A masterful speech by Sydney Morning Herald journalist Paul McGeough at last weekend’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney. He covers the non-existent Middle East “peace process”, Zionist paranoid and bullying, media coverage and the colonial project known as Israel. Such honesty is rare in the MSM. Savour it:
Since 1948, a constant in Israeli-Palestinian relations has been Israel’s coveting of Palestinian land – remember David Ben Gurion’s admonition to comrades that they not draw boundaries to their new state lest they deny themselves an opportunity to push eastward towards the Jordan River.
Take a helicopter-view of history and the bludgeon of reality emerges. It is this – it does not matter which party or coalition of parties is in power in Israel; whether the Israeli military, settlers or peace movement is ascendant; whether Democrats or Republicans are in the White House; whether Fatah rules in the Occupied Territories or has been routed by Hamas; it makes no difference whether there is a cold peace or a hot war; an intifada or a Oslo-induced new spring; it does not matter whether Areas A is the square root of Areas B and C; or whether the Arab world is spoiling for war or suing for peace. The outcome always is the same – while it goes through the motions of talking about returning the Occupied Territories, Israel takes more and more Palestinian land and the rest of the world pretty well looks the other way.
How can any Palestinian believe in a two-state solution when one of those potential states is shrunk, square metre by square metre? As Josh Ruebner, a Jew who heads the US Campaign to End the Occupation wrote in USA Today of the renewed talks: “Palestinians paradoxically will be expected to negotiate statehood with Israel while Israel – with the full support of the United States in the form of $US3 billion per year in military aid – continues to gobble up the territory designated for a Palestinian state.”
If Hamas is such a fundamentalist threat to Israel, the region and the world, then an imperative at any point in the last decade would have been an honorable deal with Fatah, a settlement that would allow Palestinians to see the successors of Yasser Arafat as leaders worthy of their respect and loyalty. As it is, these latest talks are set to fail, further diminishing Abbas and Fatah in the eyes or Palestinians and thereby creating new political and emotional space in which Hamas will say, “We told you so.”
Outsiders can see it all – Israelis have difficulty.