Thursday, December 14, 2017

Bulldozing the Peace Process in Israel

David Shulman, New York Review of Books: What has brought about this move toward mass demolitions and dispossession of Palestinian communities in Jerusalem and the occupied territories? Simply put: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers think they can now get away with a campaign of slow ethnic cleansing. When Netanyahu claims, as he did recently, that Israel's situation has never been better, he means, in part, that in his own mind he has smashed the Palestinian national movement once and for all. I have no doubt that this has been his goal all along. Indeed, Palestinians in the occupied territories are worn out, demoralized, fenced into small discontinuous enclaves where they lack basic human rights, where their land and other property may be appropriated at any moment, and where they may be arrested and incarcerated at the army's whim. They are, by now, largely paralyzed by despair. Trump's announcement on Jerusalem may galvanize them back into action; we shall see.

More

By now, though, given the damage that has been done, it may be too late to create two sovereign states west of the Jordan River. What Trump did last week contributes to that conclusion, as the veteran Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat has said: "President Trump has delivered a message to the Palestinian people: the two-state solution is over. Now is the time to transform the struggle for one-state with equal rights for everyone living in historic Palestine, from the river to the sea." If this transformation happens, we will see the rise of something like the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. It will not be a process that the Israeli right can control. Many activists on both sides feel that this struggle has already begun. Trump's announcement on Jerusalem, having alienated ab initio the Palestinian partner, may well signal the end of American attempts to mediate in the conflict; the peace package the administration is supposedly putting together, whatever blandishments it may contain, is unlikely to get off the ground.

Perhaps it was doomed from the start, given Trump's now manifest support for the Netanyahu vision of reality -- the Israeli settlers' extreme perspective. Some weeks ago, my fellow activists and I were accompanying some Palestinian shepherds in the Jordan Valley. We encountered several young settler hooligans from one of the new, illegal outposts that sit, as always, on stolen Palestinian land. They wanted to engage us in conversation -- in their eyes, we are an exotic and dangerous curiosity -- and we entered into a debate with them about what is right and what is wrong. After a few minutes, one of them said:

"You are right about one thing. In sheer human terms, what we are doing to these Palestinian people is inhuman. However, if you think about it, you will see that it follows inevitably from the fact that God promised the whole land to the Jews, as the Bible tells us. So it's not just that we don't want these shepherds to be here on these lands. We don't want them to be anywhere, on any lands. We want them not to be."

Comments

"We want them not to be."

The eternal prayer of ignorant zealots, everywhere, throughout history.

#1 | Posted by Doc_Sarvis at 2017-12-14 08:04 AM

Israel are the belligerents here. NOT the Palestinians.

#2 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-12-14 09:32 AM

Turkey has now recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Great work Trump, you ---- idiot.

#3 | Posted by danni at 2017-12-14 09:55 AM

Trump has likely unleashed a future torrent of terrorist attacks in Israel and the US.

#4 | Posted by Sycophant at 2017-12-14 12:44 PM

Ancedotes from the sheep hills of Palestine... what's the Arabic word for eye-roll?

#5 | Posted by gavaster at 2017-12-14 01:02 PM

Residents of a country have a right to citizenship and in a democracy, a vote, otherwise you support apartheid.

#6 | Posted by bored at 2017-12-14 01:29 PM

Ancedotes from the sheep hills of Palestine... what's the Arabic word for eye-roll?

#5 | POSTED BY GAVASTER

Really? Because Israel keeps bulldozing Palestinian homes and taking land through settlements... And they control how little drinking water the Palestinians get.

#7 | Posted by Sycophant at 2017-12-14 01:39 PM

Gavaster never saw a land seizure from brown people he didn't support.

Israelis will be better stewards of that land anyway.

Might as well push the Arabs into the sea while we're at it.

Eretz Yisrael, right Gavaster? Don't be shy, let your Zionist flag fly!

#8 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-12-14 01:42 PM

Ancedotes from the sheep hills of Palestine...
#5 | POSTED BY GAVASTER AT 2017-12-14 01:02 PM | FLAG:

Hey, it was good enough to spread word of the birth of Christ.

Luke 2:16-20

#9 | Posted by DirkStruan at 2017-12-14 01:45 PM

LM: Be clear. The formal recognition by the Trump administration of Jerusalem as Isreal's capital was an American move. Even though Netanyahu might support it, it was not an Israeli move. This is important to keep in mind because a flood of hatred toward Israel, and not so much toward the US, has followed Trump's announcement.

I understand how we combine the actions of allies, and assign responsibility for them interchangeably. But in this case that is inappropriate. Don't blame Israel for Trump's unilateral action. Even if the worst elements of the Israeli rightwing are cheering it on.

#10 | Posted by moder8 at 2017-12-14 01:59 PM

LM: Be clear. The formal recognition by the Trump administration of Jerusalem as Isreal's capital was an American move. Even though Netanyahu might support it, it was not an Israeli move. This is important to keep in mind because a flood of hatred toward Israel, and not so much toward the US, has followed Trump's announcement.

