Tuesday, 28 September 2010
ISRAEL, THE WALL, & SETTLEMENTS: 2004-10
The World Court's ruling in 2004 against Israel in pursuing the building of the WALL mainly to cut off the West Bank from Israel cannot be dismissed as anti-Semitism, but there are people who use that decision and UN decisions condemning specific policies of the government in Tel Aviv for anti-Semitic propaganda. Well-intentioned analysts view the Wall as having both positive and negative consequences for Israel, to say nothing of its detrimental impact on the Palestinians. 1. There is no doubt that the Wall has made it more difficult, but not impossible for Palestinians interested in carrying out attacks against Israel. 2. There is no doubt that the Wall as something tangible offers psychological protection to Israel and it plays to the conservatives who favor a hard line without making any concessions on statehood and settlement evacuations to the Palestinians. 3. The Wall is a political-military line of demarcation that can be negotiated in the future and used as leverage for U.S. and EU aid as part of a final settlement on a Palestinian state to which Israel will agree. These are positive elements from Israel's perspective. On the down side, the wall and continued Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories confirm to the entire world that Israel and its U.S. patron have no intention of compromising. Second, the policy of separation and occupation demonstrates that Israel intends to be a Zionist garrison state that unapologetically punishes Palestinians collectively, an issue (collective punishment) that the UN has condemned along with almost every nation in the world. Third, the places the U.S. in an even more defensive position than it has been regarding its lack of balance in the region, especially given Iran's protestations to the UN about Israel's nuclear weapons. Finally, the continued settlements and the APARTHEID WALL will not stop attacks on Israelis, the Arab states will be compelled to provide more aid for Palestinians, and Islamists will find creative ways to increase their activities against Israel and U.S. interests around the world. In short, there is no military solution for this problem, any more than for Iraq, or Afghanistan. Only collective (U.S. must be included) pressure on both sides to compromise will result in a constructive solution. Israel and the Palestinians can only find a way to coexist provided the US adopts a very tough carrot and stick approach with Tel Aviv, an approach not likely given the enormous influence of the Israeli lobby in the US. Obama, like his predecessors in the last six decades will fail in his Middle East foreign policy to deliver a viable state to the Palestinians and secure co-existence to the Israelis.