Why they Hate us: Romney Secretly Plots to Screw Palestinians over Again

In a conversation with donors he thought private, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney laid out with startling clarity the American policy toward the Palestinians:

Mother Jones has the story, and the transcript.

Romney typifies the American duplicity toward the 12 million Palestinians. His campaign speaks of a ‘two-state solution.’ But in private he admits that such a thing, involving giving Palestinians their own state, is “almost impossible to imagine.” So the talk of a two-state solution is just a smokescreen for keeping the Palestinians stateless.

What does it mean to be stateless? The UNHCR has laid out the situation. Imagine that you went out to a movie and when you came back home, you found that other people had moved into your house! What would you do? You’d call the police, right? You could always prove to a judge that the house belongs to you because it is registered as your property. So the police would arrest the home invaders and restore your property to you.

But if you didn’t have a state, if you were without citizenship, then what? What if the police sided with the home invaders, on the grounds that they were citizens? What if you had no place to register your property, since you have no state to hire bureaucrats and staff archives? What if the judge rules that you don’t really own your property, since you bought it before the current government came to power and your claim to it is not registered.

Then you could just be thrown into the street at will. Stateless people don’t really own property. They don’t have a long-term claim on water, or land, or health care.

The four million Palestinians under Israeli occupation are all stateless. In Gaza, 10% of the children are malnourished. The Palestinian families that the Israelis expelled from Palestine in 1948 and 1967 are living in refugee camps in Syria and Lebanon, and have no citizenship. In Lebanon they cannot for the most part work, own property or run legal businesses. They can’t travel because no one trusts them not to stay. Many are stuck in refugee camps, to which they were consigned by Zionist militias who then took over their homes and farms in Palestine. They are in Palestinian jail.

h/t Uprooted Palestinians

The Palestinians of Gaza are not just stateless. They are under a blockade even of civilians organized by their occupiers, the Israelis, which prevents them from exporting most of their products and consigns them to poverty. Their health conditions and services are deteriorating and lurching toward catastrophe. Healthwise, Gaza’s children [pdf] Gaza’s children are falling behind, suffering widespread food insecurity, malnutrition and anemia.

h/t Qumsiyah

The Palestinians in the West Bank are being actively stolen from, their land and water gradually being taken from them by aggressive, armed Israeli squatters, who are Romney’s darlings. Israel bars Palestinians from 60% of the Palestinian West Bank, depriving them of access to farms and creating a deepening fiscal crisis.

This is the status quo that Mr. Romney feels he is boxed into accepting. The Palestinians just have to remain stateless, because if they established a state, it might make claims on Israel proper, and might bring in arms, and attack Israel.

Therefore, the Palestinians must be kept in an almost slave-like state of no citizenship rights. Romney seems not to know that the PLO recognized Israel or that many Palestinian officials have been praised by Israel’s security forces as good partners, such as Salam Fayad. Romney is reasoning from facts not in evidence. That the West Bank Palestinians would flood their own country with weapons and use them to attack nuclear Power, Israel, makes no sense to me.

Romney’s logic would have told against the Camp David peace process. Couldn’t the Egyptians have loaded up with missiles and hit Israel, once they had initially made peace?

But Romney’s hopes of kicking the Palestinians down the road are cruel and impractical. It is not right to keep the Palestinians of the Occupied Territories stateless forever, or to allow squatters to usurp their property.

From the 9/11 attacks to the embassy burnings of this past week, the US pays the price for supporting the subjection of the Palestinians in widespread hatred for it from the Muslim world.

And, the Israeli colonization of the Palestinian West Bank has not only made the two-state solution impossible (Romney is right, at least, about that). It has imperiled Israel, which certainly will increasingly be boycotted by the rest of the world for running an Apartheid state (actually much worse than old South Africa’s Apartheid).

It turns out that what Romney is kicking down the road is not a can. It is a live grenade.

25 Responses

  1. Dear Juan,

    Thank you for truly good article, video, and informed
    comment.

    And thank you, Romney, for your stupied honesty! You
    surprise no one!

    Jewish community, and jewish young in particular, in the
    US – and Sweden where I live – are deeply ashamed over
    how the Palestinians are treated, and turn away from the
    way of war as solution.

    Cheers, Björn Lindgren

  2. Imagine what the Saudis would do if they thought Iran was helping Palestinians? Israel would have all the Arab help it needed to get rid of its Palestinian problem….

  3. We on the left need to stop talking about the “two state solution” as well! Is the solution to get rid of the Palestinians? Is shoving them off into a desert ghetto acceptable to us? We should know that a “Palestinian State” next to an un-reformed Israel will be no different to what they have now.

    Israel is a country that brutally oppresses its Palestinian minority. That is the essential problem to be solved. It will not have peace until it becomes a country of equal rights. Let us not be party to any scheme that attempts to finesse the problem. We do the Israelis no favors by playing along. It is only we that will be fooled, the struggle will go on.

