« Home | Bush rattles sabre at Iran. » | Prisons dangerously overcrowded, but lock 'em all ... » | Howard Zinn: My country is in the grip of a presid... » | Bakri banned from re-entering Britain. » | Israel gives soldier scapegoat 8 year sentence. » | Bearded extremist deports other bearded extremists... » | Something of the shite about him. » | Iraqi sandstorm delays constitution talks. » | French and Saudis knew of plans to attack UK. » | Robin Cook: 1946-2005 » 

Monday, August 15, 2005 

Israel begins pullout from the Gaza strip.

Israel is at long last beginning to withdraw from land it has occupied illegally since 1967, in violation of numerous UN resolutions. It's obviously not worth getting over-excited about the chances of further withdrawals, as over 150,000 settlers now live in the West Bank. The majority of those are highly religious fanatical Jews, who believe in the so-called Greater Israel spreading from Samaria to Judea.

The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, which has largely become a prison for its Palestinian occupants during the intifada, should be greatly welcomed. That it has been orchestrated by Ariel Sharon, one of the greatest proponents of settler communities and often called a war criminal, is all the more surprising. Critics on the left are wise to suspect that this may well be a ploy to keep huge parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It's worth remembering that President Bush himself declared that full withdrawal from lands occupied in 1967 was "unrealistic". Despite a call from the United States to stop any further building of settlements in the West Bank, itself a violation of both UN resolutions and of the "road-map" to peace, Sharon in 2004 gave the go-ahead for the building of 1,000 new homes. Also not to be forgotten is the security wall, which is surrounding Jewish settlements, cutting off some Palestinian farmers off from their land, and destroying the few remnants of economic activity which the Palestinians have left.

Although it may be scaremongering by the Israeli government, warnings have been constant about the possible threats to the lives of those carrying out and promoting the Gaza disengagement. Yitzak Rabin was assassinated by a extremist religious Jew after the Oslo peace accords. Similarly, the disengagement also faces resistance by some former cabinet ministers, including Binyamin Netanyahu, who has been wrangling with Sharon for the leadership of the Likud party for the past few years. Netanyahu is a symptom of the Israeli far-right: the misplaced belief that strong military power, occupation and assassinations will keep the Palestinians suppressed, while suicide bombings by Islamists will stop the international community from demanding Israel stops such actions. We have seen over the years of infitada what a disastrous policy that is. Such a policy also ignores the consequences of the far higher Arab birth-rate within Israel and the occupied territories, leading to Arabs becoming the majority by as soon as 2025.

Despite all this, the disengagement is one of the first positive moves towards peace that Israel has made in the last few years. Now that Yasser Arafat is gone, the Israeli excuse for not having a partner to deal with has also disappeared. No longer should Israel be allowed to not discuss the status of the West Bank with the excuse that armed groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad stop the "terror" and disarm. The peace processes in Northern Ireland and Aceh in Indonesia did not start with the armed organisations instantly melting down their weapons. Neither should this be the case in Israel. A Palestinian state, living in harmony alongside Israel would be one of the greatest chances for the establishment of peace and the end of other theocracies and dictatorships throughout the Middle East. It would rid religious extremists of an excuse for terrorism all across the world, not just in Israel. It's uncertain whether Ariel Sharon can deliver peace. What is certain is that he will not unless he is fully pressured by the United States. If President Bush truly believes in bringing democracy and peace to the Middle East, he should start by making Sharon negotiate a viable Palestinian state on the borders of occupied 1967 land now. Anything less will, and should be rejected.

(Thanks to the Guardian for the map at the top of this piece. Click to enlarge it.)

Share |

Enjoyed a lot!
» »

Cool guestbook, interesting information... Keep it UP
Tenuate next day delivery propecia Propecia laser comb hairlosstreatments biz

Post a Comment

Links to this post

Create a Link


  • This is septicisle


Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates