Thursday, July 13, 2006

Nasser Aruri Interview on Democracy Now

AMY GOODMAN: We're joined on the phone right now by Naseer Aruri, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, author of the book, Dishonest Broker: America's Role in Israel and Palestine. And on the phone with us from Tel Aviv, we're joined by Uri Avnery, a well known Israeli peace activist. Naseer Aruri, your response to what's happening both in Gaza and now in Lebanon?

NASEER ARURI: Well, I think we can take the two situations as actually -- as an opportunity, I think, for Israel to reshape the strategic landscape in the region. I think that the Israeli invasion of Gaza and the incursion into Lebanon, which you just described very well, are considerably the product of the same strategic goals. And I would mention two main goals.

One is to forestall a diplomatic solution based on two states, for which Hamas has been more than ready. I think Hamas has really been on record since it was elected, in interviews with the Israeli press, that it is ready to accept a two-state solution. If that was not given explicitly, certainly it was made implicit. And two days ago, Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister from Hamas, launched a peace offensive in an op-ed in the Washington Post. So it was made really very clear. And it seems that whenever Israel is threatened with a ceasefire or a peace offensive, it bombs its way out of a diplomatic settlement. I mean, the question of Hamas not accepting Israel is certainly not a valid one. So this is the first strategic goal that Israel would hope to realize.

And the second one, I think, is to try to realize objectives that remain unfulfilled since the ’82 invasion and made worse since 2000, since Israel withdrew from Lebanon. What I have in mind is that in 1982 the Israeli invasion of Lebanon carried three major objectives. One is to foreclose on the option of a Palestinian state, because I think the PLO came to be seen in Lebanon as a state in formation, a state in waiting. That's one. The second objective of 1982 was to redraw the map, the political map, of Lebanon in such a way that it would bring the rightwing Phalange, Israel's allies, into power. And the third one is to reduce Syria's influence to manageable proportion.

Well, if you look at the situation now, we find that only the first one was realized, not really realized -- I should say, postponed -- and that is the foreclosure on the option of a Palestinian state. It is still a state in waiting. So Israel calculates now that it has a chance, an opportunity to reshape the strategic landscape and to realize objectives that remain there pending, but not realized.

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