A Humiliated Israel Plans further Punishment of Palestinians

Anyone inclined to give Israel and its Zionist leaders the benefit of doubt and hoping that they would have learned some lesson from their recent debacles in Gaza, and at UN General Assembly, should reconsider their optimism. The revanchists in charge of Israel-with a war-monger like Benjamin Netanyahu at the helm, are a much too arrogant and incorrigible lot to learn, even from their own dismal failures.

Humiliation for Israel-and loss of face for its western mentors and promoters-couldn’t be more telling than successive and jarring reverses suffered  within a span of a fortnight. Quick on the heels of its unprovoked aggression against the hapless Gazans, which failed to break their spirit of resistance, the vote in the UN General Assembly on November 29 in favour of the Palestinians was a resounding reminder to Israel’s inebriated and arrogant leaders that the world had had enough of their hubris and tyranny against the Palestinians.

The General Assembly vote-138 member states in favour of elevating the Palestinians to the status of non-member Observer State-couldn’t be more categorical, principled and forthright to affirm the international community’s collective will on the side of the Palestinian demand for their own, sovereign, independent and contiguous, state.

By the same token, embarrassment and humiliation for Israel and its powerful North American supporters-US and Canada-couldn’t be greater. With the inclusion of these two-and of course, Israel-there were only 6 other states casting their lot with the naysayers; 5 of these 6 happened to be specks of dust in the South Pacific-Micronesian states-ever dependent on US largesse for survival.

However, instead of eating a humble pie, Netanyahu has quickly fallen back on his old plan to create-in the words of a now-comatose Ariel Sharon-”facts on ground” so as to deny the Palestinians any chance of having a viable and contiguous state of their own. He has announced plans to go ahead with the construction of 3,000 housing units for Jewish settlers on the last remaining sliver of Palestinian land that could have provided contiguity to a future State of Palestine.

Netanyahu’s plan is precisely aimed at cutting off any physical link between the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, the potential capital of a future Palestinian State. According to Mustafa Barghouti, Head of the Palestinian Movement for Non-Violence, who was in Ottawa, Canada on a speaking engagement the day Netanyahu announced his diabolical plan to demolish the lingering hopes of the Palestinians, “the two-state solution is dying before our eyes.” Mustafa Barghouti was the man who challenged Mehmoud Abbas in the 2005 presidential election of the Palestinian Authority and won 19 per cent of the popular vote.

Barghouti hit the nail on its head. It’s not an item on Netanyahu’s nefarious agenda-or that of his rabidly anti-Arab Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, whom even the American right has dubbed as a Neo-fascist-to leave any prospect alive for a two-state solution of the festering Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

Writing on the opinion page of the globally-popular liberal blog, Counter Punch, Saul Landau summed up the tactics of this Zionist pair in its essence, under the caption: Fire Power and Propaganda: Israel and Gaza, in the following words: “ AgainThis assault on Gaza follow an old Zionist strategy, outlined by Zionist ideologue Ze’evJabotinsky. In 1923 he wrote: “The Iron Wall” in which he advised the use of force -”an iron wall which the native population cannot break through.” Israel has used force to strip Palestinians of their land and drive them out of the country…”

However, the stiff Palestinian resistance to Israel’s neo-colonialism is regarded as a major obstacle by the likes of Netanyahu and Lieberman in the attainment of their ultimate design of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from the West Bank and claim all Earz Israel as an exclusively Jewish state. Netanyahu’s latest manoeuvre to obliterate any prospects of a contiguous Palestinian state is just a first step in that direction. It would be something that even the rabid practitioners of apartheid in South Africa didn’t envisage for their coloured quarries in that country.

Understandably, Netanyahu’s peevish and provocative move has sent ripple effects-and triggered murmurs of protest-even through the Israeli left- wing.  The Canadian newspaper, The Toronto Star, quoted a Jerusalem-based lawyer, Daniel Seidmann, calling it a “doomsday move.” Seiderman told the Americans for Peace Now: “We are weeks away from the end of the two-state solution. By 2013, Jerusalem will be so Balkanized that it will be impossible…to carve out a solution acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians.”

The Canadian counterparts of the American peace movement-Canadian Friends of Peace Now-have also castigated Netanyahu’s  egregious  behaviour as a sly and calculated effort “ to punish the Palestinian Authority for gaining UN recognition  of limited Palestinian statehood.” They have denounced it as “a deplorable exercise in exacerbating tensions.”

The Canadians were still being a little too kind, if not diplomatic, to debunk the Israeli provocation as designed to add to tension. It is much more than that. It’s an affront to international law and a brazen attempt to short-change the Palestinians and hoodwink the international community. 

Alan Hart, a veteran of several US administrations and an expert on intelligence services who has been an outspoken critic of US having pawned its policies to Israeli and American Zionists, got it right in lambasting Netanyahu’s provocation as indicative of an Israel behaving like Neo-Nazis.

Recording his reaction to Netanyahu’s mischief in his widely-read blog , on December 3, Hart laid it out with remarkable clarity and candidness in asking the question, Are Israel’s Jews, some of them, on their way to becoming Nazis? Hart no room to doubt that Israelis faithful to-and toeing the aggressive lines of the likes of Netanyahu and Lieberman-were behaving exactly as the Nazis under Hitler did in Germany.

To buttress his argument that a revanchist Israeli society parading out its support to Netanyahu’s naked expansionism, Hart quoted a renowned Israeli intellectual and Holocaust survivor, Dr. Hajo Meyer, agreeing with him that Zionism was trying to follow in the footsteps of the Nazis. Hart surmised that “Zionism is seeking to dehumanize the Palestinians in the same way the Nazis sought to dehumanize him (Meyer) in the Auschwitz concentration camp.”

