Sunday, January 19, 2014

Kerry's Peace Plan

I like John Kerry. Voted for him and sent a little money for his presidential run against George W. Bush.  But if he were to ask me what I thought about his performance as Secretary of State, I would give him and A and an F.
I would say yes to his leadership with Iran. After years of no talking and saber-rattling, Iran has come to the table and said let’s work together to avoid another war in the Middle East.  Against those in Congress who side with Netanyahu and against their own president and in spite of AIPAC’s crying wolf, Kerry has brought about an agreement with Iran to greatly limit its nuclear program and open its facilities to regular inspections. For the first time in decades, the streets no longer rumble with shouts of  “Death to America”.  Some say Kerry deserved the Nobel Peace prize. In spite of Israel-firsters in Congress and no let up from AIPAC, to sabotage his efforts, most people in the world agree that Kerry has brought us to the closest point of peaceful relations with Iran in years.
However, I would give him an F on his so called “Peace Talks” when it comes to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. He talks borders when Israel announces plans to destroy 2,000 more Arab homes in order to construct 828 Jewish only homes in East Jerusalem plus 20,000 more in the West Bank.[1]
The issue is still the Israeli occupation. Israel’s separation wall has turned Palestinian towns and villages into prisons. Gaza continues to live in inhuman conditions, under permanent blockade. Settlements gobble up homes and land. Military checkpoints and road blocks by the hundreds humiliate Palestinians trying to get to work or home and hundreds of thousands of refugees still live in camps.
Also part of the reality is Israeli disregard of international law and Palestinian citizens
living within Israel suffering from discriminatory policies.
Israel justifies its actions as self-defense. It is true that some Palestinians have followed
the way of armed resistance which Israel uses as a pretext to accuse all Palestinians of
being terrorist. However, as many have pointed out, if there was no occupation, there
would be no resistance.
Rachelle Marshall responds to Netanyahu’s saying, “pressure must be put upon the Palestinians” to bring them to a point of peace.
It’s hard to imagine what additional pressure could be imposed on the Palestinians as they watch their land disappearing under Israeli homes and golf courses, and their economy remain shackled by Israeli restrictions.[2]
And Kerry is talking about borders, movable borders.
Does he not know that Gaza has borders.  Yet, because of Israel’s air, sea and land blockade:
Hardships steadily increase for the nearly two million Gazans who are being deliberately kept cold and hungry by the blockade Israel imposed seven years ago… Gaza’s only remaining power plant was shut down in early November for lack of affordable fuel… Sewage stations unable to operate their electric pumps are overflowing, and in late November a neighborhood in Gaza was  flooded with 3.5 million cubic feet of raw sewage.[3]
With winter in full blast and no electricity for 12 hours a day, no fuel for heat and sewage flooding through your home, with settlers destroying your olive trees, it’s ludicrous to talk about Israeli security.
What needs to be put on the table is not a discussion of borders, but Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and resources and Israel’s humiliating treatment of the Palestinian people.   Until that is addressed, borders are irrelevant.
                                                Thomas Are
                                                January 19, 2014

[1] Rachelle Marshall, Kerry faces Down Israel and its Lobby to Achieve Agreement with Iran,  The Washington Report on Middle east Affairs. January 2014. p. 9.
[2] Ibid. p.9
[3] Ibid.  p.9.

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