Monday, June 15, 2009

"Assessing the Role of US Foreign Policy, Israeli Security, & Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories"part8&9

Transcribed by Scott Senn

"Assessing the Role of US Foreign Policy, Israeli Security, & Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories"part8

Part 8

You know, suppose you're sitting on Mars, and you're watching this. The US is telling Iran to give up arms and terror?! I mean, does Iran have 800 military bases around the world? You know? Does Iran produce half of the world's armaments? I mean, is Iran the country that blocks Security Council Resolutions to regulate arms trade? Is Iran the country that has to abandon aggression? The US in fact has invaded and occupies two countries right next door to Iran. Does Iran occupy Canada and Mexico? When was the last time Iran committed aggression? You know? But this passes without comment. It tells us a lot about ourselves – ourselves, you know, people like us. We sit there and watch this and don't collapse in ridicule. In fact, it's applauded: "Obama is so much more forth-coming than Bush! Isn't that wonderful!" Well, that's the kind of thing that happens constantly.

What are the prospects actually for the Palestinians at this point? There's basically two. One is that the United States will join the world; it'll accept the international consensus. If it agrees to a two-state settlement, stops supporting Israel's violation of international law in the Occupied Territories, Israel will go along. They basically have no choice. Once they decided to abandon security in favor of expansion, they have to do what the US says. So they would withdraw. It's sometimes claimed that they couldn't, because it would lead to a civil war. That's not true, however. I mean it's partly true: like, if the Israeli army tried to eliminate the settlers by force, it would probably lead to a civil war, because of the religious, nationalist elements in the officer corps and so on. But there's absolutely no need for the Israeli army to withdraw any settlers. It would be sufficient for the government of Israel to announce that on such and such a day the army returns to Israel, and then provide, you know, trucks and buses, and the settlers who have been subsidized to live illegally in the Occupied Territories would climb quietly into the buses and go quietly back into Israel where they would be subsidized there. Maybe a few would remain: you know, a couple of religious Jews from Brooklyn maybe would decide to hang onto to pieces of rock Okay, they can do that. [If] they want to live under Palestinian authority, [it's] their choice; they don't have to be removed. In fact, the disengagement from Gaza [2005] could have been handled exactly the same way. There was what was called a "national trauma": you know, they sent in the army, and they had to take the settlers out screaming; big pictures on the front pages of little boys pleading, "Don't take us away from our homes!"; cries of "Never again!", you know, "Auschwitz!" and so on. This was all staged, totally staged. I mean, it was staged so transparently that commentators from the Israeli press were just ridiculing it, because it was totally unnecessary. They didn't have to remove a single settler. All they had to do was announce that on August 1st the IDF – the army – will leave Gaza, and the settlers would have left, you know, period. But then you wouldn't have had a "national trauma", and you wouldn't have had a justification for increasing settlement in the West Bank (which was the whole point of the disengagement), and you wouldn't have the cries of "Never again!" and so on. And what made this even more ridiculous was that it was a repetition of a staged "national trauma" in 1982. In 1982, after Israel and the United States finally accepted Sadat's 1971 offer, Israel had to evacuate settlements of northeastern Sinai. So there was a staged trauma, in which miraculously not a single settler was injured. In fact, the Israeli press – maybe Rita [Giacaman] will remember – had headlines saying, "National Trauma 1982", and making fun of it. Okay, it was just a repeat in 2005. And if they want to leave the West Bank, it'll be the same thing. So no civil war, no national trauma. Just pull out, and the settlers will follow you, if you help them by sending lorries, okay, they'll get into the lorries.

That's one possibility. The other possibility is "convergence" or " convergence plus": that is, the US and Israel pursue the policies that they are now developing right in front of our eyes – they're not secret; they go every day – just carrying forward. Sometimes it's claimed that that'll lead to an apartheid state. That's just not true. Israel will take what it wants. The Palestinians – those who remain – will be left somewhere in isolated cantons. In fact, the Israeli tourist bureau may even subsidize them, because it's "picturesque": if Israelis and American tourists drive past on the superhighways they're building, it'll be nice for the Israeli tourist guide to point to a Palestinian leading a goat up on the hills as kind of a Biblical scene; you know, it kind of looks nice. So they may even subsidize them. And the rest will rot, like Dayan said, you know: "live like dogs; if you want to leave, leave." No apartheid, no civil rights struggle, you know, nothing. Just take what you want, and let the others rot. That's the alternative.

And it gets worse. There was an ultra-right position in Israel advanced by Avigdor Lieberman who's now the Foreign Minister. When he announced this, this was described as "neo-Nazi". The idea was to take parts of Israel that had that heavy Palestinian population – there's one particular area (Wadi Ara) which is in Galilee right up near the Green Line – take that area, force the population into Jordan or into a Palestinian state in fact, force them into a derisory third-world barely-existing Palestinian state, and then take over the parts of the West Bank that we want, which would solve the "demographic problem" (the problem of "too many non-Jews in a Jewish state"). Well, of course the population is strongly opposed to it. You can read articles in the Washington Post by the Israeli correspondent describing it. You know, they don't want to lose their citizenship in the country where they live, a rich first-world country, and be kind of tossed into a barely surviving third-world country. But they don't matter. You know, we do what we want. It doesn't matter what the people want. Now when Lieberman proposed that, it was literally denounced as "neo-Nazi". Now it's mainstream. It was accepted by Kadima. Tzipi Livni, who's the official dove, thought it was a good idea. Kissinger thought it was a great idea; he said the only people who oppose this are those who want anarchy and so on. The New York Times thinks it's a great idea. The New York Times correspondent in Israel Ethan Bronner ["In Israeli Vote, With Two Parties Nearly Tied, the Winner Is Gridlock", 12 Feb 2009] wrote a couple of weeks ago that Lieberman's proposal appeals to the left: the left "likes" it because he's calling for "yielding areas that are now part of Israel" in a land swap. "Yielding areas." He didn't bother to tell us how they're "yielding areas". They're going to "yield areas" where the population wants to stay where they are and have the limited rights they now have in a rich country.

Part 9

But Israel is going to humanely "yield" them, over the bitter opposition of the population. Well, you know, right now that's mainstream policy. And if they move towards some ridiculous form of "two-state" settlement, that'll probably be included.

Well, you know, none of this is graven in stone. I mean, Americans don't have to accept.the deluge of lies and deceit and support for terror and violence that's constant. They don't have to watch silently as our government implements a very rare event in history: namely, the systematic murder of a nation at our hands. And it is at our hands.

(continuing to Q&A)

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