Monday, November 08, 2010

Noam Chomsky: The Betrayal of Gaza

November 8, 2010

The US is vocal about its commitment to peace in Israel and the Palestinian territories — but its actions suggest otherwise. 

Palestinian children play near a tent in Ezbet Abed Rabbo area, that was heavily destroyed during Israel's 22-day offensive on the Gaza Strip. (Photograph: Getty Images.)

That the Israel-Palestine conflict grinds on without resolution might appear to be rather strange. For many of the world's conflicts, it is difficult even to conjure up a feasible settlement. In this case, not only is it possible, but there is near-universal agreement on its basic contours: a two-state settlement along the internationally recognised (pre-June 1967) borders - with "minor and mutual modifications", to adopt official US terminology before Washington departed from the international community in the mid-1970s.

The basic principles have been accepted by virtually the entire world, including the Arab states (which call for the full normalisation of relations), the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (including Iran) and relevant non-state actors (including Hamas). A settlement along these lines was first proposed at the UN Security Council in January 1976 and backed by the major Arab states. Israel refused to attend. The United States vetoed the resolution, and did so again in 1980. The record at the General Assembly since is similar.

But there was one important and revealing break in US-Israeli rejectionism. After the failed Camp David agreements in 2000, President Clinton recognised that the terms he and Israel had proposed were unacceptable to any Palestinians. That December, he proposed his "parameters": imprecise but more forthcoming. He then stated that both sides had accepted the parameters, while expressing reservations.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met in Taba, Egypt, in January 2001 to resolve the differences and were making progress. At their final press conference, they reported that, with more time, they could probably have reached full agreement. Israel called off the negotiations prematurely, however, and official progress was then terminated, though informal discussions at a high level continued, leading to the Geneva Accord, rejected by Israel and ignored by the US. Much has happened since but a settlement along those lines is still not out of reach, if Washington is once again willing to accept it. Unfortunately, there is little sign of that.

The US and Israel have been acting in tandem to extend and deepen the occupation. Take the situation in Gaza. After its formal withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Israel never relinquished its total control over the territory, often described as "the world's largest prison".

Read the rest here.

2 comments:

Dade said...

So very true. And I don't know what to do about it. Neither party in the USA dare even suggest that our foreign policy be recalibrated to address the obviously pro-Israel bias.

Very discouraging.

But keep the faith, brother.

Ridwan said...

Thanks for the comment brother Dade.

I bet you are watching Obama in India pretty close.

I will "keep the faith".

Peace to you brother,
Ridwan