Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Seeing the forest for the trees

Rima Merriman, The Electronic Intifada, 26 September 2006

Kidnapped Palestinian Hamas lawmakers wait during the hearing of their case at the Ofer Israeli military court next to the West Bank city of Ramallah, 25 September 2006.

"In fact, Palestinians had been faced with the exact same general stalemate that characterizes the situation today long before the January 2006 elections. The only difference between then and now is that people could eat better then and fewer of them had been killed.

Exactly six years ago this month, the Palestinians rose up in arms while a unilateral Israeli plan to determine the final status of the region (Ehud Barak's plan) was swirling around them. It was the plan rejected by the Palestinians at Camp David, a plan that "called for cantonization of the territories that Israel had conquered in 1967, with mechanisms to ensure that usable land and resources (primarily water) remain largely in Israeli hands while the population is administered by a corrupt and brutal Palestinian authority," as Noam Chomsky summed up.

Nevertheless, this plan is now in its final stages of implementation. The only tenet the Israelis are still engineering is the establishment of a "corrupt and brutal Palestinian authority" to aid it in stamping out Palestinian resistance to this and other variations on the plan.

Israel's actions along the lines described above are all illegal under international law and acknowledged as such by the international community. But the international community has been reduced as a spectator that exercises its muscles only by pressuring Palestinians and putting sanctions on the Palestinian population even as Israelis advertise for tenders to build more illegal settlements and the illegal wall.

The international community has criminally failed the Palestinian people, an occupied people who started their resistance having to use stones to protect their rights. They have failed where it counts - in exerting legal discipline on Israel through their civilized international regime, the regime they are so eager for the "uncivilized" world to join.

Since the occupation, Israel has consistently and demonstrably harmed the Palestinian population in a way disproportionate to its security needs. That is because Israel hasn't been after security as much as it has been after establishing "facts on the ground" demographically and geographically at the expense of the Palestinian population in pursuit of a peace agreement that would force these "facts on the ground" down Palestinians' throats."

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