Friday, August 31, 2007
Ahead of this autumn's projected peace conference, Israeli politicians are stumbling over themselves to set the shrewdest terms for negotiations.
By Azmi Bishara
"Once it had ascertained that the Palestinians were solidly split right down the middle, Israel reverted to its old ways. It dug into its all too familiar bag of tricks, lies and sleights of hand while sustaining constant prattle about the need to protect its eternal security and to forefend the threat to its democracy, which entails subjecting the lands and welfare of other peoples to its own domestic squabbling, political party rivalries and media sparring. So, once again, the other side, which had agreed to become the other "party", found itself sucked into worrying about Israel's internal affairs and the call for early elections, the identity conflict between Israeli secularists and religious fanatics, and the national obsession over the soul-wrenching "agony" of having to suppress and subjugate another people. No other oppressed or occupied people in the world have ever been forced into such an unnatural, almost "normalised", concern for the internal concerns of the people who occupied their land and usurped their national rights........
In reality, the Palestinian negotiator, now "disengaged" from Gaza and Hamas, is pawn to these and other ugly Israeli games. And he hasn't received anything in return; Israel has him in its grips with no other Arabs to worry about. It is a very patient player: it will wring every last drop of advantage it can from his delight at having been rewarded with this long sought after "partnership", and his eagerness to vaunt and display the sprinklings of Israeli "magnanimity". How else can one interpret Tzipi Livni's recent announcement ( Haaretz, 15 August) that Israel has linked progress in negotiations with normalisation with the Arab world? Israel has taken Palestinian negotiators hostage and is now blackmailing Arab capitals......"