Sunday, July 18, 2010

Netanyahu's Peace Talk

Larry King should be embarrassed. During his “love fest” with the Prime Minister of Israel last week, (Larry King Live, July 7, 2010), he left so many questions unasked. Benjamin Netanyahu talked peace, bemoaning the fact that Israel wanted so much to have peace Yet others either refused to “recognize the Jewish state that exists in the Middle East, that wants to live in peace and security with its neighbors.” OR, he complained that he had no negotiating partner on the Arab side who is willing to come from Ramallah to Jerusalem to “get down together to talk peace and make peace.”

Netanyahu complained that Hamas is still holding Gilad Shalit, a Jewish soldier, in prison and has done so for four years. “I would hope that International condemnation is directed there. That’s where it belongs and not against Israel, a struggling democracy, striving to live and make peace with its neighbors.” I agree. I wish Hamas would release their one prisoner, whom the whole world knows by name. But King did not ask about the 8,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons, including some 300 children, some held for more than six years. We never hear their names.[1]

James Petras, in his new book analyzing the United Nation’s Goldstone Report sums up Israel’s efforts for peace. In response to the idea that the world is “picking on” Israel, he writes:

Israel holds the ‘world record’ in the number of towns and villages ethnically cleansed (over 500 and counting); number of refugees deported (4 million and counting); number of homes demolished (60 thousand and continuing); and has imprisoned more civilians per capita than any other country (250,000 and growing). Israel is the country with the highest number of protective US Security Council vetoes (over 100) preventing the world body from condemning Israeli war crimes.[2]

Netanyahu talks peace, saying that real leaders, meaning himself, are always willing to sit down together and talk. “Abbas should just come to Jerusalem. It’s only 10 minutes away. That’s when you have traffic. Without traffic, it’s seven minutes.”

As I listened to him, it became clear to me that Netanyahu wants two things: talk and Palestine.

He talks peace and the whole time he is talking, his troops are tearing down homes in East Jerusalem which have been owned by Palestinian families for generations. Suddenly, they do not have the “right to exist,” Their homes are being destroyed to make room for settlements for Jews only. All of the “go along to get along” policies of Abbas have not stopped the expansion of one settlement. While talking peace, Netanyahu continues to create “facts on the ground” which restrict the movement of Palestinians within Palestine. His so called ‘security wall” has little to do with security and everything to do with separating Palestinians from their farms, water, schools and hospitals.

Omar Hajaj, whose village is being surrounded by Israel’s “security wall” says, “We will soon be caged like a zoo animal.”[3] I wish King had asked Netanyahu how the total encirclement of Al-Walajah could lead to peace. Netanyahu talked about not leaving a stone unturned in his quest for peace and bragged about easing his siege of Gaza to allow more essential items in. However, according to Mel Frykbere, last week:

Israel has received international praise for its decision to ease its crippling blockade on Gaza following the country’s deadly assault on a humanitarian flotilla trying to bring desperately needed humanitarian aid to the coastal territory. But according to the UN human rights organizations, the easing of the blockade is insufficient in meeting Gaza’s needs.

He explains:

During the week after June 20, 695 trucks of goods entered Gaza. This compares with 2,400 per week prior to the closure and meets only 30 percent of Palestinian needs.[4]

Maxwell Gayland, UN Deputy Special and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Middle East says:

What we need to see is an improvement in Gaza’s water, sanitation, power grid, educational and health sectors. Gaza’s economy is shot to pieces and its infrastructure is extremely fragile.[5]

It seems obvious to anyone except Larry King that while talking peace, Netanyahu wants Palestine, all of it and without too many Palestinians.

Thomas Are
July 18, 2010

[1] See Breaking Down the Walls, Report of the Middle East Study Committee to the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) p.69.
[2] James Petras, War Crimes in Gaza and the Zionist Fifth Column in America. (Clarity Press, Atlanta, 2010) p. 12.
[3] Salim Saheb Ettaba, Palestinian Villagers Battle Plan to Wall Them In. (Yahoo News,) July 11, 2010.
[4] Mel Frykberg, Israel Chokes Gaza Despite Announced Easing, ( original,) July 15th, 2010.
[5] Quoted by Frykberg above.

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