Sharon Repudiates the Road Map
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in remarks on Wednesday repudiated the American-sponsored “road map” to a peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Sharon insists on acting unilaterally, intends to occupy the Palestinian population indefinitely, and intends to permanently incorporate much of the West Bank, conquered in 1967, into Israel, while leaving the Palestinian population stateless. They lack so much as a passport or a country, many of their children are hungry, unemployment is astronomical, and their lives are ruined by a dense network of Israeli roads and checkpoints that make it difficult even just to go to the hospital.
I am sure that most Americans are not even aware that Palestinians live under Israeli military occupation and that every day Palestinian territory shrinks as it is stolen by fanatical Israeli colonists. These fanatics do not differ in any obvious way from the French colonists in Algeria, which the French also proclaimed “French soil.” But colonialism is just another word for grand larceny. (Most Americans would be appalled if the United States suddenly chased all the Iraqis out of Baghdad and brought in Americans to permanently take over their apartments and other property, instead. But that is an exact analogy for how the Israelis are behaving.)
There are several examples in the contemporary world of land-hungry states attempting to incorporate neighbors’ territory into their own. You have the Chinese in Tibet, the Moroccans in the Western Sahara . . . and, well it is actually hard to think of a lot of recent such engorgements. But in each of these cases, the conquering state wants the people along with the territory. Tibetans have Chinese passports, and Saharans have Moroccan ones. But Israel isn’t giving the Palestinians Israeli passports. It just wants their land, not them, and sets things up to try to force the Palestinians out of their homeland. It is an ongoing injustice, with Israeli colonization creeping forward. Even if Sharon does remove the small number (8000) of Israeli colonists from Gaza, he intends to resettle them in the West Bank, which is nicer real estate.
Charles Smith’s Guest Editorial on Sept. 1 is worth revisiting in the light of these recent admissions.