"This is how I understand the struggle...To stand steadily like spears, and never give up." Naji Al-Ali

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dissecting the United States Senate’s Hypocrisy:

In a recent letter (PDF) to President Obama, 87 members of the Senate have urged the President to not let Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas walk away from direct negotiations despite the expiration of Israel’s so-called “moratorium” on settlement construction.

The intention of this letter is to no doubt coax President Obama into publicly pressuring Abbas to continue his participation in direct negotiations. Yet, far from being concerned with creating a “meaningful and lasting peace agreement,” the letter does more to wholly shield Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel from any wrongdoing through obfuscation and equivocation, as if to lay the groundwork for pinning the inevitable failure of this endeavor squarely on the Palestinians’ shoulders.

Firstly, the letter does nothing to mention why Abbas would consider leaving negotiations in the first place, Israel’s resumption of settlement construction. However, it must first be noted that at no time during the “freeze” did Israel actually stop building. The freeze itself was only limited to new construction within the West Bank, and thus did not apply to construction in East Jerusalem or on settlements which were already approved. It also did nothing to stop the razing of Palestinian villages to make room for future construction.

According to an Associated Press article
“The government's own figures — and the assessments of Israeli peace activists monitoring construction — show building has barely slowed down.

In the third quarter of 2009, before the restrictions were imposed last November, there were 2,790 settlement homes in various stages of construction, according to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics. The number rose to 2,955 in the last quarter of 2009, reflecting a last-minute surge of housing starts in the days leading up to the freeze.

In the first quarter of 2010, with the freeze in full effect, the number stood at 2,517.
That means that even months into the halt, the number of homes under construction had declined by only about 10 percent.”
 The article goes on to say:
“In reality, around 450 new housing units have begun construction since the slowdown went into effect, according to Peace Now. Still, those numbers reflect a drop of about 50 percent in the pace of new home construction.”
Essentially, far from a “moratorium,” Israel has still managed to begin new construction on at least 450 housing units. In a report issued by the Land and Research Center, published by the International Middle East Media Center, “some 1,520 units were built or are currently under construction,” as of the day the freeze expired.

At the same time:
“Israel annexed 5,906 dunams of Palestinian lands during the ‘settlement freeze’, and uprooted 920 dunams of Palestinian farmlands and orchards.

Also during the freeze, Israel demolished 280 homes and structures, and intends to demolish nearly 830 structures.

Israel also prevented the paving of 10 new roads in several parts of the West Bank, while settlers occupied 13 homes and managed to pave 28 settler-only roads.”
Furthermore, the “freeze” itself is a meaningless gesture in the face of international law, under which any settlement of occupied lands is illegal. According to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” The complex web of control that always accompanies settlements also violates Palestinian rights in its own respect.

The fact of the matter is, Abbas cannot continue to negotiate for the emergence of a Palestinian state when Israel is doing its best to take over as much of the land that such a state would rest on as possible. Such bad faith on Israel’s part cannot be dismissed.

The letter goes on to praise Netanyahu’s commitment to peace in the face of “enemies of peace that will do anything in their power to derail the direct talks,” referencing recent violence against settlers as well as Hezbollah’s condemnation of the talks from the start.  The letter fails to mention the 12 Palestinians killed by the IDF since the beginning of negotiations including a 14 month-old infant, a 91 year-old man and his grandson, a man extra-judicially executed in his bed, and a man shot while handcuffed among others.

Hezbollah’s denunciation of the peace talks raises an important point, namely, who has the right to cede portions of Palestine, and by implication, make concessions to Israel? The letter fails to recognize the fact that Abbas is not the legitimate president of Palestine (nor is Fayyad the Prime Minister) and that the people of Gaza are not represented by anyone at all, making any peace agreement reached extremely difficult to implement.

The letter also takes a familiar Zionist tactic in trying to shift the blame for the conditions in Palestine on other Arab countries, neglecting to understand that while most Arab nations have a history of playing political football with Palestinian rights, it is Israel that has created the situation the Senate calls on other countries to clean up.

With such intellectually dishonest Zionist propaganda permeating the Senate so pervasively, it is no wonder that the letter does its best to emphasize the “special relationship” the United States has with Israel, one in which Israel is the master and the United States the puppet.

1 comment:

  1. Maggie the link you have in your twitter feed for this website is invalid, correct it. Nice article by the way, this coming from a DOD guy.