Bibi did not fool the Palestinians A REALITY UPDATE
by MainStreet, Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 04:23:38 PM EDT
Just as George Mitchell called Netanyahu's yet to be given speech 'inadequate' a few days ago, he also did not fool the Palestinians after the fact. The Road Map is out; Apartheid is in. And if allowed to, the peace merry-go-round will presumably continue.
Here are some Palestinian views of the speech, first, from Al Jeezera:
Netanyahu called for "immediate negotiations for peace without prior arrangements" from the Palestinians and said he was willing to meet Arab leaders anywhere to discuss the issue."I call the leaders of the Arab nations to co-operate with the Palestinians and with us on economic peace," he said.
But the Palestinian Authority reacted angrily to Netanyahu's demands.
Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, dismissed the speech, saying: "Netanyahu's remarks have sabotaged all initiatives, paralysed all efforts being made and challenges the Palestinian, Arab and American positions." Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians senior negotiator, called on Obama to intervene to force Israel to abide by previous interim agreements that include freezing settlement activity in the West Bank."The peace process has been moving at the speed of a tortoise," Erekat said. "Tonight, Netanyahu has flipped it over on its back."
This is the first occasion that Netanyahu has endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state, but many see a disarmed Palestinian state as handing too much power to Israel. "Netanyahu did not accept the principle of a two-state solution," said Lamis Andoni, Al Jazeera's Middle East analyst. "He reduced the concept of a Palestinian state to that of a demilitarised entity that would remain under Israeli control.
"This is at best a formula to establish a Palestinian Bantustan that will not end the Israeli occupation but would legitimise Israeli control."
Several experts reporting for The Institute of Middle East Understanding also gave this 'peace' speech a thumbs down, to put it gently.
Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of the Israeli Knesset representing the United Arab List-Ta'al party, which was nearly barred from running in Israel's last election:"Netanyahu's speech is a deceptive attempt to bypass Obama's call for a complete settlement freeze. He said nothing new, but instead reiterated the racist demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This is not only racist, but will give Israel the excuse to discriminate against more than 20 percent of its population. I hope the Americans see the speech for the deception that it is."
Mustafa Barghouthi , a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative and former candidate for Palestinian president:"Netanyahu is attempting to mislead the world community by substituting a ghetto for a Palestinian state. He is no partner for peace. His whole speech was nothing but the consolidation of apartheid, not only in the territories but within Israel. Also, he preempted any possibility for negotiations because while he's calling for no preconditions he is simultaneously saying all of Jerusalem is Israel's capital, there will be no freeze of settlements, and the refugees cannot come home. He's clearly deciding the most important issues while claiming he's open to negotiations."
Hassan Jabareen, founder and general director of Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel:"In his speech, Netanyahu put forth all the obstacles for reaching any reconciliation. First, when he spoke of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state he neglected the status of Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel as equal citizens of the state, and therefore, he relegated them to second-class citizenship status. Second, while he mentioned the term `Palestinian state,' in fact, he spoke about Palestinian autonomy and not an independent state as it would not control its borders or skies, similar to the status quo. Third, East Jerusalem and the Palestinian refugees, in his vision, are excluded from any negotiation. Clearly, Netanyahu failed to recognize the Palestinians' right to self-determination."
Diana Buttu, a Palestinian citizen of Israel living in Ramallah, attorney and former advisor to Palestinian negotiators:"Netanyahu offered a litany of demands that the Arabs and Palestinians must adhere to, but he failed to mention even a single statement about what Israel is going to do in order to effect peace. Even something as basic as a settlement freeze, Netanyahu refused to accept. He made it clear that what he wants to see in the future is a repackaging of the occupation in which Israel continues to control the Palestinians rather than complete Palestinian freedom. Netanyahu is trying to replace real peace with the fig leaf of an improved economic situation. His approach fails to recognize that this is a political problem requiring a political solution and not an economic problem with economic solutions."
Sam Bahour, a Palestinian-American businessman living in Ramallah:"In a brief and shallow policy address at one of the most right-wing Israeli universities, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was visibly nervous and edgy as he reverted to sloganeering instead of accepting Israel's historic responsibility toward regional peace. Clearly aiming to appease President Obama's new thrust to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Netanyahu uttered some of the words that all were seeking--like peace and statehood--but stripped them of substance. Netanyahu and his coalition still refuse to acknowledge that Israel is an occupying power responsible for daily war crimes and the bearer of a sophisticated ethnic cleansing campaign against Palestinians. The speech clearly slapped President Obama and the international community in the face and should motivate the US to finally act to bring Israel in line with international law; otherwise, the future will offer only more of the past."
Again from Netanyahu we received words without even a mention of deeds, except that settlement enlargement will continue and the Road Map is dead. It was almost as if Netanyahu repeated a new version of the 1996 anti-Oslo document, A Clean Break: 'no land for peace. Peace for peace.'
If the Obama administration does not intervene at this point, we will merely be dragged into another round of empty Olmert-Abbas tea ceremonies. Only this time around Abbas is probably not coming.
An interesting take on Netanyahu's speech, however, is that, like Sharon, who went from Likud to Kadima, from a no state position to the Alon plan, Netanyahu is willing to take only 40-50% of the Palestinian territories, leaving the Palestinians with a Bantustanized demi-state inside of a Greater Israel. Netanyahu has already stated that Israel will never give up the Jordan Valley, a large segment of the border of the Palestinian state. This is an unacceptable Apartheid solution.
UPDATE: The Palestinian state envisioned by Netanyahu
Below, the villages, towns and cities Israel has built in the West Bank to be enlarged for 'natural growth'.
The resulting Palestinian bantustans: the state of Palestine ala Netanyahu.
This is Netanyahu's peace in a nutshell.