Saturday, January 31, 2009
Peace By Theft and Ethnic Cleansing
There is a hopeful trend of thought towards peace and fairness for Israel and Palestine, but that trend is NOT happening in Israel. To the contrary, Israel is turning increasingly towards the One-State ethnically cleansed solution to the Palestine-Israel conundrum.
Today it is unclear if the Palestinians will ever have a country of their own, or even be able to live in peace with a little dignity.
Jimmy Carter has been the wisest, most open and humble voice in the Mid East. He is the only President who managed to negotiate a real peace for Israel. That was with Egypt and he had intentions of completing the negotiations with Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the PLO but then he was voted out of office. Now Mr. Carter has laid out the three possible denouements of the tragic situation in Palestine.
1.- The Two State Solution, Being a wise man, Jimmy Carter realizes that it will be impossible to dislodge most of the "stubborn" settlers. So his suggestion is to let the majority of the settlements stay, especially those closest to the Israeli border, and then have Israel trade an equal amount of quality land (such as land around Nazereth) to the Palestinians.
Here is a map for reference
2.- The One State Solution that incorporates the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank. The common understanding in the press and the Foreign Service is that this is the outcome that will transpire if #1 is not achieved soon. Many Palestinians who have given up hope for the Two State Solution favor One State in which both Jews and Arabs would have equal rights. The Israelis fear that they would lose their Jewish State.
3.- The third possible outcome of this long struggle is the One State Solution that does not incorporate the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank. Personally, I think that this is clearly the goal of the Israeli government and it explains why Israel never really negotiates, but rather just drags things out for years. Years in which the settlements continue to expand ("the number of new structures in the West Bank settlements and outposts increased by 69 percent in 2008, compared to 2007"), years in which more checkpoints are built, more settler only roads cut the West Bank into tiny isolated enclaves.
To achieve this "solution" the Israelis could force a confrontation in the West Bank like what just happened in Gaza, but this time they would force the Palestinians out of the country. The IDF would clean out each Palestinian enclave killing the Palestinians or force-marching them across the river into Jordan. The whole world would scream bloody murder, but by the time anyone would actually organize to do anything the operation would be over. It would be a fait accompli. Once the Palestinians are gone, they will never get back in. Who has the power to force Israel to do what they don’t want to do? Only the United States and the United States won’t do anything. Israel would suffer for a while, but the US will always forgive Israel. The US will pay billions to the homeless Palestinians in Israel's name and gradually the world will forget.
OK, I'm not a mind reader, but I'll bet a month's wages that #3 is the Israeli hard-line plan. They will never accept #1 and certainly not #2
Here’s a little more information that leads me to believe that I am on the right track. Bibi Netanyahu said that he “would let Jewish settlements expand in the West Bank if he’s elected prime minister” will probably win the election. He is definitely not leaning towards peace. In fact today (January 30th) he stated that he would not evacuate any settlers if he is elected next week.
I heard on NPR last week that over a third of the IDF's officer corps now comes from the settler families or the hard-line religious groups. Other articles state that over half of new officers come from the hard-line religious parties. In all probability if the IDF (Israeli “Defense” Force) were to attempt to dislodge a number of settlements, they would see a mutiny in the Officer Corps.
I think that Israel will want to work fast, before Obama can organize world leaders to impose a peace deal. I imagine that they will take advantage of the worldwide economic collapse that will have people’s attention focused away from the Middle East. Expect something very ugly in the next twelve months.
Pray for the Palestinians.
Update March 2010
The Israeli advance towards the third outcome is on schedule. Slowly, inexorably Israel builds more settlements and locks more Palestinians out of their farmland and builds more checkpoints and steals more land.
But what is most shocking to me is that Israel just expropriates land and farms and water rights and homes at gunpoint without even considering paying for what it has taken. That is theft. It is in fact armed robbery.
Israel is rich, partly becuase of its own efforts and partly because of billions in transfer payments from other countries. If the goal is to expropriate all the West Bank and Jerusalem, why don't we ever hear that the Israelis offer to pay for what they grab at gunpoint?