Israeli-Style Peace and Justice
Israeli-Style Peace and Justice - by Stephen Lendman
Israel is a repressive rogue state. Netanyahu bombs Gaza and attacks fishermen while talking peace.
On October 10, without provocation, Israeli jets bombed northern Gaza. An explosion rocked Rafah city. So far, no cause is known but Israel most likely is responsible.
Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian home near Bethlehem after military forces invaded Jab'a village. Palestinians were prevented from entering or leaving.
On October 6, Israeli forces demolished homes, barns and barracks belonging to Palestinian shepherds in Wadi Al-Maleh and Al-Hamma north of the Jordan Valley.
At the same time, IDF troops stormed Beit Kahlil northwest of Hebron. Another Palestinian home was destroyed. Olive trees were uprooted and other property bulldozed. Soldiers fired tear gas at residents trying to stop them.
On October 8, Israeli gunboats opened fire on Gazan fishermen, causing extensive damage. No casualties were reported. At-Tawfeeq Society of Fishermen head Mahmoud Al Aassy said Israel terrorizes Gazans to deter them from fishing to earn a living and feed their families.
Similar incidents occurred earlier in October and many previous times, causing damage and casualties. In addition, dozens of fishermen have been kidnapped. Their boats and equipment were destroyed. As a result, Palestinians risk life and limb to fish.
Since the second Intifada began in September 2000, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights said Israel attacked Palestinian fishermen 229 times, killing six and injuring 22. In addition, 29 fishermen were kidnapped and 67 boats confiscated without cause.
Israel contemptuously flouts the most fundamental international laws and norms, operating lawlessly with impunity. But Netanyahu wants peace.
Correction - he wants unconditional surrender to Israeli demands like in decades of previous one-sided negotiations. Palestinians only were awarded the right to enforce their own occupation.
Nonetheless, Ma'an News said Quartet members want Israelis and Palestinians to resume talks within days, no matter their futility.
So far, PA officials refuse unless Israel halts settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land. Netanyahu flatly refuses.
On Sunday, a PA statement said:
"The Quartet must tell Israel that it cannot pretend to accept its initiative while flagrantly breaching its terms."
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said if Israel "recognizes the 1967 borders and freezes settlements, we are ready to go immediately" to talks. Israel wants them resumed with no preconditions so terrorizing Palestinians can continue with impunity.
Netanyahu's Extremist Government
Elected in February 2009, Netanyahu's coalition government is Israel's worst ever. Notably, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman is a notorious racist ultranationalist.
On Israeli Radio in November 2006, he called for assassinating "militant" Palestinian leaders (meaning from Hamas and other resistance groups), saying:
"They have to disappear, go to Paradise, all of them and there can't be any compromise."
He also deplores peace, repudiates previous agreements, calls Israeli Arabs a fifth column threat to Israel's security, and wants them forcibly deported.
In 1998, he called for bombing Egypt's Aswan Dam to cause flooding in retaliation for Mubarak's support for Arafat.
In 2001, as National Infrastructure Minister, he proposed dividing the West Bank into four isolated cantons, denying Palestinians free movement outside their own.
In 2002, Yedioth Ahronoth quoted him saying in a cabinet meeting that Palestinians should be told that "(a)t 8AM, we'll bomb all the commercial centers. At noon, we'll bomb their gas stations. At two, we'll bomb their banks."
In 2003, Haaretz said he called for drowning Palestinian prisoners in the Dead Sea, offering to provide buses to take them there.
In 2004, he proposed annexing Israeli West Bank settlements. He also demanded Israeli Arabs pledge loyalty to Israel as a democratic Jewish state or be deported.
In 2006, he called for killing Arab Knesset members who met members of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA).
Israel's current government is its worst ever. Netanyahu is its most extremist prime minister, exceeding the worst of Ariel Sharon and past right wing rogues. Lieberman is an embarrassment, an incendiary racist. Majority Knesset members go along.
Its "Peace & Security" chapter outlines extremist views stating:
"A unilateral Palestinian declaration of the establishment of a Palestinian state will constitute a fundamental and substantive violation of the agreements with the State of Israel and the scuttling of the Oslo and Wye accords. The government will adopt immediate stringent measures in the event of such a declaration."
Moreover, the "Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan....The Jordan River will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel."
In other words, no Palestinian state will be allowed in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem (22% of historic Palestine within 1967 borders).
