Sunday, January 25, 2009

Occupation: the elephant in the room

Raising Yousuf and Noor.

PalestineAnd so it's done; the curtain has been draw. After months, and by some estimate, a couple of years, of careful preparation, laying the groundwork, massaging public opinion, crafting a Gulf of Tonkin; immaculate timing; hasbara campaign: its a wrap folks! Just in time to make way for a Historic American inauguration, we are reminded again and again.

Intent on proving his critics wrong, Obama wasted no time in reminding them of America's resolve and tenacity: We will defeat you.

But noticeably missing from the talk was any mention of Israel or Palestine.

Fair enough, it was a big moment on its own, no need to weigh it down with a bloody and distant conflict that you will spend the next 4-8 years getting mired down in anyway -or miring down further.

And so as we are told, Obama hit the ground running. The next day, the newly minted President in his first speech talked about the need to open Gaza's crossings-because as any casual observer might have gleamed from this recent "cycle of violence" it is that in order to have a "lasting ceasefire" we must give Israel security, and open Gaza's crossing (in case you aren't sensing it, I'm being sarcastic here).

But the devil is so often in the detail-not in what was said, but what was not. Notably missing from the call was a need to open the crossing to people as opposed to merely humanitarian aid and commerce, as though the Gaza problem can be vanished by tons of food.

It was this very clause that was negotiated to inclusion in the Agreement on Movement and Access brokered by none other than Condie rice herself shortly after Disengagement: the need to provide Access and Movement for goods AND people, and keep the crossings operating on a continuous basis. Of course, this never materialized: neither in percentage of trucks allowed in or out, nor the promised Palestinian control over Rafah within one year. OCHA keeps a good record of weekly violations of the AMA as a reference.

Obama also said the US "will support a credible anti-smuggling and interdiction regime so that Hamas cannot rearm". See, this had me a little confused - because I thought it was Israel with the Merkava tanks, F 15 and F 16s, white phosphorus, DIME, and nukes.

Regardless, none of this will matter. If Palestinians are not granted their most basic human right of freedom of movement, the tunnels will continue to thrive.

So I'm going to throw something out here that might sound a bit out there- hold your breathe everyone: how about we actually try ending the occupation instead of coming up with a million and one excuses why we shouldn't?

Notice the pattern vis a vis any Palestinian group-whether it was Fateh and the PLO before, or Hamas now: they are and always will be terrorists (the PLO is still on the US terrorist list); once you negotiate, its only a process meant to serve as a cover for continuing settlement expansion and consolidation of the Occupation; if that doesn't work, cry foul and say you have no partner for peace- then bomb their security infrastructure and say they have to have better security before they become a partner. If the people elect someone else, start over.

For real change, why start by saying things like they are: if Israel has the right to defend itself, don't Palestinians have not only the right, but the obligation to both defend themselves and resist against an illegal occupation?

Prima facie evidence of war crimes, almost indisputable, here:

The shell the journalist held up was a 155 mm artillery shell (not a smaller caliber tank shell). I was an artillery gunner, deployed in the same
self-moving, lightly armoured 155 mm Howitzers the AOF use today.


At 6:45 PM, Blogger Nevin said...

My answer to your question is "yes"! however, the reality is Israel wants the own the whole land and does not want to share it with Arabs... Either they need to be forced by the international community to withdraw to 1967 borders and end the occupation or continue to expend and gas the Arabs to death.

The international community will never be on the side of the Palestinians as they are totally insignificant. They have no substantial power; they are not christians, they are not "white", they do not have economical or military power.... so there is nothing going for them. As for other Arab nations, they are ruled by useless dictators lap dogs, who will turn over and roll if the masters wishes them to do... Just look around... who will save the 1.5 million Palestinians? The only choice is the Palestinians themselves.... ! so I guess, the cycle of violence will continue :(

At 7:13 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Hmmm... personally I believe the tide may slowly be turning against Israel. The demos around the world are quite exceptional, you know?

Lack of power and counter-fire power is of course what bogs the Palestinians down, no question about that. Without being forced Israel will not give up juicy swathes of Palestine it has for so long and so diligently been slowly annexing.

But power and force to oppose Israel with may come from different quarters and I believe we are seeing the beginnings of this today... When grassroots movements start translating into electoral losses for mainstream politicians, that's when you'll see a lot of them start changing their tune of I/P.

So, not too pessimistic, Nev!

At 8:49 PM, Blogger Nevin said...

We shall see.... :) human history is very cyclical...

What worries me is that the "grassroots" power that you are talking about is still very marginal and powerless in the political arena. Look at the "main stream media"? They have not only been utterly subservient to the powers be, but utterly desensitized by the human carnage that took place in the last weeks...

One can not deny the hypnotizing power of the "Media"...

Sorry for being so pessimistic but I do not see any signs of improvement as Islam and terrorism have been so purposefully and diligently inter connected by the governments and media that the common sheep on the street will not be able to understand or separate Palestinian suffering/struggle from Al-Qaeda... :)

At 12:09 AM, Blogger Frank Partisan said...

During the 1970s, Fatah sent a representative to London, to meet with my group. We told them not to do individual terror, and don't take part in peace talks.

The best bet for Palestinians is a regional revolt.

At 4:23 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Maybe Ren, but it's unrealistic to expect a people to wait for something that's out of their control and may never happen, you know...


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