Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 





Audacity of Hope Falters: Settlement Freeze No Longer Required
Friday, 04 September 2009 05:24
by Ramzy Baroud

The US has decided to be ‘flexible’ regarding its once touted call for a total Israeli freeze on the expansion of its occupied territories’ settlements, all illegal under international law.

A senior official spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity on August 27. “It was more important that the scope of a settlement freeze was acceptable to the Israelis and the Palestinians than to the United States,” Reuters reported, citing the senior official. This means that peace negotiations can resume while Israeli bulldozers are carving up Palestinian land, demolishing homes and cutting down trees.

It also means that the Israeli rejection of the only US demand, which has thus far defined President Barack Obama’s relations to the Middle East conflict, has prevailed over the supposed American persistence. In other words, the US has officially succumbed to Israeli and pro-Israeli pressures, in Tel Aviv and Washington.

Those not familiar with the connotation of certain terminology in this conflict may not appreciate what it truly means that the US will no longer demand an Israeli halt of the ‘natural growth’ of its settlements, especially in the occupied Jerusalem area where tens of thousands of Palestinians are vulnerable to Israeli ethnic cleansing. Families like the Hanoun and Ghawi family have been evicted from their homes and thrown out on the street before sunrise. “The police came for them at dawn on a Sunday, heavily armed, wearing helmets and riot shields as they broke down the metal doors of the houses and dragged the two Palestinian families out onto the streets,” reported the Guardian on August 24.

The heart-wrenching episodes of innocent people being thrown into the street for no fault of their own, only for the need to make room for more Jewish inhabitants took place before TV cameras and barely required more than a few words of bashful disapproval. That was in fact a political message, sent by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the US administration and anyone else who dares to question US settlement policy. It took place when Obama’s call for settlement freeze was at its pinnacle. Now, just imagine how Israel will behave, now that the US’s lonely demand is officially retracted. The rightwing Israeli government will likely expedite its settlement program to preclude any future demands for freeze. Many more Hanouns and Ghawis, and their children, will find themselves on the pavement for simply not being Jews, even if they are the rightful owners of the land.

The Israeli logic, however, is uncompromisingly clear. Two weeks before the evictions took place, Netanyahu addressed his cabinet, saying that Jerusalem (including occupied East Jerusalem) is "the capital of the Jewish people and of the state of Israel" and that "our sovereignty over it cannot be challenged." He continued, "We cannot accept the idea that Jews will not have the right to live and purchase in all parts of Jerusalem."

Aside from her unusually ‘harsh’ statement that the evictions were “deeply regrettable”, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had no answer to the Jerusalemite families pleading for their stolen homes. And now this, more American flexibility.

Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.

While Palestinians, and those who support and sympathize with their rightful struggle, are accustomed to Israel’s belligerent violations of international and humanitarian law, and direct and indirect US support of Israeli behavior, many had the ‘audacity’ to hope that things might change under the new US presidency. Obama’s speech in Cairo, despite its many flaws, was seen as a promising sign that the US will play a more conducive role in finding a just solution to the conflict and the ongoing tragedy of the Palestinians. It was thought that Obama was planning to start simple, by merely demanding a freeze of the settlement expansion. It’s anything but demanding full rights for Palestinians, or even allowing cement, food and medicine to starving Gaza, but it’s a start, nonetheless.

And as Palestinians, Israelis, the entire region and world media awaited the outcome of the Obama-Netanyahu battle of wills, Israel carried out all sorts of harms, that also went unnoticed.

Externally, Israel capitalized on the supposed US pressure, to place counter pressure on the US to impose dilapidating sanctions on Iran, provide a timeline for the end of diplomacy aimed at diffusing the hyped tension over Iran’s nuclear program, and more. That too was the message that Netanyahu carried with him to the meeting with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell in London, last week.

