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"
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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