November 27, 2007
Annapolis Semi-Open Thread
In Annapolis, Maryland, USA, another round of peace efforts commences in the Great Intra-Semite Parking Space Quarrel ("You have 22 other parking spaces!"/ "Well, you're not really a car!"/"God stamped this ticket!"). It -- the conference not the quarrel -- will last for "as long as [Rice] feels there is a good, solid and productive discussion." Have at it.
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The whole thing is OBVIOUSLY a farce.
As Norman Finkelstein and others have pointed out, media hype aside, the Israel-Palestine 'conflict' is actually remarkably UNcontroversial and fairly simple in its essence. Assuming for the sake of argument that one believes that a one-state solution is both feasible and desirable, the contours of that agreement are very clear, and have been outlined in several UN resolutions and elsewhere. There really is no need for 'conferences' leading to round one of negotiations leading to round two of negotiations leading to.... well, you get the picture. And none of these 'negotiations' even touch on the so-called 'final status' issues (which are in reality the heart of the matter).
The fact is - and I don't understand why there are still people who can't/won't admit it - is that Israel has no intention of relinquishing the West Bank or East Jerusalem in any real sense, much less of allowing any meaningful return of refugees. Farcical 'peace conferences' like Annapolis allow Israel to have its cake and eat it - to continue the relentless colonisation of the West Bank in a manner which will make any eventual Palestinian state not worthy of the name. In the meantime, however, it can keep up the charade of 'pursuing peace' - if only Arafat would die, if only Hamas woudl change its charter, or whatever the current excuse du jour is. Also, by maintaining the fiction that the "Middle East conflict" is uniquely complex and mysterious, it can postpone the day of reckoning until a time when Palestine has ceased to exist.
In their dreams.
Posted by: SideShowMurphy at November 27, 2007 10:26 AM
I found this part funny:
In the Middle East, a senior official of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that seized power in the Gaza Strip last summer, branded the Palestinian representatives in Annapolis as traitors.
"Anyone who stands in the face of resistance or fights it or cooperates with the occupation against it is a traitor," said Mahmoud Zahar, according to a report by Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper. He said no one has the right "to give up one inch" of Palestinian territory.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israeli TV that the Annapolis conference is "a continuation of one-sided concessions" by Israel, the Associated Press reported.
Posted by: eerie at November 27, 2007 03:29 PM
The fact of the matter is that Israel has little to gain and a lot to lose by changing the status quo. Which is why I personally think nothing will come out of this, unless a mediator (hint:US) comes down heavily on the side of the Palestinians. Very unlikely methinks.
Posted by: Ali K at November 28, 2007 05:06 AM
Israel really has no incentive to make any 'concessions' (otherwise known as partial and begrudging implementation of UN resolutions). Despite what they may claim, the 'conflict' has been reduced to very bearable proportions as far as the Israelis are concerned (the Palestinians, of course, are suffering mroe than ever). A few homemade fireworks which have claimed no more than a dozen casualties in several years is the most they have to worry about.
International pressure on them to 'compromise' is almost nill, their economy is booming (at least in part due to Israel's permanent semi-belligerant status), a super-tame Palestinian 'leader' has been found, and the current international "war on terror" climate is very much in their favour.
None of the above, however, alters my opinion that, in the long- or even medium-term, Zionism is doomed.
Posted by: SideShowMurph at November 28, 2007 06:07 AM
SideShowMurph, could you expand on that last statement a little? I don't think that we have seen you talk about this around here.
Posted by: Frandroid Atreides at November 30, 2007 07:32 PM
My point is that while Israel may appear unassailable for the foreseeable future, Zionism is fatally flawed and cannot go on indefinitely. I simply cannot see how a few million people - cowering behind a wall, living on handouts from a fading superpower and detested by just about everyone for thousands of miles around - can continue to force an unloved ethnocracy upon the Arab world.
Zionism has always had only one way of dealing with the native Arab population: violence. So long as Israel has been able to impose its will through force of arms, it has succeeded, but the logical conclusion is that, once the military option no longer works, Israel is in deep trouble. Now, there is no reason to doubt that Israel's military supremacy over its neighbours will continue for some years to come (although the piss-poor performance of its much vaunted 'defence' forces in Lebanon last year, might suggest otherwise) but it seems absurd to believe they can keep 300 million Arabs subdued FOREVER. Yet Israel has not and perhaps can not - devise any other way of dealing with them other than through the gun.
Right now, as I say, circumstances favour Israel: the US is unconditionally on side, the Palestinians have been securely caged, and the Arab states are almost all openly or covertly collaborating with Israel. However, that state of affairs will not go on indefinitely. Don't ask me when, or how, but a day will come when there are more representative governments in the Arab world a real nightmare for the "Middle East's only democracy"), when one or more of Israel's enemies acquire the nuclear bomb, and when, perhaps most crucially of all, the US is no longer able or willing to provide it with the unconditional support which colonial entities have always found indispensable for survival.
When one or more of these circumstances come to pass, it's hard to see how the Jewish state can hold out. The end may be extremely violent, or it may happen, as Tony Karon has predicted, that Israel will simply wither away, perhaps surviving for some time as a larger version of Baghdad's Green Zone. Who knows? Certainly not me. How and when the Jewish state will come to an end is hard to say - it just seems clear to me that it WILL come to an end, because it has the seeds of its own destruction planted within itself.
Posted by: SideShowMurphy at December 1, 2007 10:07 AM