Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Last year President Jacques Chirac asked Régis Debray to study the situation in the Middle East. On 15 January 2007 Debray sent the French authorities the following document on Palestine. It is an important key to understanding a long policy drift whose results are now obvious.
by Régis Debray
Le Monde diplomatique
"......There is a huge gap between what is said because we want to hear it (local withdrawals, easing of travel restrictions, removal of one checkpoint out of 20, a change of tone) and what is being done on the ground, which we don't want to see (interlinking of settlements, construction of bridges and tunnels, encirclement of Palestinian towns, expropriation of land, destruction of houses). Some would describe that gap as duplicity, others as ambiguity. The gradual encroachment happens out of sight of the cameras, without causing a stir and without an explicit colonial diktat. Nobody makes a formal complaint, even supposing they can find out what's going on - difficult if you haven't grown up locally. Israeli maps and school textbooks refer to the West Bank as Judea and Samaria and, following the Knesset's recent rejection of a proposal from a Labour education minister, obliteration of the 1967 green line is now a legal fait accompli.
This is not just a gap between the de facto and de jure situations. It reflects a method and tradition going back to the earliest days of the Yishuv (2): the strategy of fait accompli. That strategy has always paid off: the Jewish state was there before it was declared and recognised in 1948, as was the army. What we have is a theatre with two stages: on the international stage we hear repeated vague and encouraging speeches concerning withdrawal, coexistence and a Palestinian state, but the things that count (settlements, roads, tunnels, water tables) happen on the operational stage next door, where the outcome is decided out of public view......."