Left-wing politics from the US to Nepal, via Zimbabwe, South America and Palestine.

Monday, September 11, 2006

On How Things Change and Stay the Same

So somewhere between crying over the victims of 9/11 and singing the Star-spangled Banner with your hand on your heart, you may have noticed that Mahmood Abbas declared a Palestinian unity government today. The basis for this government is the Prisoner's Document and the 2002 Arab initiative for peace.

Let's examine what that means, from the Prisoner's Document:
  • "the Palestinian people [...] seek [...] the right to establish their independent state with al-Quds al-Shareef as its capital on all territories occupied in 1967"
  • "focusing the resistance in the occupied territories of 1967"
  • "to cling to the democratic trend and to hold regular general free and honest and democratic elections according to the law"
  • "to condemn the use of weapons regardless of the reasons in settling internal disputes"
  • "the need to reform the develop the Palestinian security institution with all its branches"
In other words, the document implicitly recognizes Israel, limits the resistance to the agreed international borders, assures democracy and acts to calm the internal situation.

Now, with the exception of resistance, which Israel and the US demand a complete end to, these have been their exact demands over the last few months. So one would expect delight from these parties. Perhaps some overtures of negotiation. I don't know....something...

So imagine my great surprise when I checked out the Ha'aretz web page this afternoon and saw the following headline:


(Tzipi Livni being the Israeli foreign minister).

That seems to be a change of direction, doesn't it?

No? It doesn't? Really?

Really. Israel and the US don't want to negotiate. They've never had a single damn ounce of such intention. From sanctions on a democratically-elected government (elected in a free and fair election, which Israel and the US demanded) to the kidnapping of the majority of that government, Israel has shown it has no interest in fostering a partner. It keeps changing its demands every time one is fulfilled. Its path, however, is unchanging and unflinching: continue the Occupation at any cost.

A postscript on resistance: any people have the right to resist occupation of their land within the boundaries of that land. That principle is well-established in international law, specifically in the Geneva Convention. Israel and the US simply have no right to demand an end to such resistance.


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