which is worth reading in its entirety: Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 16, No. 2.)

THE REALITY OF PALESTINIAN POLITICS

The claim that a "peace process" exists and might actually result in a diplomatic solution assumes that the Palestinian leadership desires a negotiated two-state agreement that would permanently end the conflict. This assumption actually has no real basis in fact, demonstrated precisely by the events since the 1993 Oslo agreement and the 2000 breakdown in that process due to Yasir Arafat's rejection of any frame for negotiation except a total capitulation to all Palestinian demands.

If one examines every article in the Palestinian media over that 20-year period, every textbook, every radio and television program, every mosque sermon, and every speech of leaders in Arabic directed at their own people, it is virtually impossible to find a single one that calls for conciliation, compromise, or even a long-term acceptance of Israel's existence.

There is virtually not a single example of a statement accepting the idea of negotiating a permanent end of the conflict, granting Israel's existence any legitimacy and indeed viewing it as anything other than temporary, or accepting–what one would expect from a nationalist movement–the resettlement of Palestinian refugees in the state of Palestine.

In all analyses of the "peace process," there is hardly ever any examination of Palestinian politics: the nature of the leadership and the state of the debate. For example, if one looks at the Fatah Central Committee, there are virtually no moderates. Once one gets beyond Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and, albeit using that term very loosely, "President" Mahmoud Abbas, it is almost impossible to discover someone who could be called "moderate" at all.

Palestinians, thus, have no "peace party" but merely a choice between two problematic leaderships: one that refuses in practice to make peace; the other that outspokenly declares its rejection of peace. While the former is nationalist (Fatah) and the latter is (Islamist), the basic arguments they use are quite similar.

Here are the basic themes of current Palestinian thinking, none of which is even under significant attack in the internal debate:

Israel is completely unjust and can never be accepted. Total victory is necessary since any outcome that involves Israel's continued existence is against Islam and the needs of the Arab nation.
Israel is an impossibility since Jews are not a real nation. Therefore, it must eventually collapse.
Total victory is possible and indeed inevitable. Eventually, proper rule, mobilization, and population growth will allow Arabs/Muslims to wipe out Israel. Consequently, a compromise that locks them into a permanent peace and reduces their ability to stage a "second round" to eliminate Israel is treasonous. Even if the current generation cannot win, it has no right to take away the chance of future generations to do so.
Consequently, compromise with Israel is treason. Anyone who gives up an inch of Palestinian land is a traitor. Anyone who shows empathy for Israel is a traitor. Anyone who ties the hands of Palestinians in seeking future total victory is a traitor.
These are overwhelmingly dominant concepts in Palestinian politics, and virtually not a single person will speak against them. The public will not accept compromise or concessions, because it has been conditioned by years of political and religious indoctrination. Contrary to Western expectations, a politician cannot launch a "pragmatic" policy, as would happen in other polities, saying: "Let's end the suffering, make peace, get a state, and raise living standards."

Consequently, to advocate speedy negotiations, a flexible bargaining position, compromises, and a true two-state solution along with conciliation between the two nation-states is political suicide due to the beliefs of Palestinian leaders, public opinion, the willingness of rivals to outbid moderates, and the threat of destruction to one's political career or even death.

The above points discourage any Palestinian leader from wanting to make peace with Israel or feeling that any conceivable compromise peace is possible to implement. Indeed, it makes more logical a PA/Fatah preference for such things as refusing to negotiate, slowing negotiations, raising more preconditions, and seeking unilateral independence through the UN and other international agencies.

One can add to all that the extremely high likelihood that any negotiated solution, even if it were to be implemented against all of these odds, would quickly break down in the face of interference by Islamist forces; other regional countries; public opinion; political rivalry; a revolution or coup sooner or later; and the inevitability of cross-border terrorism against Israel, which a Palestinian government would be unable and/or unwilling to curb.

THE AGE OF ISLAMISM

In addition to all of these factors, is the reality that one has now entered an era in which hardline revolutionary Islamism has become the hegemonic ideology in the region. As a result, any peace process faces three other obstacles:

The Palestinian Authority and Fatah now confront a situation even more antagonistic to negotiation or peace with Israel. To go in that direction would lead to a confrontation with a stronger Hamas rival that now enjoys considerable support from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt. For its part, Fatah does not have a single regional ally.
A weakened United States either will not or cannot put pressure on the PA to move toward peace with Israel. Even if the PA wanted to follow U.S. preferences, Washington can offer it little or no protection for doing so.
Hamas is much stronger, therefore constituting a far more formidable rival or a more attractive ally. By choosing the path of alliance with Hamas–no matter how shaky or haunted by mistrust that relationship is–Fatah and the PA have chosen to reject any peace process with Israel.
The Islamist factor places more nails in an already hyper-sealed peace-process coffin.

0 Replies
 
Advocate
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jul, 2012 08:55 am
At the outset, I apologize for not replying to various posts. Due to a technical problem, which evidently cannot be solved, I do not receive any emails mentioning posts to threads in which I elect to receive emails.

Since the Pals refuse to reach a reasonable settlement with Israel, and chose to remain in a state of war, Israel has every right to expand into the WB and Gaza, which constituted a war prize of Israel. There has never been a Pal nation in those territories. They were previously held by the Brits in the British Mandate, and the Turks as part of the old Ottoman Empire.
InfraBlue
 
  3  
Reply Tue 10 Jul, 2012 12:09 pm
@Advocate,
Quote:
At the outset, I apologize for not replying to various posts. Due to a technical problem, which evidently cannot be solved, I do not receive any emails mentioning posts to threads in which I elect to receive emails.


