Friday, July 20, 2007

Why There's No Mideast Peace: Square One is for Hanging

Bridgethought of the Day: Killing your enemies doesn't make peace. Winning a war isn't a solution. Peace is organic - war requires oversimplification. Peace is about a lot of little real struggles not being bulldozed by gigantic, possibly pointless, fantastic battle. The bigger the power, the more they like the latter.

Square One in the Alpha-Omega of Mideast Peace always begins between Palestine & Israel. The Palestinians were pushed out by the Zionist movement, who routed Palestinians from their own land by force to make room for a well-armed invasion of what were essentially foreigners. The whole thing has been re-written to suit the Israelis and presented over years to Americans and "Westerners" in a pro-Zionist light, any thoughts to the contrary being relegated to the devil called "anti-Semitism". Saeb Erakat, the prominent Palestinian negotiator, once (many years ago) put that argument to the test in his eloquent remark during a public discussion, "I am Semite."

In the excellent article by Tony Karon, he says,

"Hamas deputy head Abu Marzook recently made clear in the Los Angeles Times, not because of some religious absolutism but because, for Palestinians, Israel's creation in 1948 meant their violent dispossession. Hamas believes it is being ordered to legitimize this dispossession before negotiations can even begin, and it refuses to do so.
The fact that Fatah did eventually recognize Israel -- and got so little in return -- has cost the organization dearly on the Palestinian street. Nine months into the Western financial blockade that followed Hamas' election victory, a
survey conducted by the Western-funded Palestinian Center for Social and Political Research found 54% of Palestinians dissatisfied with Hamas' performance in power and only 40% ready to vote for it again. Nonetheless, when asked whether Hamas should recognize Israel in order to get the siege lifted, 67% said no. "

Square One begins with Palestinians asking for a legitimate and autonomous state. Not too much to ask. Then they ask for "right of return" which means that those who were deprived of their lands way back when can now have the right to return to the Homeland of Palestine. Israel staunchly refuses this, using an argument that more or less the US government used in dealing with the native American populations in places such as South Dakota. "You just can't go back home now - too much has changed." But unlike native Americans, Palestinians don't really have "reservations" even - just places they live in as refugees or immigrants. And in reverse, where did Israelis get a superior right to live there and create a multi-million-person-strong refugee population roaming the world with no country?

Israel then asks to be recognized unconditionally. As you can read above, this too is a non-starter. They want security, but the pride issues always come first. Beforessecurity, before peace.

Now here's another issue. Who's got the power? Who calls the shots? The Israelis. Who's the underdog? Who is oppressed? Who is struggling to simply survive in the meanest sense? The Palestinians. In this situation, who bears the onus of responsibility to take the first risk, the first step, the first gamble? The stronger of the two: Israel. They've been hemming & hawing on this since... Square One. They've hung every Palestinian leader there since Day One. Every step toward peace is always a non-starter. As long as the power are powerful, there's no motive to be a risk-taker. Why lose it when you got it? Why take a chance?

Then, as Mr. Karon explains,

"The Arab autocrats whose presence is now required whenever Bush puts on one of his no-clothes shows recognize themselves in Abbas' predicament. They, too, have precious little to show their people in return for allying with Washington. Their citizenry, too, has watched them stand by helplessly as Washington has sanctioned and encouraged the systematic trampling of the Palestinians, the pulverizing of Lebanon, and the chaotic destruction of Iraq (which now produces a 9/11-equivalent death toll at least every few weeks). Those citizens, too, see that only the Islamists seem willing to stand up to the U.S. and Israel.

The autocrats, too, beg and plead with Washington to enforce a two-state solution based on Israel's 1967 borders and face the same smug dismissal of their concerns or the same meaningless ritual endorsements.

How many times do they have to be reminded by administration officials that President Bush was the first American leader to publicly call for a Palestinian state? Of course, he was also the first to formally endorse Israel's right to the massive settlements built in the occupied West Bank in violation of international law. "

With this background of oppression of most Arab and Muslim people by their own oppressive regimes backed by the U.S. & Western powers, it should be no surprise that they feel no love or trust for the US who has only showed them tyranny, never democracy or freedom, and who have only encouraged the dictators that oppress them. The one supposed "freedom fight" against Saddam Hussein looks more like a power-grab or oil-grab gone bad with "democracy" only as a cover story, one very very thin and unbelievable with zero credibility. Actions always speak stronger than words.

So Hamas takes over Gaza. It forms a threat. For the first time, Israel makes concessions. It's only a show, but it is something, I guess. But nobody really means or intends to do anything. Except Hamas, whose bloody takeover took everyone by surprise, but appears to the people in Gaza to at least have bolstered their pride, at least commanded a little respect. And since Israel offers nothing in the way of food, jobs, hope, or being treated as human beings with families, respect is a very big thing. Israel, take notice: R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find out what it means to me - and every other Palestinian.

Then there's another bad issue - the Palestinian government and leadership itself is so corrupt, visibly corrupt and unjust, that it's far short of inspiring. The Hamas alternative looks better than the Fatah rich guys living off the largesse or God knows who while the rest of the people struggle right out there on the edge of existence.

I don't know what the solution really is, but it's not being found on Square One. It would help if both sides looked at the issue from the standpoint of being from the same species sharing resources on the same planet. Maybe then the movements toward negotiations, or what is left of such movements, would be less suicidal. But then, the responsible parties ain't gonna move until someone pushes them right there over the edge.

Oversimplify, oversimplify. Human beings are so damn complicated. And so is peace. So try using that internal organ stuck between the ears.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellant and informative diary read at Daily Kos. For IP diaries on Daily Kos, posting after 9 AM California (PDT) time on weekdays typically yields a wider audience.