Mazin Qumsiyeh, 30 Sept 2010, In occupied Bethlehem, Palestine
It has been a rather bizarre week in the Middle East. Let me just cite a few examples:
– The International Atomic Agency (IAEA) succumbed to pressure from the US and other Western Countries and thus failed to make any explicit or even implicit request of Israel to join the nonproliferation treaty. One of the excuses given is that there is a delicate peace process going and we do not want to upset the situation (i.e. Upset Israel)
-With help from an emasculated Palestinian authority, the United Nations Human Rights Council succumbed to the “might makes right” philosophy and refused to actively pursue Israel for its blatant violation of International law when it attacked Gaza. One of the excuses given is that there is a delicate peace process going and we do not want to upset the situation (i.e. Upset Israel)
-The UN human rights council issued a report about its investigation of Israeli use of force including apparently executing passengers on the Gaza bound freedom flotilla. Yet, the great powers claim there is a UN commission of inquiry (three people sympathetic to Israel including a known war criminal) who will look into the matter of the attack and issue recommendations but without interviewing survivors or the attackers and without demanding from Israel the tapes, cameras etc that it confiscated (i.e. without evidence). And yes, the US and great powers claim that there is a delicate peace process going and we do not want to upset the situation (i.e. Upset Israel)
– Israel refuses to stop colonial settlement activities on the remaining shreds of Palestinian territory. The US administration will offer Israel all sorts of incentives including promising to support Israeli demands that any Palestinian statelet is devoid of sovereignty (e.g. Israeli troops continue to be posted at borders) and that there will not be any demands to implement Palestinian rights (e.g. return of refugees). But, this is part of diplomatic maneuvering because we want the “peace” talks (now on for 18 years) to continue..
-News media parroted Israeli releases that the boarding of the latest boat to Gaza was done “without violence from those on board” or from the Israeli Navy. Yet once those on board were released, we know that they told of horrific and degrading treatment done to them including being tasored. But hey, the Palestinian authority and Israel apartheid regime are in a peace process. So who cares about what happens to an 80 year old holocaust survivor or a bunch of Jews with conscience.
-The powerful Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman gave a speech at the UN bragging about the power and claiming there will be no peace for a very long time only interim arrangements some may involve transfer of part of the Palestinian population from inside the Green line to get rid of those while Israel keeps the settlement. To counter the diplomatic damage, Netanyahu did not dismiss the ideas but merely said that his office makes policy. The US continues to insist Netanyahu is serious about “peace” when even imbeciles can see that this is the most fascist rightwing government in Israel’s history and that Netanyahu is a veteran liar (in private conversations he was recorded as dismissing all notions of peace).
-At the behest of the Zionist lobby, the EU and US governments are applying additional sanctions on Iran and Iranian officials on the pretext of suppressing human rights in Iran during recent unrest! Do they really think the world is blind, deaf, and mute? Do they not see that Iran’s behavior towards dissidents is child’s play compared to Israel’s relentless massacres and ethnic cleansing? And need we remind ourselves of the FBI search and seizure policy against human rights activists in the US? Would they at least demand that Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire be released immediately from detention at Ben Gurion airport (named after a war criminal and ethnic cleanser). Oh, yes I forget, the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, Saeb Erekat et al are talking peace here so we should all shut up.
-President Barak Obama with a straight face stands in front of the UN to declare ” Those who long to see an independent Palestine must also stop trying to tear down Israel. After thousands of years, Jews and Arabs are not strangers in a strange land. After 60 years in the community of nations, Israel’s existence must not be a subject for debate. Israel is a sovereign state, and the historic homeland of the Jewish people. It should be clear to all that efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States. And efforts to threaten or kill Israelis will do nothing to help the Palestinian people.” Imagine if he said the same thing about Apartheid South Africa. But then again there was no peace process other than between Chief Buthalesi Bantustan and the white regime.
-The Israeli occupation forces killed five Palestinians this week including a fisherman and a toddler and continued with its other policies of siege, building walls on Palestinian lands, arresting political activists etc as the talk about the talk of “peace” continues.
These are just few of the rather bizarre happenings this week in the Middle East but when I think about it, we have had 62 years of misery, mayhem and pain filled with bizarre and almost unbelievable events. Who would have though it possible to gather members of a particular ideology into one spot on earth, displacing its native people and making them refugees and yet label the victims terrorists. Who would have thought that this would be achieved with incredible brutality supported by Western powers, themselves riddled with racism and hatred of non-whites?
But we take heart in the fact that this whole rigged game is finally coming to an end. Some claim that there is a trend that made the Palestinian cause a commodity traded for profit and positions and hence Palestine had been lost already in this game of world politics. But I, writing these notes after a long day of work with Palestinians (weak and strong, young and old) can tell you that they underestimate us. Like contrarian investing, I tell people to be careful in making gloomy predictions. Things looked pretty gloomy in 1920, 1928, 1935, 1972, 1986, and 1999. The year after in each of those things was not predicted or predictable by the majority of people. But I will go out on a limb and say that based on history, the next intifada is likely to be global. Individuals have one of three choices regardless of their background: support the oppressors, be apathetic (and hence support the status quo of oppression), or join the growing movement saying “enough is enough”.
For more on this subject see ” What if Peace Talks “Succeed?”
Many commentators expect the direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians to fail. But there is a much worse scenario: What if they “succeed?”
Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine. He serves as chairman of the board of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People and coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Sahour He is author of “Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle” and the forthcoming book Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment