Monday, June 15, 2009

Netanyahu backs an independent Palestinian state for first time.

The headline of this post is newsworthy, and that is exactly what Netanyahu hopes we will all remember. This is his response to Obama's pressure. So, for the very first time, he has called for a state of Palestine.

I am supposing that this fact alone is responsible for the Obama administration's positive response.

Washington said Netanyahu's speech was "an important step forward", because of the mention of a Palestinian state.
Because, apart from the fact that he mentioned a Palestinian state, there was nothing in the speech that pushed forward the notion of Middle East peace. The same old crap still surrounds that statement.

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, last night said for the first time he would accept an independent Palestinian state, but only on condition it was demilitarised and that the Palestinians recognised Israel as the state of the Jewish people.

In a key policy speech intended to address growing US pressure for a move towards peace in the Middle East, Netanyahu defended Israel's position and said he wanted to make peace, but despite his mention of a Palestinian state he offered few substantial concessions.

He praised the Jewish settlers who live in east Jerusalem and on the occupied West Bank and refused US calls for a halt to all settlement growth. He also said Palestinian refugees, who were forced out or fled from their homes during the 1948 war, would not be allowed to return to what is today Israel. Jerusalem, he said, must remain united under Israeli control.

"If we receive this guarantee regarding demilitarisation and Israel's security needs, and if the Palestinians recognise Israel as the state of the Jewish people, we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarised Palestinian state exists alongside the Jewish state," Netanyahu told an audience at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv.

His conditions were strict. He said the Palestinians could not form an army or control their own airspace, or sign military agreements with other states. He mentioned a Palestinian state only once and at other times talked only of areas under Palestinian control, saying the Palestinians could have their own "flag, anthem and administration".

So what is this "state" that Netanyahu is offering? First, the Palestinians must recognise Israel - Which Israel? Israel with the Golan Heights? The Sha'aba Farms? The West Bank and Gaza? How can one recognise a state which refuses to define her own borders? - but, more importantly, the Palestinians must recognise Israel as, "a Jewish state", meaning they must betray the 20% of Israelis who are Arab Israelis by implying that they are less Israeli than their Jewish fellow citizens.

And what kind of state does not control it's own air space? What kind of state is not allowed to enter into agreements with other states? Indeed, what kind of state has no army? And what kind of state would allow another state - within it's own borders - to have settlements that continue to grow to accommodate the "natural growth" of that other states communities, meaning that one day the host state will be eaten up by the settlers?

Netanyahu was much more honest when he said that, under his proposals, the Palestinians could have their own "flag, anthem and administration". Because that is, indeed, what he is actually offering; the appearance of a state without any of the power that being a state actually brings.

Mahmoud Abbas has, rightly, decried this speech as the piece of mischievous nonsense that it is.

Mr Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said: "Netanyahu's remarks have sabotaged all initiatives, paralysed all efforts being made and challenges the Palestinian, Arab and American positions," Reuters news agency reported.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the speech "closed the door to permanent status negotiations".

"We ask the world not to be fooled by his use of the term Palestinian state because he qualified it.

"He declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, said refugees would not be negotiated and that settlements would remain."

Mr Erekat added: "The peace process has been moving at the speed of a tortoise. Tonight, Netanyahu has flipped it over on its back."

In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri described the speech as "racist" and called on Arab nations to "form stronger opposition" towards Israel.

So, Obama can congratulate Netanyahu on taking "an important step forward" because he has, for the first time, said that there should be a state of Palestine; but he is kidding himself on if he believes the state that Netanyahu is proposing is anywhere near enough to bring an end to this dispute.

The Palestinians have the right under international law to a state, not to the appearance of a state, which is all that Netanyahu is offering.

Click title for full article.


nunya said...

Last update - 17:33 15/06/2009

Why is Dennis Ross being ousted as Obama envoy to Iran?
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent
Tags: Israel News, Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross, who most recently served as a special State Department envoy to Iran, will abruptly be relieved of his duties, sources in Washington told Haaretz. ...

...One possibility is Iran's persistent refusal to accept Ross as a U.S. emissary given the diplomat's Jewish background as well as his purported pro-Israel leanings...

Kel said...

I read the article, Nunya. Although, I am unsure reading it as to why exactly he is being moved. Lots of Obama people - Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel - have pro-Israeli leanings, so it makes no sense that Ross would be moved for this reason whilst so many others remain in place.