Still, Israel expected more, demanding - with the blessing of the US - Arab normalization with Israel, in reciprocation for the never actualized willingness to temporarily halt the expansion of settlements. Mitchell was too of the opinion that “Arab states (should) offer some gestures toward normalization of ties with Israel,” according to Reuters.

Internally, things took a dramatic turn for the worse. It started with a bill in the Israeli Knesset (parliament) that would jail Arabs who would commemorate the Palestinian Nakba or Catastrophe of 1948, which saw the expulsion of nearly 800,000 Palestinians from their land. Then, there was the new law that enforces the replacement of Arabic lettering on road signs referring to various locations with their Hebrew equivalent, even if these locations have been known by their Arabic names for millennia. These are neither the first nor the last of such fascist roles aimed at denying any trace of a Palestinian (Muslim or Christian) identity to co-exist along with the exclusively ‘Jewish character’ of Israel.

But that, and much more, was taking place as Palestinians and hopeful others held their breath, waiting for Obama to deliver, until the most recent expression of American flexibility. Now, Palestinians are left with one of two options: to continue to subscribe to the illusion that the US is capable, or even willing to rein in Israel’s transgression and exact justice and human rights on their behalf, or to cleanse their midst of self-seeking and corrupt leaders, unify their ranks and continue their struggle for an uncompromisingly free and independent Palestine.

- Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author of several books and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers, journals and anthologies around the world. His latest book is, "The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle" (Pluto Press, London), and his forthcoming book is, “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London), which is now available for pre-orders at Amazon.
More from this author:
American Voters Must Not Reward Failure (13082 Hits)
By Ramzy Baroud How critical is the situation in Iraq? It depends on who you ask and when. Common sense tells us that the situation there...
Palestine as a Foil for People’s Unconnected Dreams (10305 Hits)
By Ramzy Baroud. Thousands of people recently marched in London to commemorate Quds Day, an annual day of solidarity with the Palestinian...
Treacherous Road to Oslo Begins Here (10377 Hits)
By Ramzy Baroud Attempts to coerce Palestinians into submission have not always manifested themselves in the crude form of a tank, a bullet,...
Killing Hope in Beit Hanoun (10744 Hits)
By Ramzy Baroud “God is greater than Israel and America,” was the echoing cry of tens of thousands of Palestinians, who descended...
Reclaiming America: Democrats Must Truly Change Course (10526 Hits)
By Ramzy Baroud The Democrats' ascendancy within the US Congress could signal the regaining by the public, of its country's direction. ...
Related Articles:
The Land Without Hope (10333 Hits)
“Imagine what it's like to be a young person living in a country that is not moving toward reform. You're 21 years old, and while your peers in...
America is No Longer Free (16433 Hits)
by Paul Lehto   Habeas corpus -- it's your most fundamental legal right, your right to go to a court and get an order requiring the...
Unleashing the Christ Within:Last Hope for the Moribund Soul of a Nation? (8184 Hits)
by Jason Miller “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?” -Jesus Christ Humanity’s...
A Beacon of Hope and Unity in the Middle East (8133 Hits)
by Chris Floyd Jews and Muslims unite against homosexuals (Daily Telegraph; plus an update below.) Who says there is no hope for peace in...
Killing Hope in Beit Hanoun (10744 Hits)
By Ramzy Baroud “God is greater than Israel and America,” was the echoing cry of tens of thousands of Palestinians, who descended...

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Comments (1)add comment

Dhimmi said:

There is no such thing as 'palestinian' land
your premise is entirely incorrect, false in fact, as there is - never has been - any such thing as "palestinian" land

never been such a country, never a president, never a unique language, culture, monetary system, etc.

Arafat started using the term and it was the Jordanians who sacrificed land and then slaughtered the Muslims on that land who wanted to take over Jordan...in fact, Jordan is continuing to expel and rid Jordan of unwanted, troublesome, inhabitants of the area
September 05, 2009
Votes: +0

Write comment
smaller | bigger



Top 123