Israeli/Palestinian Peace: Illusion Substitutes for Reality
by Stephen Lendman
Haaretz editors, correspondents, and contributors know better. Maybe not. Maybe they don’t history.
Maybe they don’t know it well enough. Maybe they forgot. Maybe they didn’t check. Maybe they have other priorities. It shows in commentaries about announced Israeli/Palestinian peace talks. More on that below.
In his original Animal Farm preface, Orwell observed how media contributors suppress uncomfortable truths. Self-censorship works the same way as what’s imposed top down.
“Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark,” said Orwell.
“At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question.”
“Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness.”
“A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.”
It was true in Orwell’s day. It’s true now. Mainstream groupthink predominates. It falls short. It substitutes for independent truth and full disclosure.
Haaretz contributors believe this time’s different. At least they hope so. They know it won’t be easy. They think what never was achieved before can happen now. Why they’ll have to explain.
On July 21, its editors headlined “Netanyahu can end the occupation.”
Perhaps he can. For sure he won’t. He deplores peace. It shows. Rhetoric belies hardline policies. They speak louder than words.
Haaretz called Kerry’s announcement “good news for both peoples.” (He’s) to be lauded for his persistence.”
“The ball is now in the court of the two parties, and the main responsibility for moving the talks ahead rests on Israel.”
“Only Israel can put an end to the occupation, which is the key to everything else.”
Netanyahu has a “fateful opportunity.” He can “advance peace, and (make) his third term a stamp of truly historic proportions.”
“The Palestinians come to the table at a point when terror has almost completely ceased, with the most moderate and peace-seeking leadership they have ever had; there will never be a more moderate one than this.”
“Netanyahu comes to the table with a declared commitment, albeit an unproven one, to work toward a two-state solution.”
“This should, therefore, be a positive foundation on which to start the talks.”
Previous articles explained. They’re based on facts, not wishful thinking.
This time is different nonsense doesn’t wash. Kerry represents hardline US imperial interests. He prioritizes war, not peace. His insincerity shows. His longstanding Senate record leaves no doubt.
He’s a lead player in Washington’s war on Syria. He colludes with rogue Arab League states. They’re run by despots, not democrats. He’s involved with belligerent NATO partners. They’re waging war on humanity. It’s longstanding policy.
Kerry deserves condemnation, not praise. He’s one of many US unindicted war criminals. He belongs in prison, not high office.
The same goes for Netanyahu. He deplores peace. He calls talks “a waste of time.”
Israel doesn’t negotiate. It never did. It won’t now. It demands. It yields nothing. It’s all take and no give. Its promises are made to be broken. Its track record is unblemished.
Hamas is right calling talks a “disaster.” Previous ones resulted in unconditional Palestinian surrender.
Abbas is an illegitimate leader. He’s deplorable. He’s a longtime Israeli collaborator. Don’t Haaretz editors know these things?
Palestinian “terror ceased?” What terror. Self-defense is a fundamental right.
Netanyahu “committed” to peace? He never was before. He’s not now?
Abbas a moderate, peace seeking leader? He spurned it multiple times before. Nothing suggests new policy now.
He bends to the will of his American and Israeli paymasters. He’s well compensated for doing so. He steals lots more besides. He’s done so for decades.
Betrayal pays well. He amassed great wealth. It’s illegitimate money. It’s hidden offshore. He helped his sons become millionaires.
He betrayed his people for decades. Why Palestinians tolerate him they’ll have to explain.
Haaretz editors are right saying Netanyahu heads an extremist government. They stopped short explaining how extreme.
It the worst in Israel’s history. It’s hardline. It’s racist. It’s fascist. It’s neoliberally harsh. It’s merciless. It’s too far over-the-top to change.
“(N)othing will stand in (Netanyahu’s) way if he does indeed decide to bring about an agreement,” said Haaretz editors.
“He has no rivals (to) replace him at the moment.” If he wants “a historic agreement,” he’ll find supportive coalition partners, they say. He “can do it. “
“He heads one of the strongest and longest-serving governments Israel has ever had, and he must not fear the baseless, strident threats of some of his partners on the right.”
“This is the last window of opportunity for an agreement based on a two-state solution. It must not be missed.”
“The question now before us is whether Netanyahu wants to, not whether he can. He will have to provide the answer in the near future. If he wants to, nothing can stand in his way.”
Plenty stands in his way. Fascists won January elections. They did so overwhelmingly. Israel’s government is militant. It’s belligerent.