Palestine is a state. In 1988, over 100 countries recognized its Declaration of Independence. Today, an overwhelming majority of UN member states do so. Only Israel, Washington and a handful of rogue partners refuse.
Jewish West Bank/Jerusalem settlements represent "a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people" to steal Palestinian land with impunity.
Likud believes Israel is entitled to all Palestinian territory it wishes. It calls ending the Israeli/Palestinian conflict dependent on its leaders accepting all Israeli demands.
"Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem....The government firmly rejects attempts of various sources in the world....to question Jerusalem's status as Israel's capital."
On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181, the Palestine Partition Plan. It granted 56% of historic Palestine to Jews (with one-third of the population), 42% to Palestinians, with Jerusalem designated an international city (a corpus separatum - separate body) under a UN Trusteeship Council.
The area includes all Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Beit Sahour, and Christian holy sites.
Internationally recognized, including by Washington, Resolution 181 remains binding today.
Moreover, it called for establishing an Independent Arab state by October 1, 1948, asking:
"all Governments and peoples to refrain from taking any action which might hamper or delay the carrying out of these recommendations." It also called for the Security Council to take all "necessary measures as provided for in the plan for its implementation."
Israel's 1948 "War of Independence" intervened, stealing 78% of historic Palestine. In June 1967, it took the rest, including Jerusalem as Israel's sole capital.
It also occupied Syria's Golan. Syria wants it back. Israel flatly refuses. Likud's platform says Israel has sole "sovereignty over the area. The government will continue to strengthen Jewish settlement(s) on the Golan."
For over 30 years, Palestinians sought peace. Israel demands unconditional surrender. Negotiating in good faith was never its long suit.
As a result, Palestinians never had a legitimate partner. Netanyahu and Lieberman abhor peace. So does Washington, assuring the futility of new talks like previous ones.
A Final Comment
In July and August, Israelis staged mass nationwide social justice protests, similar to ones ongoing in hundreds of US and European cities.
Major grievances include:
- extreme wealth disparity;
- unaffordable housing, creating an intolerable burden for growing numbers being priced out of a place to live;
- high food and energy prices;
- low wages and eroding social benefits;
- onerous taxes on working households;
- lack of free education and better healthcare benefits;
- weak labor rights;
- a disproportionate amount of construction funding for settlement development, leaving too little to build affordable housing in Israel.
Israel spends double the amount per settlement resident compared to others Israelis. In fact, since the 1990s, it's been official government policy to encourage population shifts to West Bank and East Jerusalem locations, depriving most Israelis in the process. In addition, Israel spends over $700 million annually on occupation, besides an inordinate amount on defense at the expense of social needs.
- the "high cost of raising children," the common ignored complaint voiced by most Israelis.
Largely dismissive, Netanyahu last August appointed former government official Manuel Trajtenberg to head a 14-member "panel for socioeconomic change." At the time, he said proposed solutions must be "economically sound."
In other words, business as usual was mandated. Trajtenberg's establishment panel included senior government officials, assuring neoliberal continuity with little change.
On September 26, Trajtenberg issued his report. Social protest leaders called it a "blatant insult," vowing renewed mass nationwide demonstrations. On October 9, Israel's cabinet accepted it.
On October 10, Haaretz headlined, "Israel protest leaders vow to escalate fight, after cabinet approves Trajtenberg report," saying:
They promised "renewed demonstrations" against Trajtenberg's cosmetic changes, leaving vital issues poorly or unaddressed.
National Student Union chairman Itzik Shumuli said "it didn't do enough to increase the housing supply (especially public housing) or reduce the cost of living and combat the widespread use of temporary employees...."
Others want more spending but didn't get it. Instead, small amounts of money in Israel's existing budget were shifted from defense to social issues, but not enough to matter.
According to protest leader Daphni Leef:
"This committee received a limited charter, a pathetic charter, and it fulfilled (it) completely. We asked for a root canal and instead got our teeth cleaned. The summer of 2011 may be over, but our protest continues....We will not be mocked any longer or taken for granted."
For decades, neoliberal harshness harmed Israelis like Americans and Europeans. Millions demand real change, raging against policies they reject.
Fed up, they've occupied hundreds of cities. So did Israelis last summer. Betrayed, they'll be out again, knowing it's them against hardline Netanyahu extremists determined to maintain status quo pain.
Confrontations may follow. Follow-up articles will discuss global progress or lack of it.
Stay tuned and get involved because everyone not super-rich is affected.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.