  4. I tend to agree with Romney that a “one-state solution” is the answer; although NOT in the way he describes. The state of Israel has already stolen a good deal of the West Bank and its siege on Gaza has made a utopian, or at the very least, an equitable “two-state solution” impossible. If the Israelis fully embraced democracy and extended citizen rights and protections to the Palestinians, just by population size, the Palestinians would gain control of the government, military, policy, etc.. Of course the only way this “one-state solution” could occur is if the US truly helped foster Palestinian inclusion by denouncing Israeli officials who commit atrocities and removing the US-aid financial crutch that enables those same officials.

    Also, has Professor Cole read The Wandering Who?

  5. Romney is proving over & over that who is feed by a Golden Spoon does not know what hunger is.

    He stands next to the queen of France who said, “If you do not have bread, let them eat cake”.

    At the moment Bush Jr, looks much better than Romney.

  6. My own personal ideal is full incorporation of Palestinians into Israel, a solution which provides for the “right of return”. A significant Israeli barrier to that, barring the fears to which Romney alludes, may be the intended maintenance of Israel as demographically Jewish to the extent that Arab votes are inconsequential. However, I can’t say with certainty what the feelings “on the ground” are, whether or not Israelis, by and large, would be willing to accept significant Arab representation. But representative government is imperfectly democratic; perhaps a governmental changing of guard must occur before the idea is seriously considered.

  7. “That the West Bank Palestinians would flood their own country with weapons and use them to attack nuclear Power, Israel, makes no sense to me.”

    If I get in a fight with my office mate, I might consider a hand gun, but the safety pin would likely stay in the grenade.

  8. Dear Professor Cole,
    I used to be a supporter of the two state solution, but looking at the green-highlighted areas of the map I wonder, ‘Could such a zig-zag territory ever make a viable state?’ Gaza could provide a seaport, but the rest of the land is deeply pierced and surrounded by Israeli territory. Further I’m seeing at least 4 non-contiguous zones.
    Are there any other countries in the world that have non-contiguous territories? I suppose Hawaii & Alaska are separated from the mainland U.S. by an ocean. But I can’t help but remember the failed West & East Pakistan experiment finally breaking up into Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    • Malaysia isn’t contiguous, and island nations like Indonesia aren’t really. But the Israeli colonization of the West Bank is now so extensive that there is no place to put a Palestinian state any longer.

      • “…the Israeli colonization of the West Bank is now so extensive that there is no place to put a Palestinian state any longer.”

        I attended a presentation by a panel of political cience and international law professors at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the Univesity of Michigan almost one year ago and it was opined that the West Bank, in a purely legal sense, is a no-man’s land. Jordan had no legally cognizable claim to the region even though it had occupied it for a period, Israel did not want to annex it and only Jewish settlers, who had no legal standing, wanted Israel to seek annexation. The residents of the West Bank could not force Israel to initiate annnexation of the area. The anel discused legal impediments to a Palestinian Authority declaration of statehood would be they would have to control areas they wanted independence for and the Hamas control of Gaza prevented this. Further Israeli military occupation of the West Bank also obviated Palestinian Authority control over the West Bank.

        Thomas Friedman, in his book “From Beirut to Jerusalem”, published in the 1980s, indicated that Israel’s post-1967 occupation of the West Bank and the amintebnace of that status quo has been the unstated goal of the Israeli right-wing since it denied citizenship and, hence, voting rights to Palestinians in that region, while still allowing Israel extensive police and military control over vital areas it deems advance their national security interests.

        Extensive colonization of the West Bank by Jewish settlers inhibits the creation of a viable Palestinian independent state. This is a reason this colonization, which failed in Gaza, is crucial for the Israeli right-wing to effectively confound the ability of the Palestinian leadership to declare an independent state.

    • Trinidad and Tobago is not contiguous and neither are the Bahamas in North America.

      The Philippines are not contiguous either.

      • Not as land, but the water between all the islands is the sovereign territory of the Filipino government, and the Filipino navy controls it. They own any oil in it, any fish in it, and any passage across it.

        Now if the ocean levels rise, slowly drowning those islands, then that’s similar to what the Israeli settlements are doing to the Palestinians.

  9. John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me recounted the experiences of a brave white man willingly entering racist black reality to find what being black really meant. I suggest that even Little Lord Romney might experience a shift of world view if he were parachuted naked into Gaza, with no papers, a bad haircut, and a professional makeup job complete with all the facial profiling features of those nasty Palestinians. I’ll chip in ten bucks.

  10. I must say that the move by the Democratic party at the DNC the reinserted language back into their official platform that invokes God and affirms the role of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital will have ramifications that will likely be just as harmful to the plight of the Palestinians.

  11. Romney’s statements simply gives voice to the Israeli “status quo” master plan – bullshit the world into believing that peace is being pursued while gobbling up Palestinian land and water resources.

