Sunday, June 16, 2013

Israel's shameless trashing of the futile 'peace process'

[Originally posted at NOW]

One of the surest ways, it seems, to increase the rate of Israeli colonization of Palestinian land is for a senior White House official to declare a new round of attempts to resolve – or, at least, attempts to agree to attempt to resolve – the modern Middle East’s oldest and most exasperating quarrel.

It happened in 2010 when the comparatively high hopes of Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the Holy Land were summarily quashed by news from Tel Aviv that 1,600 new Jewish-only homes were to be constructed in the Arab half of Jerusalem.

And it’s happened again this week when, less than a month after Secretary of State John Kerry put American credibility (and four billion dollars) on the line in his own trip to the region – in which he warned explicitly against “changes on the ground,” i.e., another Israeli construction spree – the Israelis apparently just couldn’t help themselves, and filed plans for more than 500 new homes in the ultra-religious settlement of Itamar, 28 kilometers east of the Green Line by the city of Nablus, right in the heart of the West Bank.

Intriguingly, unlike the 2010 humiliation, there wasn’t even a show of contrition from Tel Aviv this time. Nor should anyone have expected one, when just Tuesday Prime Minister Netanyahu assured his nation that, “Construction in communities in Judea and Samaria [Bible-speak for Palestine] will continue, and is continuing still today.”

Dismissing the idea that this broad-daylight land theft could conceivably complicate Kerry’s task, Netanyahu asserted that, “The real question is whether there is or isn’t a willingness [among the Palestinians] to accept a Jewish state” – which is an odd thing to say, considering the PLO has publicly advocated a two-state solution since 1988.

As though to remove any lingering doubt about the mendacity of his argument, Netanyahu went on to complain about the intolerability of Palestinian pre-conditions for negotiations (chief of which is a mere halt, not even a reversal, of the settlement frenzy), before demanding that any hypothetical future Palestinian state would be fully demilitarized, entrusting the security of its population to the very army that is currently confiscating its land. You can’t make this stuff up.

This round of the ‘peace process’ will fail, and when it does, Kerry and Obama will shrug, and tell the world they tried. Meanwhile, American taxpayers will continue to subsidize the creation and expansion of theocratic colonies built to hasten the advent of the Messiah, as well as the paramilitary equipment that settles any disputes that may arise with the natives. It will be a wholly fitting legacy for an administration whose only discernable policy for the Arab world has been one of uniform, perfect indifference to its suffering.

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