Palestinians reject Israeli offer as 'mere propaganda' UPDATE
by MainStreet, Fri Nov 27, 2009 at 12:04:00 PM EST
Out of pure magnanimity, Bibi Netanyahu, the Israeli PM, just offered the Palestinians a 10 month delay in the colonization of their lands in the West Bank. As for their lands in East Jerusalem, they're nonnegotiable. In spite of this alleged offer to delay the colonization, the truth is that the building of 3,000 housing units will continue, settlements in the West Bank will continue to flow onto adjacent Palestinian lands, and East Jerusalem will continue to be off the table.
Delaying a colonization obviously means that it will continue in the future. The Palestinians know this.
From Al Jazeera this morning:
A Palestinian official has described Israel's proposed 10-month suspension of settlement construction in the occupied West Bank as mere "propaganda". Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, said on Thursday that the move does not indicate any progress that would justify the resumption of peace talks.
....temporary settlement suspension offer by Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, was aimed more towards appeasing the Americans than trying to reconcile with the Palestinians.
The suspension excludes building projects already under way as well as areas of the West Bank that Israel annexed to its Jerusalem municipality after occupying the territory in the 1967 Middle East war.
Hannan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian legislative council, said such crucial omissions were tantamount to no freeze at all. "If you analyse the Israeli position you will see that they are building even more settlements," she told Al Jazeera. "They are expanding, they are building in Jerusalem, they are finishing contracts they are building public institutions, they are building infrastructure and then they are saying there is a freeze.
Daniel Engber wrote this piece during the Bush administration about how to be a modern skeptic.
In line to get my badge for this year's skeptics conference in Pasadena, Calif., I recognized the little man standing behind me. He was bald, with a full, white beard, and he looked older than I would have imagined. "Excuse me," he said, "is this the line for the skeptics meeting?" When I nodded, he looked me up and down and replied, "Oh, I doubt that."
Why have the skeptics grown so dreary? Their tactics have changed to reflect a new set of targets. What was once a movement to take down television psychics and fortunetellers now concentrates on mainstream foes like President George W. Bush, Intelligent Design theorists, opponents of stem-cell research, and Israeli peace offers. (last clause added).
Want to become a member of the skeptic's club? Join the Palestinian peace movement, where you will find plenty of reasons to become a skeptic. You will also develop a knack for seeing through subterfuge when it is evident.
Have the Israelis really become that sloppy at hiding their colonialism of Palestine.
This text from a recent article published in Mondoweiss gives credence to the "settlement freeze fallacy" and may enlighten some of the debate seen in the commentary:
It may be too late as the battle lines of the upcoming throw down are coming into focus. In the Israeli corner, neocon Elliott Abrams tries to bring the Netanyahu line to the masses today by arguing for Israel's illegal West Bank settlements in his Washington Post oped "The Settlement Freeze Fallacy." Abrams says:
Settlement activity is not diminishing the territory of a future Palestinian entity. In fact, the emphasis on a "settlement freeze" draws attention from the progress that's needed to lay the foundation for full Palestinian self-rule building a thriving economy, fighting terrorism through reliable security forces and establishing the rule of law. A "settlement freeze" would not help Palestinians face today's problems or prepare for tomorrow's challenges. The demand for a freeze would have only one quick effect: to create immediate tension between the United States and Israel's new government. That may be precisely why some propose it, but it is also why the Obama administration should reject it.
That in a nutshell is the Netanyahu proposal continue Israeli colonization of the West Bank while outsourcing Israeli security needs to a Palestinian police force and throwing the Palestinians some economic crumbs. This is what's paternalistically referred to as "[laying] the foundation for full Palestinian self-rule." But interestingly enough, Abrams doesn't seem to think this is convincing enough for American audiences, so his real argument against a settlement freeze echos the Ha'aretz article Obama should reject this demand because it will only create tension between Israel and the US.
From the mouth of a neocon.