Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed Israel on Wednesday for its plan to demolish 88 Palestinian homes in Occupied East Jerusalem, calling it a violation of the Roadmap for Israeli-Palestinian peace. She said after meeting Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, “Clearly this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the ‘road-map’… It is an issue that we intend to raise with the government of Israel and the government at the municipal level in Jerusalem.”
Clinton will get lots of critical emails from a tightly organized network of far rightwing Revisionist-Zionists for her comment. Please consider sending her a supportive message for daring speak out on the issue. In fact, urge her to use a stronger word than “unhelpful” the next time. And, other bloggers: Please send your readers to make such comments, as well. The left blogosphere that cares about these things is bigger than the Jabotinskyites, but we don’t bother to network or write or contribute specifically on this issue, and so we are always being out-organized and outflanked and marginalized.
The issue of the house demolitions in Jerusalem is important because of its emotional resonance for Palestinians and for the whole Muslim world, which views Jerusalem as Islam’s third holiest city, a city Muslims ruled in history for longer than Jews did. Bin Laden repeatedly cited the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, along with the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia, as his motivation for attacking New York.
But in fact the demolition of 88 houses is a minor affair compared to Israel’s plans to build 73,000 new houses in the Occupied West Bank, which would lead to a doubling of the Israeli squatter population to 600,000. About a third of the Jewish colonists in the West Bank are Americans. The plan will almost certainly be implemented by the far rightwing government being assembled by Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu. The two-state solution is already dead, but this massive expansion of the squatter population would be the final nail in the coffin. Palestinian statehood is important because currently over half the world’s some 9 million Palestinians are stateless,including those in Gaza and the West Bank. Statelessness is a severe disability in the contemporary world, because the state guarantees basic political and civil rights. No stateless Palestinians enjoy the basic rights and freedoms granted Americans by the US Bill of Rights, because their occupiers or hosts will not grant them and the Palestinians have no state representation of their own. (The Palestine Authority is essentially an extension of the Israeli occupation authority and lacks the prerogatives and sovereignty of a state). There are not two sides to this issue, whereby someone could argue that Palestinians don’t deserve citizenship in a state and it is good for them to be expropriated at will. It is a scandal and a crime that they remain stateless after all these decades. And, no, it is not the “Arabs” fault. The “Arabs” did not expel the Palestinians from their homes, and since Israel kept the Occupied Territories after 1967, they are its responsibility, not Morocco’s.
Clinton has told CNN, “The two-state solution is the inevitable, inescapable outcome of any effort,” Clinton told CNN. “It is hard to imagine what other positive outcome could be arrived at.” But Clinton has been so cautious in her statements while in Israel, neglecting to press the Israelis publicly and forcefully on their extensive colonization plans, that Palestinians are despairing of genuine progress. They are calling her “Condi Clinton.” That seems harsh, given that Condi would almost certainly not have chided the Israelis publicly over house demolitions in Jerusalem.
Hillary is right and wrong. A two-state solution is no longer feasible. It was the best hope for peace, but Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon killed it, with some help from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc. There will not be a positive outcome in the Mideast. We are in for a fifty-years war, which Israel is very likely to lose in the long run, and during the course of which there will be enormous violence and terrorism, including, probably, further attacks on the United States for its knee-jerk support of Israeli expansionism and aggressive total wars on Arab civilian populations.
Since,apparently, the US government is primed to let John Yoo rewrite the US constitution whenever a few bombs go off, so that freedom of speech and the press can be abolished and the right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure can be revoked, the Mideast 50-years-war very likely will lead to the destruction of American democracy. The blueprint for that demolition job has long existed and steps toward it were taken under Bush.
Aljazeera English reports on Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and its refusal to grant building permits to Arab families, while building new housing for Jewish families. These policies violate the 1907 Hague Convention and the 1949 Geneva Convention on occupied territories, which forbid the settlement of citizens of the Occupier in the conquered area, and forbid significant alterations in the lifeways of the occupied population. Israel has single-handedly reduced the Geneva Conventions to irrelevancy, since it flouts them and strong-arms the United States into acquiescing in and supporting the flouting.
Aljazeera English notes that while Bill and Hillary Clinton helped open the Gaza Airport in 1998, Hillary did not bother to visit Gaza now that she is secretary of state, and the Israelis have destroyed the airport, turning Gaza into “the world’s largest prison,” or as a Vatican spokesman put it, a concentration camp.
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