Middle East Conflict
April 29, 2008
2008-04-20 21:36:32 **opinion**
Ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter has caused quite a stir, in the press and in the U.S. and Israeli governments, when he met with Hamas leaders in Cairo, as part of his Middle East visit; his personal mission of peace.
Okay, well done for brokering the peace deal between Egypt and Israel, but you had some clout back then and Egypt actually posed a threat to Israel. Now you have no clout, and Hamas poses as much threat to Israel’s existence as a grasshopper does to a Lion’s; no threat at all.
Obama disappointed me today, by criticising Carter for meeting with a terrorist group, repeating the necessary pro-Israeli line that any Presidential hopeful must follow. As I have written before I believe Obama’s statements show a hidden pro-Palestinian stance, but to have any chance of getting elected he must play the game of I’m more pro-Israeli than you are.
I just hope that, should Obama get elected he uses his one chance in life to make a real difference in the world to do the right thing in the Israel-Palestine conflict, and by the right thing I mean: make sure the Palestinians get a state on at least what they had before the 1967 war.
I agree with everything that has been written about Carter’s statements during his trip: yes, any deliberate killing of civilians is an act of terrorism, and yes, any peace negotiations must include Hamas, and yes, any peace negotiations must run alongside Israel stopping the building of its settlements, and pulling all Israeli citizens back behind the 1967 border, and resolving the issue of Palestinian refugees. But it’s just not going to happen.
There is nothing in it for Israel. Israel is losing nothing from the status quo, in fact it is substantially gaining. Israel at war is the single biggest recipient of U.S. military aid, Israel at war can build a great big wall to defend its citizens, which incidentally runs meters into what should be Palestinian territory after a peace deal, i.e. well outside the 1967 border, Israel at war can starve an entire population and force them to live, not only in abject poverty but surrounded, at times and in places, by their own waste.
But it is not just the fact that Israel can do whatever it wants and call it self defence, it is the reason behind Israel’s free reign; the biggest problem: the ongoing, unwavering and unquestioning support of Israel by successive U.S. administrations, especially the current Bush administration, and the fact that reliance on the substantial Jewish vote prevents any President or hopeful speaking or acting against Israel in any way.
Why shouldn’t Israel take this opportunity, while they have an avid supporter in the White House to steal yet more Palestinian land by building settlements, why shouldn’t Israel demolish Palestinian homes and continue unabated the Judaization of Jerusalem — who’s going to stop them.
For Israel, international support for shunning Hamas is like a get out of jail free card; if they are forced by Bush and Rice to reach an agreement with moderate Abbas, or at least to ramp up the efforts thereof, they know that Hamas will literally blow it out of the water.
In fact Palestinian mistrust of Abbas may assist Hamas in that aim. Whereas Israel being forced to include Hamas in talks, any resulting peace deal would almost certainly have wide support in the Palestinian population — hence Israel will avoid it at all cost.