By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
What is said and what is not said.
Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel told his governing coalition that he did not promise an extension to the partial suspension in settlement construction when it expires in September (BTW, the suspension did not cover most of the settlement areas which are around Jerusalem and did not cover existing construction in other areas not infrastructure, schools, synagogue constructions etc. In other words there was really no suspension.) Standing next to President Obama he simply emphasized that the topic to be discussed with Palestinians is how we can prevent attacks on illegal settlers in the West Bank.
Six months ago, Abbas, encouraged by Obama, agreed to negotiations with Netanyahu only if Israel fulfill its obligations per the road map of a total settlement freeze including in East Jerusalem. Abbas stated about his decision to renew direct negotiations without even a promise of partial settlement suspension: “Palestinians are not powerful to dictate preconditions of negotiations” later in a prime time speech to the people “we did not want the difference between us and the Israelis to come down to differences on modality of negotiations…we want to build a peace based on security for both people”. He did not once mention the right of refugees to return to their homes and lands. If Netanyahu can use the excuse of having a coalition that can break apart if he gave up an inch, then how can Abbas who is now ruling by Fiat and hjas already given up 78% of Palestine resist further pressure for further back-downs without rebuilding a representative PLO?
President Obama has been a strong advocate of Israel and half the staff in his administration that have anything to do with US policy in the Middle East are Jewish Zionists (people like Rahm Emanuel and Dennis Ross). Thus it is not surprising that he never ever said any words to acknowledge Palestinians have any rights to anything (only aspirations for statehood). By contrast he speaks of rights of Israelis (the occupiers) to security and peace.
But in my decades of involvement with the struggle for freedom, I have never seen such a disconnect between people and politicians claiming to represent them. Even in Israeli papers, comments from average Israelis are lopsided against colonial settlers and highly cynical of the Israeli politicians. Palestinians almost uniformly (with the exception of those directly benefiting) oppose the politicians ruling from Ramallah or Gaza. US Citizens are extremely unhappy with a situation of two unwinnable wars, over 1000 suicides in US troops serving in those wars, and the destruction of the US economy to serve special interest lobbies (like AIPAC) with endless wars. The good news is that more and more people awake will eventually turn this system around. In this regard, we mourn the loss of our friend Sherif Fam who died yesterday in Boston. Sherif was an exceptional radio host. I interviewed with him many times (e.g.) . Our deepest condolences to his family and colleagues. We will miss him.
Action: Urge Obama to insist Israel respects Palestinian rights
Must read: Israeli study of the challenges it faces (much of what is said here confirms our strategy)
“Together, these campaigns and others form a global systematic and systemic attack against Israel and its political-economic model. Their form continually shifts and adapts and their momentum is gaining. Their ultimate aim is to delegitimize Israel in order to precipitate its implosion, inspired by the collapses of countries such as the Soviet Union and apartheid South Africa. ….the delegitimization offensive against Israel is constantly adapting, and the network that produced the flotillas will find a new logic and battle cry. Thus, Israel’s response to future flotillas, as well as to the entire campaign being waged against it, requires a comprehensive systemic treatment of the delegitimization challenge.“
Audacity of Hope: US boat to Gaza
A great article from our friend Reverend David Good: A cure for the disease of Islamophobia
Gaza doctor writes book of hope despite murder of his three daughters