After Bush in January called for an end to Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian lands, the creation of a Palestinian state, and again predicted success within year, his words have yet to have any impact on the Israel government. And about this plan, Bush was also specific:
RAMALLAH, West Bank January 10, 2008
“There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967. The agreement must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people. These negotiations must ensure that Israel has secure, recognized, and defensible borders. And they must ensure that the state of Palestine is viable, contiguous, sovereign, and independent.”
The problem is that Israel apparently has other designs, and has already created obstacles to deflect the Bush Road Map, like the “security” meme, and fears about Hamas and Hezbollah, allegedly terrorist organizations that developed to fight Israel’s military occupations in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories in the first place.
But deflecting or avoiding peace negotiations in order to continue to confiscate Palestinian lands in the West Bank (and formerly Gaza) is nothing new. Jeff Halper, founder of the peace group Israel Committee Against House Demolitions, reviewed the history prior to 2000 and found avoidance a consistent reaction to peace efforts (The Problem with Israel and When the Roadmap is a One Way Street). From 2000 on, after the Camp David/Taba negotiations faltered when Israel was incapable of removing any of its West Bank settlements (giving rise to the Clinton-Ross myth of the “generous offer”), Israel was offered full regional acceptance in return for a Palestinian state by the Arab League twice (2002, 2006) and even by Iran (2003 via intermediary). The previous Oslo and contemporary Geneva Accords also went nowhere in convincing Israel to take the two state solution.
Yesterday, it was reported by the Associated Press that the Bush administration backs Egyptian diplomacy in Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Out of apparent frustration going through Israel, Bush has decided to use Egypt as a intermediary to talk with Hamas.
March. 6, 2008
BRUSSELS, Belgium – To defuse the threat from Gaza militants to Israel and President Bush’s Mideast peace program, the U.S. has decided that the ends justify the means.
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is considered a terrorist group by Washington. U.S. law forbids official contacts. Nonetheless, the Bush administration is giving quiet support for Egypt’s attempt to broker a deal with Hamas for a truce in Gaza.
Under this approach, which U.S. officials and Mideast diplomats confirmed, Hamas would halt rocket attacks from Gaza. Israel would agree not to launch the kind of military incursions that nearly wrecked the U.S.-sponsored peace talks last weekend and would ease its blockade of Gaza.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, after NATO meetings in Brussels, was asked about Egyptian-brokered truce talks. “I talked with the Egyptians and we fully expect the Egyptians to carry out the efforts that they said they would carry out to try to bring calm to the region, to try to improve the situation in Gaza,” she said.
The U.S. dislikes the terms truce or cease-fire because they lend political legitimacy to Hamas. Rice talks in public only about the need for calm. But during stops in Israel and the West Bank this week, she did acknowledge Hamas’ influence, saying the group has the power to halt rocket attacks and is trying to stop the peace process.
The U.S. had resisted Arab proposals for accommodation with Hamas in the past, insisting it does not pay to talk to terrorists. Israel also fears that radicals would use the lull of a cease-fire to rearm.
The bullshit in these statements is incredible. Hamas has offered Israel a “ceasefire” several times, but the Israeli government has refused on grounds that Hamas is a terrorist group and that it will not recognize Israel, and at various times, because Hamas will just rearm. But after reading Halper, the truth is rather that Israel is reluctant to give up the red herring that hides its designs on the West Bank and needs Hamas for this purpose.
Here are just a few of the headlines in the past few years about Hamas’ willingness to broker a cease fire if Israel would desist from deadly incursions into Gaza and the West Bank to assassinate Palestinian militants, who are fighting against Israel’s incessant military occupation and colonization of lands, which goes on today.
Sep 21, 2007
Israel rejects Gaza cease-fire offer
By JPOST.COM STAFF
Dec 23, 2007
Ehud Olmert rejects Hamas’ offer of cease-fire in Gaza Strip
By Haaretz Correspondents
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday rejected Hamas’ offer of a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, saying the government would not hold talks with the Islamist group until it recognizes Israel.
June 15, 2006
The Hamas-led Palestinian government is willing to urge militants to renew a ceasefire if Israel halts its attacks on Gaza, a spokesman has said.
April 7, 2006
Hamas Offers Israel Cease-Fire Bid, Report Says
By Associated Press
JERUSALEM — The Islamic militant group Hamas has offered Israel a proposal for a broad, extended cease-fire in exchange for guarantees that the Israeli army won’t attack militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.
The Haaretz daily said the new Hamas-led government would pledge not to carry out attacks against Israel and would prevent other Palestinian groups from doing so.
March 04, 2006
Hamas ready to extend cease-fire
By Daily Star (Beirut) staff
March 07, 2008
Hamas offers Gaza ceasefire
By Patrick Seale, Gulf News
Palestinian group Hamas has offered Israel a truce through former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, sources told Gulf News.
December 19, 2007
Under pressure, Hamas offers Israel truce talks
By By Dan Murphy, Christian Science Monitor
The Hamas leaders’ proposal, coming after an Israeli attack killed 12 militants in Gaza Tuesday, was met with skepticism on both sides.
November 01 2006
Hamas touts 10-year ceasefire to break deadlock over Israel
By Guardian (Britain) staff
Hamas is urging Britain to back its proposal for a ceasefire of up to 10 years as a way of breaking the impasse over its refusal to recognise the state of Israel. The most senior delegation from the Hamas government to visit Britain is in London this week to promote its offer to allow a period of “co-existence” with Israel as a way to move to an eventual settlement of the Middle East conflict.
So who is responsible for the continuing rocketing of Sderot, which are obviously in retaliation for targeted killings of Palestinian militants, attacks often carried out by American F-16s that kill bystanders and even entire families, including children? Israel refuses to stop them.
The games people play. And the US and the press play along.
UPDATE: This morning Uri Avnery sent out his latest article about Olmert’s games.
Kill A Hundred Turks And Rest…
I WAS reminded this week of the old tale about a Jewish mother taking leave of her son, who has been called up to serve in the Czar’s army against the Turks.
“Don’t exert yourself too much,” she admonishes him, “Kill a Turk and rest. Kill another Turk and rest again…”
“But mother,” he exclaims, “What if the Turk kills me?”
“Kill you?” she cries out, “Why? What have you done to him?”
This is not a joke (and this is not a week for jokes). It is a lesson in psychology. I was reminded of it when I read Ehud Olmert’s statement that more than anything else he was furious about the outburst of joy in Gaza after the attack in Jerusalem, in which eight yeshiva students were killed.
Before that, last weekend, the Israeli army killed 120 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, half of them civilians, among them dozens of children. That was not “kill a Turk and rest”. That was “kill a hundred Turks and rest”. But Olmert does not understand.