The Palestinian State at the End of the Rainbow

Some of the Middle East elephant’s mandarins are signalling a major land grab if Palestinians request recognition of a Palestinian state in the UN in September.

Danon favors responding to a Palestinian declaration of statehood by annexing all of Area C, which includes all the West Bank’s Jewish settlements and empty land. He said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should follow the example of his predecessors Levi Eshkol, who annexed eastern Jerusalem, and Menachem Begin, who annexed the Golan Heights.

Contra criminal and neoziocon Elliott Abrams has a devious plan:

‘Israel should head off the U.N. vote at the pass, he says, by having Bibi proclaim to Congress that Israel accepts Palestinian statehood. But that would leave half a million Israelis in Palestinian hands without Palestine being able to protect them. This would require Israel to maintain all the present security measures until Israel and Palestine have fully agreed on peace. Sure, this is a ploy, but not a bad one for Israel because it might avoid an international blessing for a Palestinian state.’

There is little chance that Nutanyahoo will offer a viable sovereign Palestinian state. His proposals to date have prescribed formalisation of the existing bantustans with Israel retaining control of borders and the Jordan Valley.

Netanyahu has already begun staking out Israel’s redlines. Speaking to reporters on March 9, Netanyahu said,

“Our security border is here on the Jordan and our defense line begins here. If that line is breached they will be able to infiltrate terrorists, rockets and missiles all the way to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Be’er Sheva and throughout the country. There is no alternative to the IDF’s line of defense. Therefore, in any future situation, and I say in any future arrangement as well, the IDF must stay here, i.e. along the Jordan River. This is the State of Israel’s insurance policy. If this was true before the major unrest now shaking the Middle East and the entire region, it is doubly true today. The IDF must remain along the Jordan River.

Yet Nutanyahoo doesn’t have the political capital in the Knesset to take on the fanatical illegal settlers. Israel covets the land and resources of the West Bank, particularly the water, and did I mention the land? While the US supports Israeli intransigence there is no chance that a Palestinian state would be formed in anything other than name. Nutanyahoo’s, and indeed any other Israeli leader’s strategy will be for the status quo – unctuous bleatings of negotiated outcomes and fake peace processes, while daily, illegal Israeli settlers supported by the IOF nibble away at the West Bank, continuing Israel’s criminal colonisation and slow, disgusting genocide.

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon outlined the status quo position in a March 3 interview in the magazine Besheva:

“Our intention is to leave the situation as it is: autonomous management of civil affairs, and if they want to call it a state, let them call it that. If they want to call it an empire, by all means. We intend to keep what exists now and let them call it whatever they want. . . . Our approach is steadfastness, development, construction, strengthening and so on. This is our approach and this is what we do as a government.”

While the US State Department argues for ongoing direct negotiations between the two (unequal) parties (and further, signals illegitimacy of the mooted Fatah/Hamas caretaker government on the grounds of Hamas’ ‘terrorism’) and thus by default bolsters the Israeli preferred indefinite extension of the status quo, US strategic regional interests are affected. General James Mattis, Commander, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), in testimony before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, March 1, 2011 said:

This is a defining moment for the people of the region and, by extension, a critical moment for Central Command to remain engaged with our partners and to clear away obstacles to peace and prosperity. On that note, while Israel and the Palestinian territories are not in my assigned theater, lack of progress toward a comprehensive Middle East peace affects U.S. and CENTCOM security interests in the region.

I believe the only reliable path to lasting peace in this region is a viable two-state solution between Israel and Palestine. This issue is one of many that is exploited by our adversaries in the region, and it is used as a recruiting tool for extremist groups. The lack of progress also creates friction with regional partners and creates political challenges for advancing our interests by marginalizing moderate voices in the region. By contrast, substantive progress on the peace process would improve CENTCOM’s opportunity to work with our regional partners and to support multilateral security efforts.

As Obama prepares for the next election, it’s unlikely he will apply adequate pressure to Nutanyahoo for a viable Palestinian state and risk his domestic political capital before a hostile Israel lobby, despite the forebodings of his defence advisors. The rainbow’s end is an illusion.

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Questions about “Hamas-Fatah reconciliation” Ali Abunimah:

More broadly, the goal for Palestinians should not be “unity” among factions, but unity of goals for the Palestinian people. What is the purpose and platform of the planned “transitional government” other than merely to exist? A real Palestinian strategy that unites all segments of the Palestinian people has been articulated by the BDS movement:

(a) an end to occupation and colonization of the 1967 territories; (b) full equality and an end to all forms of discrimination against Palestinians in the 1948 areas (“Israel”); and (c) full respect and implementation of the rights of Palestinian refugees.

Notably neither Fatah Abbas nor Hamas have endorsed this campaign, and neither has articulated a realistic strategy aimed at restoring the rights of all Palestinians.

White House seeks info on Palestinian agreement

“The United States supports Palestinian reconciliation on terms which promote the cause of peace. Hamas, however, is a terrorist organization which targets civilians,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.

“To play a constructive role in achieving peace, any Palestinian government must accept the Quartet principles and renounce violence, abide by past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist,” he said.

Palestinian reconciliation could work to Israel’s advantage

: Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel believe Netanyahu will be able to use the newly signed unity deal as proof that Abbas doesn’t really want peace.

Renewed relations between Hamas and Fatah, however limited, could shed a different light on Abbas’ intentions, and Netanyahu, who is due to speak before both houses of Congress next month, will be able to present the agreement as proof that Abbas doesn’t really want peace.

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U.S.: Peace with Israel essential to future of Egyptian people

Over half of the Egpytian public want to scrap the existing peace deal with Israel, according to a new survey undertaken by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. The poll measured attitudes in Egypt three months after the start of the uprising in Cairo. The U.S. State Department said in response to the survey that “the Egyptian army has pledged to uphold international agreements forged by Egypt, including the 1979 peace agreement with Israel.”

The survey said that 54 percent of Egyptians supported the annulment of the peace agreement with Jerusalem, and that just 36 percent wanted to maintain the peace agreement with Israel.

The annulment figure rose to six out of ten Egyptians when people in lower income brackets were asked. Further, 59 percent of respondents in lower educational brackets also supported negating the agreement. Among wealthy and well-educated Egyptians, the figures for those in favor of annulling peace relations with Israel are 45 percent and 40 percent.

Regarding the United States, only 22 percent of Egyptians think that the US played a positive role in the uprising, in contrast to 39 percent who think that the Americans exerted a negative influence; 35 percent think that the US had no influence.

President Barack Obama, it turns out, has an image problem in the Middle East and not just in Israel: Almost two-thirds of Egyptians (64 percent ) report that they do not trust Obama’s global policy. Further, 52 percent of respondents did not like President Obama’s responses to changes in the Middle East. Less than half (45 percent ) of Egyptians are happy with the U.S. President’s performance in the region.

Four out of ten Egyptians want to maintain close relations with the U.S., yet a similar number want their country to move away from the Americans. Only 15 percent of Egyptians want to strengthen relations between their country and the U.S. in years ahead.

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