I understand how we combine the actions of allies, and assign responsibility for them interchangeably. But in this case that is inappropriate. Don't blame Israel for Trump's unilateral action. Even if the worst elements of the Israeli rightwing are cheering it on.

#10 | Posted by moder8 at 2017-12-14 01:59 PM | Reply | Flag:

Save your breath. You're never honest about Israel and this time's no different. Don't kid yourself the Israelis have a lot to do with this NOT just Trump.

#11 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-12-14 02:56 PM

nymag.com

Influenced by Netanyahu (a Kushner family friend) and Kushner's Saudi and Emirati pals, the Trump administration has dealt with the Palestinians mostly as its Middle Eastern allies have: by shunting them aside. Since handing the Mideast portfolio over to his son-in-law earlier this year, Trump has done nothing to convince the Palestinians that he is trustworthy; now, his next move could basically scuttle any chance of his administration being seen as an honest broker in peace talks.

Indeed, the implicit message would be that the U.S. is not there to serve as an honest broker at all, but rather to be an enforcer of Israel's terms. This may appease a certain cohort of Israel-Palestine theorists on the right who believe the only path forward for Israel is unilateral, but stirring up conflict with inflammatory gestures that serve little practical purpose is a suspect way to make peace, if peace is indeed the goal. It's also not a great look for Kushner, who is in special prosecutor Robert Mueller's sights partly due to his fishy contacts with Israel.

Even more puzzling is that there is no clear constituency for this, other than Netanyahu himself, the Israeli right, and a few Israel-obsessed Jewish-American billionaires, such as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. The cause of moving the U.S. embassy has some traction among evangelicals and far-right members of Congress, but this isn't exactly a vote-winning issue. Most American Jews don't care; most Christian Zionists will vote for the Republicans anyway. Just like the Republican tax cuts, the only Americans who benefit from the U.S moving our embassy to Jerusalem are a few hyperideological Republican donors.

#12 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-12-14 03:06 PM

#7-8

Pretending Palestinians are innocent is as dishonest as saying Israel hasn't been aggressive. But come on, sheepherder's gossip about wanting Palestinian genocide? Worse than Zat's pool water temperature. It deserves ridicule.

Meanwhile the Turkish President just made thinly veiled threats of killing all Jews. "Those who think they own Jerusalem better know that tomorrow they won't be able to hide behind trees," Erdogan said, according to Bozkurt." The reference is to this quote...

"The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews."

So yeah. The President of Turkey just threatened a Jewish genocide. It's the Middle East. Back out all UN and foreign troops and let them fight it out. Last man standing wins.

BTW....have you looked at a map of Germany before WWI and after & WWII? War changes things. Israel and Palestine have been fighting since 1947. Israel is winning, the Palestinians are losing. It's a war zone. It's bloody, it's messy, and standing on the outside looking in trying say who's right and who is wrong is a fool's errand.

#13 | Posted by gavaster at 2017-12-14 07:05 PM

"Pretending Palestinians are innocent is as dishonest as saying Israel hasn't been aggressive."

Let some outside force give your country to another outside group, take your land, take your homes, see what your reaction will be. My guess, if you were in the same position as the Palestinians you would defend your property and your rights. Why shouldn't they?

#14 | Posted by danni at 2017-12-15 07:26 AM

"Israel and Palestine have been fighting since 1947. Israel is winning, the Palestinians are losing."

Israel is an artificial nation created by the UN, they aren't winning, they are succeeding because the United States armed them better than any other nation in the ME. They weren't even a country before 1947, some of those Palestinian families had held properties for centuries (like 9). The allies felt terrible about the holocaust and gave away other people's nations to make nice with the Jews, sorry but those nations were already occupied.
Should have given the Jews Montana. Montana would be more prosperous today and the ME could continue being the s**t h**e it always has been and America would not be involved in ME politics.

#15 | Posted by danni at 2017-12-15 07:31 AM

#14-15

It's war. Ever hear of Bulgaria? Bosnia & Herzegovina? Greece? Romania, Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, Hungary, Montenegro, Iraq, Balkans, and Turkey...all came out of the Ottoman Empire, including half of Egypt. Should we re-establish the Ottoman Empire? Give back America to Native Americans? How about we return the annexed German lands given to France? Israel/Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. Britain conquered it during the war. Abolish Palestine and Israel and return the Ottoman Empire. Sound good?

BTW, let us all known when you call the Seminole tribe and return their land to them, you know since you colonized it and everything.

#16 | Posted by gavaster at 2017-12-15 11:02 AM

#16 | GAVASTER
The UN can address these issues at a future date.

#17 | Posted by Whizzo at 2017-12-15 01:28 PM

#16 | GAVASTER
The UN can address these issues at a future date.

#17 | Posted by Whizzo at 2017-12-15 01:28 PM | Reply | Flag:

Not when the biggest bully of them all THE USA backs Israel and has a permanent seat on the UNSC.

#18 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-12-15 02:08 PM

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