No Peace in Palestine
by Charley Reese
There will be no peace in Palestine. Don’t be fooled by statements of politicians and by the press’s careful avoidance of reporting the real facts of the situation.
The bulk of the Jewish settlements – around 200,000 people – are in the West Bank. The Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has made it plain that he has no intention of: (1) removing these settlements; (2) returning East Jerusalem to Palestinian control; or (3) acknowledging the right of return or compensation of the Palestinian refugees. These are the three things that killed the last peace plan. It doesn’t matter who the Palestinian leader is – no Palestinian can surrender on those three points..
Sharon’s plan to “withdraw” from the Gaza Strip is just a ploy to postpone any serious peace negotiations. The small Jewish settlements in Gaza are just a pain to the Israelis. Not only do they have to be constantly guarded by the army, but the roads to them have to be guarded. Even if they are completely dismantled, Gaza will just become one giant concentration camp for Palestinians
It is already among the most densely populated regions on Earth, and thanks to Israeli actions, unemployment is at 60 percent or more. Israel will surround it on three sides and control the coast. Sharon plans to continue to occupy the area between Gaza and Egypt.
This problem, like so many in the world, originated with British colonialism. You see, there was a Palestine (though not a modern nation-state) and a Palestinian Arab population long before the British got the kooky idea of re-establishing a Jewish state, which had not existed for nearly 2,000 years. Not only did this break the promise the British had made to the Arabs that they would be independent after the defeat of the Turks in World War I, but it created a conflict that has lasted nearly 100 years and will probably go on for another century.
In 1948, the state of Israel was established, and it created more than 500,000 Palestinian refugees in the process. Their lands and assets were eventually confiscated. In 1967, Israel’s blitzkrieg war took the rest of Palestine, including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The United Nations Security Council ordered Israel to return these lands, but it has refused, and the United States has prevented any enforcement of any U.N. resolution directed at Israel. Under the Geneva Convention, Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are illegal, but Israel, with U.S. backing, has ignored that, too.
The sticky wicket for Americans is this: When Osama bin Laden decided to declare war on the United States, he shrewdly chose the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as one of his main reasons. He did this not because he gives a hoot about the Palestinians – he doesn’t. He did it because he knew the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the one issue on which the entire Arab world agrees. The United States, by completely siding with the Israelis, has made itself the enemy of most of the Arab population.
Until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved, those who hate us will have no trouble at all recruiting new terrorists. But that conflict will not be resolved until the United States finds the courage to pressure the Israelis to get out of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The main job of the powerful Israeli lobby is to make sure that never happens.
The Palestinians are powerless. There are no concessions they can make. Only the United States can force the Israelis to make concessions so that a Palestinian state can be established. The United States refuses to do so. Hence, the never-ending war will go on and on and on.
Eventually, Israel will be destroyed by the Arab birthrate. In the meantime, thousands on all sides will die because of the cowardice of American politicians.