- Having sent up numerous trial balloons over the past
several weeks, Israel now will work on shutting down the Gaza Strip. Having
kept it virtually sealed off from the outside world ever since Hamas beat
Fatah for control of it, Israel now plans to use creeping electric power
outages to make life in that open-air prison totally intolerable. Since
no major power appears to have objected loudly enough to the trial balloons,
Israel seems confident it can shut Gaza down without significant political
- Gaza, indeed Palestine as a whole, now poses a unique
case of global insensitivity, and we should ask why. Is it because everybody
else considers the Palestinian people less than human? Is it because the
Israelis still keep control of the moral high ground after six decades
of unremitting ethnic cleansing? Is it because the killing and displacement
of Palestinians has become so common a feature of the Middle East human
scene that nobody cares? Is it because objections to the usually pointless
lobbing of mortar shells across the Israeli boundary are so mind numbing
that people stop looking at or listening to what is actually happening
to the Palestinian people?
- No. All of those probably figure in some degree in the
mindless global reactions to the human tragedy that is Palestine, but the
hammer is fear of the charge of anti-Semitism. In addition, the hammer
most artfully pairs with the universal negative: "Terrorism."
It simply does not matter what the Palestinians try to do in their own
defense, so long as the Israelis and international media can lump any actions
to fight back under the label "terrorism." Thus, the Israelis
can surround Gaza with troops, barbed wire, checkpoints and a neighbor
such as Egypt that, if anything, helps the Israelis; Israel's Defense Force
can bomb and strafe Gaza targets indiscriminately; and because Gaza happens
to be under the elected political leadership of a US-designated terrorist
group, the outside world considers those actions all right.
- The Zionists built the propaganda war around Palestine
and promoted it through mainstream media, particularly American. The Zionists
always have won it, no matter how repressively they deal with the Palestinians.
Thus, humanity at large appears to have bought into the systematic theft
of the Palestinian homeland by Zionists. It is therefore not surprising
that, particularly in the Western view, even though the Israelis have taken
all of Palestine up the 1967 truce-line by force, the Palestinians simply
should recognize Israel's right to the land and move on. People would treat
no other scrap of land on the planet with such casual disregard for ownership.
- Perhaps stranger still is the way Gaza plays in the run-up
to pending Annapolis talks on a Middle East peace. It simply does not.
The US host, Israel, and at least Fatah leader Abbas seem content with
excluding a third of the Palestinian people from any role in the talks.
That includes ignoring the Hamas supporters in the West Bank. However,
the exclusion is more important than that. The US and Israeli players
exclude Hamas and its supporters, in Gaza as well as the West Bank, because
they stand for the only settlement that the Palestinian people-given any
- That choice-all of the West Bank and Gaza, with a capital
in Jerusalem and a communications corridor-entails a colossal concession
by the Palestinians: Acceptance, in perpetuity, of Israeli theft of their
homeland. However, the way the Israelis and US promoters play the upcoming
negotiations, the Palestinians have further major concessions to make,
not least being acceptance of land trades to permit intrusive Israeli settlements
in the West Bank, as well as concessions on the right of return and compensation
for confiscated or destroyed property. Beyond that point, the Palestinians
face hard trading on access to water, because at present they now get about
10% of the water per person that Israelis enjoy.
- Because of such complications, most Middle East hands
see dim prospects for the Annapolis talks. To be fair, Mahmoud Abbas seems
fully aware of his inability to concede any of the main Palestinian demands.
However, the Israeli delegation will insist on making no immediate concessions.
Not only will the talks proceed without a full Palestinian delegation,
it is simply unlikely that the Israelis will permit any substance to emerge
from them. If that is the outcome, the gates will remain open to the steady
Israeli encroachment on remaining Palestinian land until all of Palestine
is absorbed into Israel.
- The hang-up is that the Zionists can achieve the outcome
they have so persistently sought only by driving the Palestinians out.
Right now, because they simply refuse to give up, the Palestinians play
into Zionist hands. Outsiders seem incapable of recognizing that, in similar
circumstances, they would fight the Zionists tooth and nail. Thus, even
if the Zionists have to lob the mortar shells over the fence into Israeli
territory themselves, they will proceed to dismantle the remainder of Palestine
without interference. Peace talks, such as they might be, will have value
only as means to divert public attention from the final rounds of ethnic
- The writer is the author of the recently published work,
A World Less Safe, now available on Amazon, and he is a regular columnist
on rense.com. He is a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer of the US
Department of State whose immediate pre-retirement positions were as Chairman
of the Department of International Studies of the National War College
and as Deputy Director of the State Office of Counter Terrorism and Emergency
Planning. He will welcome comment at