It’s lawless. It’s hard line. It’s over-the-top. It’s by far the worst in Israel’s history. It’s dominated by right wing extremists. Netanyahu’s the worst of the bunch.
He won’t change. Believing it shows poor judgment. He’ll yield nothing. He never did before. He won’t now.
Indeed it will be a “pity” to fail. It’s baked in the cake. It’s a fact. It’s a preordained certainty. A previous article said chances for a just peace are ZERO.
On July 21, Haaretz columnist Amira Hass headlined “New EU guidelines on Israeli settlements enabled Abbas to say ‘yes’ to Kerry.”
Hass does wonderful writing. She’s on the right side of history. Her insight’s greatly valued. She supports Palestinian rights. She does so responsibly.
Her latest column missed the mark badly. We’re all entitled to err. No one’s perfect.
Abbas “can tell his skeptical, cynical public that the decision was made from a position of Palestinian strength – not weakness – as the EU measure shook Israel from its complacency,” she claimed.
Two previous articles discussed EU guidelines. They reflect old wine in new bottles. They ignore vital unresolved issues.
EU’s so-called “territorial clause” is meaningless. It reflects longstanding EU policy. Weasel wording shows lack of resolve. Measures without teeth lack credibility. They never had them before. They don’t now.
Guidelines are recommendations. They’re not binding policy. EU nations can go their own way. They can pick and choose what they wish, if anything.
They can ignore measures at their discretion. They can say one thing and do another. Business as usual persists. They exclude EU/Israeli trade. EU-financed military cooperation continues.
Virtually nothing going forward differs from longstanding policy. Palestinians are skeptical and cynical for good reason. Israel terrorized them for decades. It continues unabated now.
Wise observers know Abbas is a self-serving opportunist. He sold out. He did so many times before. He’s doing it again now.
Indeed Washington pressured Abbas. So did key EU leaders. It doesn’t take much to convince him. He’s a longtime Israeli collaborator. He needs enough cover to sell out. He’s well compensated for doing so.
EU states don’t support Palestine. They never did. They don’t now. They profit from occupation. They partner with Washington and Israel doing so.
Hass is misguided believing “European guidelines have made it clear to Israel that its days of violating international law with impunity are over.”
The proof of the pudding’s in the eating. This brew’s rancid. It’s no Holy Grail. It’s a poisoned chalice.
Kerry didn’t “pressure” Netanyahu. They mutually plotted. They agreed to allude one thing and do another. High-sounding language masks their intentions.
They’re like all others preceding them. They’re disingenuous to the core. So are EU guidelines. They’re talk without teeth. They lack credibility.
Palestinians remain at square one. They’re stuck with no hope for change. Not with Abbas in charge. Not with hardline US and Israeli governments. Not with complicit EU ones. Not with uncaring Arab states. They’re on their own like always.
Abbas acted for another reason, said Hass. Kerry promised funding to boost Palestine’s economy, she said. A “kind of Marshall Plan.”
A bad analogy. In its entire history, America never did anything benevolently. Roosevelt’s New Deal tried to save capitalism. Giving a little to save a lot was policy.
Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society followed the same pattern. Anger raged for civil rights reform, ending the Vietnam war, and easing inner city deprivation.
Cities were set ablaze. Something had to give. Johnson declared war on poverty. It was more skirmish than vital commitment.
He got civil rights legislation passed. He got congressional Medicare and Medicaid approval. It wasn’t enough. It was better than nothing.
Post-WW II, Washington offered devastated European countries aid. Restoring their economies and rebuilding their infrastructure was stressed.
Strategy prioritized benefitting America. It created business opportunities. It helped keep Western European countries from turning East.
Marshall pitched the plan. He delivered canned speeches. He disingenuously claimed it was to relieve “hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos.”
It was about saving capitalism from communism and Stalinist influence. None of this gets discussed today. It didn’t then. Myths substitute for facts. It’s no different now. Illusion obscures reality.
Perhaps Kerry’s plan resembles Truman’s for war-torn Europe. He proposed $4 billion to increase Palestine’s economy. He claims it’ll create up to 50% growth in three years.
He said doing so will create jobs and average wages. He stressed proceeding depends on peace talks. He offered few details.
He acknowledged a chorus of naysayers. They justifiably say he’s proposing fantasy, not reality.
