Palestine Update 364
Annexation is a political gimmick which will boomerang on Israel
Israel’s political lexicon has very limited scope. That is because Israel’s political spectrum is largely confined to policies of colonialism, racism, and occupation. These, in themselves, offer political parties limited options. They are all centered on racism and land theft. In such a political confine, Israel has to survive on being a rogue state by bullying its neighbours, making war with anyone who challenges its evil political designs, and humiliating the Palestinians who were the original inhabitants of the very land Israel wants to make their own.
Election manifestos in Israel are about which party can inflict worse damage to the Palestinians than the other. At the end, every party would have said more or less the same thing and the election result is a stalemate. It’s a question of ‘heads you lose; tails you lose”! In the last election that concluded with an embarrassing result once again. It became clear that no further election would produce a precise result. Political compromises had to be the way forward. Political opposites have attracted each other. Palestinians must bear up with this hilarious political cacophony.
In the just concluded election, each party told the electorate how rottenly they would beat up the Palestinians and bring gains to Israel. One of those promises was that Israel would annex more West Bank land. Now, how big a deal is that? All political parties have reached the lowest common denominator. If annexation happens, the PA may just collapse and the music that follows will be Israel’s worst nightmare- running an apartheid state and losing the global plot.
Will the outcome and patchwork government they stitched together, hand Israel a victory or create more political chaos from which it may never really emerge. There is a saying which goes something like this: “When your enemy is committing suicide, you don’t intervene by committing homicide”! To endure, Israel will have to beg and borrow from the US and anyone who will give them aid. So it will remain a nation minus dignity needing wars, armaments, security aid, and a sturdy military-industrial-complex which will sell as much as it can to rogue regimes – all in all, an unholy and insecure way to live.
At the end of the day, Israel is a messy place. It fears its own shadow because by itself it is evil. So the shadow it sees is the evil it is.
The articles we share in this issue pose and answer these questions from different perspectives. Israel will be dined by its wickedness unless it transforms into a normal and genuine democracy, until it negotiates a just deal and returns all it stole, or exists in its own prison surrounded by fear and an army of terrorists (their own army) who see themselves in the mirror and assume that what they see is the enemy. Israel is its own enemy.
Let Israel Annex the West Bank
It’s the least worst option for Palestinians
By Gideon Levy
What is the center-left camp in Israel afraid of when it comes to annexation? Why are the European Union and other countries feigning such a clamor against this coming development? For Israel and Palestine, annexation isn’t the end of the world. Listen to Gideon Levy
Annexation has always been presented as the mother of all disasters, but we have to stop fearing it, and even say yes to it. It is shaping up as the only way out of the deadlock, the only possible shake-up that could end this status quo of despair we’ve gotten stuck in, which can no longer lead anywhere good. Annexation is indeed an intolerable prize for the occupier and an outrageous punishment for the occupied. It legitimizes the most serious crimes and severs the most just of dreams – but the alternative is even worse. It would eternalize the criminal situation – this situation has long been perpetuated; it would establish a reality of apartheid – a reality that has existed for quite some time. But annexation would also put an end to the lies, and require everyone to look the truth straight in the eye. And the truth is that the occupation is here to stay, there were never any intentions to do otherwise; it has already created an irreversible situation, some 700,000 settlers, including those in East Jerusalem, who will never be removed, and without their removal the Palestinians will be left with nothing but Bantustans, neither a state nor even a joke of a state.
This is what the opponents of annexation fear: Without a declarative and legal process it will be possible to continue to sow delusions forever. Annexation would threaten the fallacious life of the Palestinian Authority, which continues to behave as though it were a free state with sovereignty just around the corner; of the Israeli peace camp, which continues to believe there’s still a possibility for a two-state solution; and the European Union, which thinks it’s enough to issue (strong!) condemnations against Israel, and then to sit and do nothing against the apartheid, to fund and arm it, and present its “common values,” with Israel. Annexation would challenge the deniers of reality who have never been challenged in their lives. Therefore you must be in favor of it despite the injustice and disasters it is liable to create; in the long run, the price will be less than that of the existing situation.
