August 15, 2007
Gstaad – Here, at last, is the Taki plan to save George W. Bush’s presidency from the disaster it has been turned into by his neocon advisers. Yes, the Iraq war is a failure, but pulling out now will turn it into a geopolitical catastrophe of incalculable consequences. What W needs is a great big fat win which will overshadow Iraq, hog the headlines, and catapult him in the polls. The operative word is Palestine. Let’s take it from the top:
His latest call for an international conference, one that is supposed to give birth to a contiguous Palestinian state, is a good start. The trouble is Israel. Throughout the last forty years, countless speeches, initiatives and UN resolutions, Israel has continued building illegal settlements in order that future efforts toward peace will collide with harder realities on the ground. Hence Palestinians no longer believe a word either Arab, Israeli or American politicians say. One example of this is Gaza. The West insisted on free elections, but once the results were in, the winners were pronounced terrorists, the borders were closed, and funds were refused. Western reaction to this free election has done more to harm Palestinian trust of the West than even the Iraq war.
Worse, it has played into the hands of extremists. “They talk about freedom and democracy as long as it suits them,” goes the saying in the camps and on the Arab street. Radical Islamists always time their attacks to occur just before major events, such as Israeli redeployments. Equally, Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an Israeli extremist, putting an end to the Oslo process. What George Bush has to do is read the riot act to Israel’s right wing, force the only democracy in the Middle East to revert to its 1967 borders, swap lands equal in size and quality to ensure territorial contiguity for both Israelis and Palestinians, and then, finally, ignore the provocations and terrorist acts by both sides until a viable independent Palestinian state is born. Most important of all is for Bush to use the stick where settlement activity is concerned.
Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? But just imagine if Bush forces the Israeli hand and ignores warmongers like the two fat Kagan brothers and the clown Podhoretz, whose latest initiative is for us to Dresdenise Iran. (His even more repulsive son has just written a beauty, about how right we were to incinerate Germans in Dresden at the closing days of the war.) Just think if Bush manages to bring peace to the Holy Land what it will do for his reputation, now lower than even that of my hero Richard Nixon. The Arab world would have to shut up for once. Ronald Reagan tried and failed, Bush senior promised to stop the settlements and lost to Bill Clinton for his efforts, and Bubba went for the Nobel Prize, shook a lot of hands and made a lot of promises but came up with zilch.
The good news is that in Israel proper there are serious, respected people who have had enough of having their chain pulled by mostly American-born extremist settlers. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, is a zinger. Using mostly Israeli official sources, he methodically traces the entire period when pre-state Zionist leaders planned to forcibly expel the locals in order to create the Jewish state. Pappe’s figures don’t lie. Over 90 percent of the land was Palestinian in the early 20th century, and by 1948 the Jewish minority owned only 5.8 percent of the land. The ethnic cleansing came under the name of Plan Dalet, and it included files on every Arab village and its inhabitants which would allow Jewish militias to attack them and drive them off their lands.
The result was that 800,000 Palestinians became refugees. We in the West pride ourselves for fairness and compassion. As do the Jewish people everywhere. Where’s the fairness here after all these years? As reported in The New Yorker, Avraham Burg, a former speaker of the Knesset, leader of the World Zionist Organisation and the Jewish Agency for Israel, calls present-day Israel a “Holocaust-obsessed, militaristic, xenophobic, and, like Germany in the 1930’s, vulnerable to an extremist minority.” Even more important, he writes that “Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centres of Israeli escapism.”
Imagine if anyone said something like this on the Senate floor in D.C. He or she would be out of a job quicker than you can say Bill Kristol, with that grotesque careerist personally leading the charge. In order for the Taki plan (just kidding, of course) to work, Bush has to forget that AIPAC exists—all it does is subordinate American policy to Israeli interests and by so doing radicalises public opinion in the Arab world—get rid of the creeps who have manipulated him for so long, read the riot act to the Saudis (who have never stopped financing terror) force the Israelis to dismantle the settlements, force through bribes the Palestinians to sit down and sign, and presto—Taki receives the Nobel Prize, Bush is declared the greatest president since Lincoln, and the Podhoretzes, Kristols, Frums and Kagans of this world are assigned federal jobs in the Florida swamps guarding alligators against rampaging Eskimos. Mind you, I will not be holding my breath for Stockholm to ring with the good news.