November 27, 2007

Everybody is going through the motions again as part of the ongoing charade known as the Middle East “peace process”, now in its latest incarnation at the Annapolis conference. At this stage, what it all boils down to is how to get the Palestinians, or rather their leadership, to accept their status as a conquered people, to do it officially and for the record, so that Tel Aviv can feel comfortable, if not fully vindicated. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Palestinians, both those living under occupation and those in refugee camps outside Palestine, are powerless and in no position to “negotiate” with the Middle East’s regional military superpower—most especially when one recognizes that this regional superpower has the world’s lone surviving “Superpower” in its pocket.

The circumstance of relegating itself to being a de facto client state of Tel Aviv means that Washington is incapable of coming to the aid of the underdog. At the behest of the Israel Lobby, Washington has been kicking this dog down the street and around the corner for decades. At the moment in Gaza, the White House is leading a campaign to starve the dog, in coordination with the EU, which is shamefully going along with it.

Bush Jr. and Dr. Condoleezza Rice thought they wanted “democracy” in the Middle East. What they got was Hamas, which won free elections in 2006, defeating a tired and corrupt Fatah. So now Washington is engaged in starving Hamas out. Meanwhile, G.W., Condi and the Frankenstein monster look-alike Ehud Olmert have latched onto the hapless Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. What a cast of characters in the final days. For good measure, throw in the unemployed Tony Blair as the “Representative” of the Middle East diplomatic “Quartet” which consists of the EU, UN, U.S. and Russia. We’re talking a farrago here, big time. Layers of diversion and impotence.

For Bush Jr., the Palestinian conflict is an afterthought. To be fair, Iraq, Afghanistan and the “war on terror” have sucked all the oxygen out of the Oval Office. How to make some breathing space to deal with the root cause of the wider conflict? Evidently, with the “legacy thing” a factor, the task has been tossed over to Condi. I’m sure she is going to get all the moral and material support she needs, behind the scenes, from Dick Cheney and Elliott Abrams, don’t you think? You can bet they are interested in democracy, especially in Palestine. Mentally snapping her fingers, Condi breathlessly proclaimed on October 16th during a confidence-building trip to Ramallah and Jerusalem, “Frankly it is time for the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

Can you imagine what such a state might look like at this point, after decades of military occupation, expropriation and bulldozing? Frankly, Dr. Rice, it would look more or less like what it is at the moment, a state of helotry and bantustans for the natives, with Gaza remaining as the largest open air prison in the world. Indeed, the time is now. And if it does not work out, then blame the victims, as always, for not coming “to terms with their condition”. The great Johns Hopkins “neocon” scholar, Dr. Fouad Ajami, has proclaimed that the Arabs “have left the Palestinians to the ruin of their own history.” How convenient. Perfect timing for G.W. and Condi. I’ll let Uri Avnery have the last word.


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