If annexation were to happen, the Palestinian Authority would collapse, the Oslo Accords would be cancelled, Israel’s image would sustain damage and another cycle of bloodshed is liable to erupt. Shaul Arieli says: “The step of annexation would deal a great blow to the balancing points in the current situation and upset their fragile equilibrium.”? The stability that the occupation has created, its routine normality, is the great enemy of any hope to end it. You don’t have to be an anarchist or a Marxist to see the latent opportunity in this terrible vision. Annexation is after all more reversible than the settlements: The policy of annexation can someday be changed into democracy. We’ve been waiting for this blow to land. It’s our last hope.
There’s no chance Israel will awaken one morning of its own free will and say: Occupation isn’t nice, let’s end it. Whoever knows the Palestinians knows that they have never been so weak and isolated and fragmented and bereft of any fighting spirit.
For Palestinian rights movement, Biden poses a familiar quandary (Excerpts)
For a brief moment earlier this year, it looked like the Democratic Party was about to select a presidential candidate who would upend American foreign policy by conditioning U.S. military aid to Israel on its respect for Palestinian human rights. But on April 8, after a string of devastating primary losses, Senator Bernie Sanders, who repeatedly denounced Israel’s occupation and “racist” government, dropped out of the Democratic race, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden, a stalwart supporter of Israel, as the party’s presumptive nominee.
Now, the Palestinian rights movement in the United States is confronting an old, familiar question: how do we engage with a Democratic presidential campaign that has never given us anything to praise, and much to criticize. Palestinian rights advocates across the board say that they hold no hope of Biden becoming a vociferous critic of Israel. Some advocates say that pressure campaigns aimed at Biden have a marginally better chance of success than any campaign aimed at President Donald Trump, whose administration has shifted U.S. policy on Israel far to the right. “When an administration professes a commitment to progressive values and human rights, it becomes more susceptible to pressure to live up to such values.” Others are less convinced that progressive pressure can shift a candidate like Biden. They argue that the more effective path is to continue shifting public opinion in favor of Palestinian rights and that eventually these changes will bubble up to the corridors of power.
But Noura Erakat, a Palestinian-American human rights attorney and assistant professor at Rutgers University, told +972 that “Biden is not going to do anything. We need to know that for sure.”Still, Erakat agreed that pursuing the Palestinian rights movement’s agenda would be easier under a Biden administration. “We have to get Trump out of office in order to create enough room to do the political work that we want to do,” said Erakat. “[Biden’s] definitely a foe, but a foe under whose liberal administration gives a little bit more breathing room for us to organize effectively.”
Elders Issue scathing rebuke Trump-Approved Annexation Plan
A group of former global leaders known as The Elders decried Israel’s new West Bank annexation plan, calling the proposal an affront to international law that further dims the prospect of regional peace and represents “a unilateral repudiation of the two-state solution.” The new statement from The Elders, an independent group founded by the late Nelson Mandela, is the latest example of an increasing chorus of repudiation of the Trump administration-approved plan to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank.
Fulfulling that proposal would be disastrous, said The Elders, instead calling for “meaningful dialogue” to kickstart a new peace initiative. “The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians can only ever be solved by finding a solution that guarantees peace, security, rights, and dignity to both peoples,” said Mary Robinson, chair of The Elders and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Unilaterally seizing territory and ignoring international law achieves precisely the opposite. Such a move betrays both the interests of Israeli citizens and the ideals of the State’s founders,” said Robinson.
As the Associated Press reported last week the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to meet with Netanyahu this week, with a focus of the trip expected to be the annexation plan. Alone among most governments, the Trump administration has said it will support the annexation of West Bank territory claimed by the Palestinians for an eventual state as long as Israel agrees to enter peace talks with the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority has firmly rejected the so-called “vision for peace,” as has the Arab League.
“If the joint mapping of Palestinian lands to be seized by the Israeli government continues, the standing of the United States in the international community will be further damaged. The West Bank belongs to Palestine, and any changes should be mutually agreed upon,” said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, an Elder Emeritus. According to Ban Ki-moon, deputy chair of The Elders and former Secretary-General of the U.N., the plan should spur global outrage. “The principles of international law are the bedrock of our global order,” he said. “They provide a framework for defending rights and exercising power that is crucial to all global challenges. Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank would not only be an act of aggressive folly, it would have a destructive influence on global rights and norms. I call on the whole world to speak out against this damaging agenda.”