Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Root Cause of the Israel-Palestine conflict and how to fix it

Peter Cohen is a retired sociologist from the University of Amsterdam and a Jewish-Dutch World War II survivor. He is critical of Israel and considers it a colonist enterprise. In his latest article posted in the Huffington Post, Cohen says:

"The 1917 Balfour Declaration is regarded as one of these justifications [for establishment of Israel]. However, no one maintains that the then government of Great Britain had any authority to assign the land of Palestine to anyone other than the people who were living there. Similarly, although the United Nations assigned a portion of Palestine to the immigrants in the so-called Partition of Palestine in 1947, its own Charter stated that it had no right to do so without obtaining the consent of the mandate territory's population.3
Given their poor economic and political development, the local inhabitants of the British mandate territory were unable to prevent the Zionist immigration, although the British could see that this immigration was highly detrimental to the local population's interests. ...

What happened in Palestine, of course, was classical Western colonialism that can sustain itself only by dint of its superior military or economic resources and by enforced occupation.
However you look at it, the immigrants who went to Palestine from about 1890 onwards, or after the completely unlawful "partitioning" by the UN in 1947, are just that: immigrants. They descended on a mandate territory against the express wishes of the population and against the rules of international law as set down in the UN Charter. The population of Palestine and their leaders tried to put up some sort of resistance, with the primitive means at their disposal, but were defeated by the immigrants' superior financial and military organization, derived from the West.7
This superior strength does not create legitimacy, however. All colonialism was achieved by virtue of vastly superior military and economic strength compared to those who were colonized. Not until colonies armed and organized themselves were they able to throw off the occupying forces. Examples include Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and Algeria. Where no such liberation was achieved, in Palestine, South America, Australia, and the United States, the indigenous people live in dire conditions. ..

It is time to call a spade a spade: Israel, as a colony, is a constant source of violence and conflict. It is not an ex-colony, nor is it an accepted part of the world for many. It is a territory in the Middle East under Western occupation, which possesses no political legitimacy now, nor can it ever acquire such legitimacy in the future because it has no raison d'ĂȘtre and cannot create one.
Instead, Israel's policy has always been to create faits accomplis, conquests that have been consolidated with the aid of its constituent Western states in Europe and North America. To date, this policy has never been effectively challenged, and so it continues in the same vein. Israel can carry on creating more and more faits accomplis, perpetuating its status as an ever-expanding occupation with vastly superior military strength. But if it loses the West's support, it will no longer have the means to defend itself, having nothing that could preserve its existence, nor the raw materials to sustain itself. It could use atomic weapons, but this does not in any sense bolster the legitimacy of the Western implant.8...

Almost all critics of Israel's policies allow themselves to get hopelessly bogged down in a debate about the best status to aim for in the development of the conflict. For Israel, this debate is valuable as a perpetual vaudeville show, a show of trained animals performed far away but of enormous relevance in propaganda terms.9
A great many of these trained animals defend the most desirable scenario, in which Israel makes "peace" with the Palestinians, who will have "their own State." This would of course require the Palestinians to accept the lawfulness of their expulsion. In this fantasy future, the Zionists and the Palestinians will live separate lives, each inhabiting their own piece of Palestine. Israel has sustained this fantasy ever since its earliest beginnings. The only problem is that there has at no time been a leader, or the right moment, or sufficiently resigned acceptance of the fait accompli, to offer or achieve that peace. In a situation where the Zionists set all the rules of the game, no such "peace" can ever be achieved.
Instead, the colonization process has continued to expand since 1948, and Israel's laws make it clear that the Palestinians are not only militarily incapacitated but have also been stripped of all their legal rights. Palestinian opposition to Israel's policy of "ever-expanding occupation" is exploited to serve as further justification for prolonging this policy. In the tiny, unlivable and socio-economically devastated part of Palestine that now remains, people are enclosed in a territory under despotic and often lethal military administration, hemmed in by walls, fortified settlements, and road blocks. It astonishes me that many people continue to believe, in spite of all this, that the Zionists will "make peace" with the original inhabitants. Under the banner of this utopian pipe dream, all Israel had to do, to become what it is today, was to endlessly postpone this phantom "peace." Israel has become so large and powerful that people now dare to say out loud what used to be clear only to its strongest critics: the colonists seek to rid the whole of Palestine of Palestinians, thereby fulfilling the ideological -- and racist -- essence of Zionism.10,11
The so-called "one -state solution" is also based on a utopian vision, in which the impoverished Palestinians will acquire, by some miraculous means, the same rights as the colonists. How anyone can believe in the one-state solution is incomprehensible to me. No colonial power has ever relinquished its domination without a massive struggle. Could such a struggle succeed in Palestine? Could the Palestinians ever acquire enough people, weapons and allies to make this a realistic possibility? Of course not. The one-state solution is a deluded fantasy.
The same applies to the "two-state solution." As long as the Zionists are left in charge they will never share the country; it was given to them and to them alone, by God and the atom bomb. They have used the past sixty years to make this crystal-clear. This leaves only one realistic solution: the complete dissolution of the colony, and the ending of the expulsions and land dispossession that was initiated in 1948. The only way to achieve this is by offering incentives for current and later generations of Zionists to resettle elsewhere, while removing the Western foundations of that colonization: the military, ideological, and economic support that sustains it.
This vantage point has the effect of redefining criticism of Israel: instead of criticism aimed at Israeli policies, it becomes primarily criticism of the inhumane policy pursued by the West. An "improved" Israel is a contradiction in terms. We must have the courage to finally end the Second World War, and to dismantle Israel in a sensible way."

You can read his entire article by clicking here.

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