He’s selling crony capitalism. He wants private investment. Palestine’s already a neoliberal disaster. Kerry plans worse. It’s all take and no give.
Israeli and Western privileged interests will profit. Well-placed Palestinians will be thrown a few bones. Ordinary ones will be exploited for profit. It’s how most Americans and Europeans are treated. It’s easier in Occupied Palestine.
“Encouraging the private sector” is a ruse. Kerry, Netanyahu and Abbas are up to no good. Nothing differs now from earlier. Believing otherwise reflects fool’s gold.
Change depends on Palestinians themselves. It’s the same thing everywhere. No one helps popular interests. Rare exceptions prove the rule. It’s especially in Palestine. Uncaring illegitimate leadership assures it.
Other Haaretz contributors expressed false hopes. Barak Ravid headlined “EU made Netanyahu go the extra mile, US threats left Abbas with no choice.”
His scenario misconstrues reality. He knows better. It didn’t show.
Michel Waelbroeck taught at NYU, Michigan University Law School, and elsewhere. Willem-Gert Aldershoff held various European Commission positions. He’s now an EU policy advisor on Israel and Palestine.
They headlined “Israel should thank EU for setting guidelines, avoiding sanctions.” New guidelines are same old, same old. No planned sanctions exist. None with teeth will be imposed.
Suggesting the possibility belies reality. Both contributors know it. Guidelines are recommendations. They’re not binding policy. Israeli/EU relations won’t change.
Both writers admit the “practical impactâ€¦on the Israeli economy will” be limited at best. Guidelines reflect sound and bluster.
Policies remain unchanged. Longstanding relations are hard-wired. They’re fixed. They won’t change.
Aluf Benn is Haaretz’s editor-in-chief. He covered six Israeli prime ministers. He did so since Yitzhak Rabin. He headlined “Resumption of peace talks gives Netanyahu the chance of a lifetime.”
“He can show his mettle as a politician and a diplomat.” He can shape things going forward, said Benn.
He’s got one objective in mind. He wants business as usual continued.
Benn’s too smart not to know it. His article reflected otherwise. He admits what happens next is “in his hands.” He can advance peace or do nothing.
The die’s already cast. It bears repeating. Netanyahu deplores peace. He won’t recognize Palestinian sovereignty. He never did before. He won’t now.
Benn, other Haaretz editors, columnists and contributors didn’t explain. Their readers are denied reality. They’ll have to find it elsewhere.
A Final Comment
Legitimate talks aren’t planned. Washington’s participation alone dooms them. America’s no honest broker. It never has been. It’s not now.
In May 2002, Uber Zionist Haim Saban founded the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy. It’s a pro-Israeli front group.
Former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk served as Saban’s founding director. He’s Brookings’ Foreign Policy Program vice president and director.
He’s no honest broker. He’s tapped to represent Washington in upcoming talks. He one-sidedly favors Israel. He spurns Palestinian rights. His deplorable record shows it.
According to Israel’s Channel 2 and Channel 10, Kerry and Netanyahu agreed. They want Indyk involved. Palestinians have no say.
Expect Abbas to agree to anything. Negotiator Saeb Erekat’s a convenient stooge. He’s a prop. He’s a potted plant. His public comments belie his private position. He represents Israel, not Palestine.
Indyk will work closely with Frank Lowenstein. He’s Kerry’s Middle East advisor. They’re up to no good. What’s most important won’t be discussed. All sides agreed.
Resolution’s off the table on Palestinian sovereignty, ending Israel’s occupation, Gaza, borders, air, water and resource rights, East Jerusalem as Palestine’s exclusive capital, diaspora Palestinians right of return, Palestine’s full UN membership, and Israeli accountability for decades of crimes of war and against humanity.
It bears repeating. Upcoming talks are stillborn. They’re dead on arrival. Hamas is right calling them a “disaster.” Around 1.7 million Gazans are entirely left out.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said Tehran “along with Palestinian groups express their opposition to the proposed plan, and it’s certain that the occupying Zionist regime will utterly not agree to withdraw from the occupied lands.”
“Past experience shows that the occupying Zionist regime is basically not ready to pay the price for peace since war mongering and occupation lie at its very core.”
Abbas is a traitor. So is Erekat. They have no credibility. They have no legitimacy. They have no right to negotiate for millions of long-suffering Palestinians.
Letting them do so assures betrayal. It guarantees failure. It’s baked in the cake. It’s certain. Believing otherwise ignores reality.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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