Hart also directly quoted Hajo Meyer telling him in so many words: “Zionism is to modern enlightened Judaism what Nazism was to Germany’s traditional ethical values.”

Some die-hard friends and admirers of Israel-habitually used to papering over, if not routinely endorsing, Israel’s deliberate violations of international law and conventions in regard to its brutal policies vis-à-vis its oppressed Palestinians-may be tempted to question Hart’s candid likening of Zionism with Nazism. However, there are verifiable indicators that Netanyahu is not alone in mapping out a diabolical scheme to trigger ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from what the Zionists see as the land given to them in perpetuity by God.

Last year, for instance, an Israeli government-appointed committee, headed by a former Israeli Supreme Court Judge, Edmond Levy, gave the Israeli settlement building and expansion its seal of approval. It said Israel was not in breach of international law in its land grab and illegal settlement building denounced by the whole world.

However, the blatant Levy committee assertion flies in the face of dozens of UN resolutions attesting to the contrary. Most of these were passed in 1979 and 1980, after which US, Israel’s biggest and blind supporter in its settlement building as well as in its frequent acts of aggression against the hapless Palestinians, made it an essential tool of its policy at the UN to block with its veto power in the Security Council any resolution inconvenient to its Israeli ‘allies.’

One such resolution is 446 which stipulates that the Fourth Geneva Convention on land occupied after a war should be the regulating and binding legal instrument with regard to the Israeli occupied Palestinian territories. It forbids Israel from transferring its own population to the occupied lands, or changing its demographic character.

Israel is in brazen breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention in both its settlement-building and transfer of hundreds of thousands of its Jewish citizens to the occupied lands and making it their permanent abode. Settlement building commenced soon after 1967. However, in the 20 years since the Madrid Conference and the Oslo Accord, settlement expansion has gone on a frantic pace, with the connivance and material assistance of its principal mentor, US. From around 350, 000, in 1992, the settlers population in the occupied land has doubled, reaching, today, to more than 700,000. It’s a never-ending process as far as the Zionists are concerned.

Israel blatantly insists that the Fourth Geneva Convention doesn’t apply to its occupation of the Palestinian lands because there was no ‘sovereign authority’ that it seized land from at the end of the Six-Day War of 1967-which is specious and misleading, to say the least.

The UN Security Council (until it was paralysed by US veto), the UN General Assembly, The International Committee of the Red Cross, and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have all, time and again, repudiated the Israeli claim and termed it illegal and without any foundation.  In an advisory opinion rendered in 2004, ICJ categorically held that Israel was in violation of international law in building settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and was equally in breach of law in transferring its people to live on occupied lands. Israel, in the court’s opinion, was also in violation of law in restricting the movement of the Palestinians on their own land under occupation.

Israel was initially a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) but later pulled out of it and refused to ratify it when it read Article(8)(b)(viii) of the Statute which clearly states that “ the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” is a “war crime.”

Most observers of Netanyahu’s bullying and shenanigans agree that he is so furious over the new UN credentials of the Palestinian Authority largely because the coward bully in him fears that, armed with their new legal status the Palestinians may go to ICJ or drag Israel before ICC for its blatant and persistent refusal to abide by international law. So a hectoring Netanyahu wants to rush into creating new ‘ground realities’ in the occupied land and snuff life out of any blue-print of a physically contiguous state of the Palestinians.

In his remarks before his Ottawa audience, Mustafa Barghouti  didn’t flinch from stating, candidly, that the Palestinians may not be averse to going before these international courts of law if Netanyahu persisted in his ‘pox-on-you’ posture and attitude, vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Barghouti said, emphatically, “If Israel continues to evade the law, they (the Palestinians) are obliged to take steps…quite soon.”

So the ball, proverbially speaking, is in the court of Israel and its western mentors and benefactors to decide whether they would like to go on giving into Netanyahu’s bullying and arm-twisting -which would array them on the wrong side of history and make them culpable before the international community of nations that have just given the Palestinians their thumbs up and ushered in a new era of hope and promise for them.

An inebriated Netanyahu, and his insufferably racist side-kick, Avigdor Lieberman, might still suffer from hubris-induced paralysis of mind, but even some of Israel’s erstwhile unquestioning supporters and mentors in Europe clearly can see that Netanyahu & Co. may have bitten more than they can chew, this time around.

With an eye on the embarrassing fallout from Netanyahu’s arrogant move, the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, could see the picture lucidly without the kind of cobwebs still blinkering the vision of Obama and others in his administration on the issue. Hague had this to say in regard to Netanyahu’s plan of expanding the settlements; “If implemented, these plans would alter the situation, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, increasingly difficult to achieve. They would undermine Israel’s international reputation and create doubts about its stated commitment to achieving peace with the Palestinians.”

Hague doesn’t have to dig too deep into the history of the 20th century to quickly discover that the genie the British-administered Balfour Declaration had released, 65 years ago, has, today, become a monster that not only deems it his birthright to trample over the Palestinian sensitivities and fundamental rights but has also scant respect for international laws and conventions regulating the global comity of civilised states. Israel, under its Zionist doctrine, is a state that lives by the sword and practices terrorism as an essential perk of its power.

However, the international community of states still believing in the primacy of law and supremacy of justice have given the Palestinians what was long over-due to them. That should add to the quantum of hope among the oppressed, persecuted and occupied Palestinians and rekindle their faith in the ultimate triumph of justice over tyranny.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 December 2012 on page no. 18

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