And here I was thinking that you no longer cared for us.

Quote:
Since the Pals refuse to reach a reasonable settlement with Israel, and chose to remain in a state of war, Israel has every right to expand into the WB and Gaza, which constituted a war prize of Israel.


Says you and the Zionists!

"Reasonable" here meaning congruent with the Zionists' discriminatory and oppressive ethnocentric ends of a state "for Jews" throughout all of Palestine.

Quote:
There has never been a Pal nation in those territories. They were previously held by the Brits in the British Mandate, and the Turks as part of the old Ottoman Empire.


So what? The state of Israel has never existed in those territories either.
0 Replies
 
Advocate
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Jul, 2012 02:02 pm
I still love some of you guys. I am going to try to change my email address for A2K purposes to see if that helps.

Israel never claimed specific borders until a state was formed. It is laughable to see the Pals, who have no state, try to claim specific borders.

It is interesting that Muslims can live all over the world and, in fact, have over a million living in Israel. But god forbid that a Jew wants to live in the WB or Gaza. The Jew would soon be murdered if the Pals are able to do this.

izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jul, 2012 04:48 am
@Advocate,
The settlers don't just want to live in Gaza or the West Bank. They want to terrorise the indiginous population, and for that matter any Israeli who is concerned about the human rights of the Palestinians.

oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Thu 13 Sep, 2012 01:07 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
When will Israel finally admit that it has no intention to give up the land it stole from the Palestinians? BBB


There are a couple of major factual errors in the premise of your question.

First, since the West Bank is Israel's ancient homeland and the Palestinians are illegal invaders, the only thieves here are the Palestinians.

And second, Israel has long been willing to hand over land in return for peace. The ONLY reason the land was never handed over is because Palestinians have no interest in peace.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Thu 13 Sep, 2012 01:08 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
Should American Jews Boycott West Bank Settlements?


Speaking as an American Catholic (non practicing), I fully support the settlers in all their endeavors.



BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
Beinart still supports Israel but thinks that the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which now have more than 300,000 residents, are compromising Israel's commitment to democracy. In his book The Crisis of Zionism and in a recent New York Times op-ed, Beinart has proposed a boycott of goods made in those Jewish settlements.


He is confused. The vast majority of the settlers live west of the separation fence. The vast majority of the Palestinians live east of the separation fence.

There is no threat to Israeli democracy. (At least, not one that can't be solved by simply annexing everything west of the fence.)
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Thu 13 Sep, 2012 01:09 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
The fight for Israel to claim Palestinian land is getting more dangerous. BBB


Again, the West Bank is Israeli land. The Palestinians are illegal invaders.

And if the Palestinians would simply make peace instead of trying to murder innocent people, they would receive that land, even though it does not rightfully belong to them.

Israel is not trying to keep it all to themselves (even though they would be right to do so).
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Thu 13 Sep, 2012 01:20 pm
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:
The settlers don't just want to live in Gaza or the West Bank. They want to terrorise the indiginous population, and for that matter any Israeli who is concerned about the human rights of the Palestinians.


As far as the West Bank goes, the settlers ARE the indigenous population. The West Bank is Israel's ancient homeland, and the Palestinians are illegal invaders.

There are no settlers in Gaza. But the Palestinians are not the indigenous population there either.

And the only terrorists in either place are the Palestinians.
Moment-in-Time
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Mar, 2013 04:57 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Quote:

The Israeli Supreme Court on Sunday rejected the state's request to postpone dismantling a large, unsanctioned West Bank settler enclave until late 2015, dealing a serious blow to settler hopes to keep dozens of rogue outposts standing.


Terrific article, Bumble.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  4  
Reply Mon 25 Mar, 2013 05:02 pm
@oralloy,
Quote:
The West Bank is Israel's ancient homeland


North America is the Native Americans' ancient homeland and all the Europeans are illegal invaders.
Advocate
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Mar, 2013 08:22 am
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Quote:
The West Bank is Israel's ancient homeland


North America is the Native Americans' ancient homeland and all the Europeans are illegal invaders.


Native Americans are free to live wherever they want in the USA. But Jews seeking to live in the WB and Gaza are targeted for murder.
Moment-in-Time
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Mar, 2013 08:53 am
@Advocate,
Quote:

Native Americans are free to live wherever they want in the USA. But Jews seeking to live in the WB and Gaza are targeted for murder.


Could it be simply that Jews wish to own the entire land as opposed to merely living there like normal people? Jews, Muslims, Christians once lived together side by side.....What happened?!

The Zionist movement wanted the entire region....and they tried every trick in the book until they succeeded....almost! Gaza was relinquished to the Palestinians because Israel wanted the rest of the entire shebang. People can see where Israel is coming from a mile away. That is why Israel is bombarded by rockets and this will continue until Israel, an expansionist nation, gives up its greedy ways.

Advocate, you and I are fellow travelers in this world....our problem is merely one of disagreeing on a specific subject. I can understand your passion because I have the same zeal as you, however, my mind is not shut. I do not believe in gods or that some god gave the whole of Palestine to one ethnic group called Hebrews and that 2000 years later they returned to say GIVE ME BACK MY LAND! No court in this world would recognize such a claim!

BTW, when the Hebrews did rule it was for a mere 600 years out of the 5000 years of recorded history. The land has changed hands many times and ruled by some longer than the Hebrews. The only reason the Holy Land is spotlighted to day is because of the monotheistic faiths that grew out of the Abrahamic heritage. Arabs was not the cause of the Holocaust against European Jews, so why should they have to be displaced, demonized, live under apartheid conditions, fenced off, lacking freedom IN THEIR OWN LAND!?!?!
 

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