  12. Thanks for this. The emphasis placed on the other of the Lord High Money Maker’s comments needs a counterbalance to bring to light the truly awful nature of what, I think you correctly surmise, is not only the policy his Lordship would wish but the bi-partisan policy of the American government as it is supported enthusiastically by most of the chattering classes from Clint Eastwood to Jon Stewart. No idea seems so orphaned in modern America than that the Palestinians in the area of the old British mandate should be seen to be at all, much less the citizens of a state. This is a troubling and ominous symptom which, in an individual, would be evidence of a serious psychopathy. I agree with some of your interlocutors that the response to this must surely call into question the pursuit of a separate state for Palestinians as a solution. It may at least be time to take the position that a solution to the deplorable circumstances of the people of the occupied territories must be found either through the creation of a viable state or through a democratic one state solution with equal rights of citizenship for everyone. If the end result is to be a viable Palestine, for North Americans, the road probably must travel through the democratic secular state with no vestiges of apartheid policies and violent, racist repression of Palestinian people. As long as the anodyne notion of some “final status” agreement at some immeasurably distant point in the future continues to entrance the west in general it is easier to accept the dim evidence of brutal policy towards the Palestinians as the necessary condition for our brutalized consciences to bear. A divestment and boycott campaign for civil rights for Palestinians would much more likely to gain traction in the west than a campaign to establish a state that, however improbably, could serve as a platform to attack Israel. The campaign could be undertaken safe in the knowledge that Bibi and his American sycophants will not do anything towards actually settling the issues by means of a viable Palestinian state until the pip squeaks and if they still do not then at least the issue of civil rights in a single state will be in play.

  13. Wikileaks has published cables between U.S. and Israeli diplomats that concede a distinct plan by Israel to economically choke Gaza to a point just short of humanitarian crisis.

    Israel has implemented a policy of econimic coercion via such measures as uprooting trees in orchards of Palestinians on the pretext that they could be used to shelter Qassam rocket crews, demolishing homes of Palestinian families suspected of collusion with militants, forbidding import of Gazan-grown crops into Israel, preventing shipments of cement, glass, and other construction materials into Gaza for reconstruction following Operation Cast Lead on the pretext that these could be used as weaponry, despite the fact the world community raised 4.4 billion dollars to rebuild Gaza in resopnse to an appeal by Palestinian officials that it would cost $2.8 billion to restore Gaza after the Israeli invasion of 2006.

    One study found that only the Republic of Zambia had a lower economic prosperity level than Gaza.

    Israel’s naval blockade and other repressive economic measures have hurt the Palestinian people and created enmity between the Arab world and Israel.

  14. Has anybody ever seen a rational reason why the people of Palestine had to be destroyed because of what the Germans did to other Europeans?

  15. Romney’s bad on the Palestinian issue but the substance of the Obama (non)approach is exactly the same. Obama wouldn’t let the cat out of the bag as Romney has but the cat’s still in there. If there ever was a sliver of hope for the Palestinians you would have to go back all the way to Carter.

  16. I had believed for a long time that the Palestinians should engage in Gandhi-style peaceful resistance to their exclusion from full and equal civil rights in a pluralist Israel, and thought that the Jews who’d faced the Holocaust and knew what racial and sectarian genocide were would never crush a people who were campaigning for their human rights in such a manner.

    However, when I suggested that this was what the Palestinians may be driven to and what they should embrace anyway, to a young, recently decommisioned Israel Defense Force veteran who was holidaying in India last summer, his unabashed response to me, looking me right in the eye as he said it, was “Modern Israelis would respond to that by killing them all.” Mind you, he was not in favour of the Netanyahu policy of tacitly committing ethnic cleansing to annex the the Palestinian territories, and he said he knew that it would eventually prove suicidal for the Zionist State, but he claimed that he was just voicing popular sentiment in Israel.

    America must cut her ties to these people before our alliance with them eventuates in Armageddon.

  17. At leaast Romney comes out and says what he intends to do – throw the Palestinians under the bus.

    That has been the undeclared policy for every US President since Carter. The enemy of Palestine is Israel, and time after time US politicians have declared they fully support every action of Israel.

    And Obams is just the same – he simply caved in when the Israelis stood up to him on their contining theft of Palestinain land.

  18. Another great article. And yet, I don’t see Obama open to a reasonable solution, either. Pardon my cynicism, but both parties are in the pocket of AIPAC and other pro-Israeli special interest groups – and until we get leadership that isn’t, I don’t believe that a just resolution is realistic. With Obama bursting at the seams to wage war on Iran, I just don’t see him doing a complete about-face on Israel, holding them to UN resolutions of which they are in violation (have been for over 40 years, in fact), reviewing the legality of Camp David and Oslo accords, and giving the Palestinian people a state.

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