Olmert or Netanyahu: Will it make a difference?
by shergald, Thu Jul 31, 2008 at 06:31:22 AM EDT
Yesterday, the world was informed that Ehud Olmert will shortly resign as prime minister of Israel, apparently due to his investigation for problems of corruption. Here and there around the internet, one can read speculations about what it will mean for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, because the most popular politician in Israel today continues to be Bebe Netanyahu, a right wing Likud hawk.
Will it make any difference to the peace process if Netanyahu were elected next prime minister? Not likely, since while in office, Olmert did little more than talk peace, while supporting a continuation of the military occupation and colonial activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Olmert beat back Annapolis by sipping tea with Abbas, while foreign minister Livni led Condi Rice on a wild goose chase.
The reason there will be no change in the so-called peace process is Israel's project to capture Judea and Samaria (West Bank to everyone else) and the fact that no major Israeli political party espouses an independent Palestinian state.
The Truth of Israel's Intentions was written by Karen Nakamura, The Electronic Intifada, in July 2006, in response to Israel's latest propaganda meme, "the right to exist," and shows that a Palestinian state is as allusive today as it ever was.
Israel complains endlessly about how Hezbollah and Hamas refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist.
The truth is that no major Israeli party believes in a viable Palestinian state.
Just who is denying whose right to exist is clearly stated in the following direct excerpts from the platforms of Israel's most powerful parties, Labor, Kadima and Likud.
1. Jerusalem: United Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty. The Palestinian residents of the city will enjoy municipal rights in the quarters in which they reside, and special arrangements will be established for the sites sacred to Christianity and Islam. 2. Self-Determination for the Palestinians: The Labor Party recognizes the Palestinians' right to self-determination, and does not rule out in this connection the establishment of a Palestinian state with limited sovereignty. 3. Security: The Jordan river will be Israel's eastern security border and there will be no other army stationed to the west of it. 4. Borders and Settlements: Israel extends its sovereignty over areas that are major Jewish settlement blocs. 5. The Right of Return: Israel does not recognize the right of return of Palestinians to areas under Israeli sovereignty. Israel will negotiate with the Palestinians on allowing the return to areas under Palestinian control.
Kadima Party Platform:
1. The Israeli nation has a national and historic right to the whole of Israel. However, in order to maintain a Jewish majority, part of the Land of Israel must be given up to maintain a Jewish and democratic state. 2. Israel shall remain a Jewish state and homeland. Jewish majority in Israel will be preserved by territorial concessions to Palestinians. 3. Jerusalem and large settlement blocks in the West Bank will be kept under Israeli control. 4. The Israeli national agenda to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and achieve two states for two nations will be the road map. It will be carried out in stages: dismantling terror organizations, collecting firearms, implementing security reforms in the Palestinian Authority, and preventing incitement. At the end of the process, a demilitarized Palestinian state devoid of terror will be established.
PEACE AND SECURITY chapter of the Likud Party Platform:
1. Declaration of a Palestinian State: A unilateral Palestinian declaration of the establishment of a Palestinian state will constitute a fundamental and substantive violation of the agreements with the State of Israel and the scuttling of the Oslo and Wye accords. The government will adopt immediate stringent measures in the event of such a declaration.
2. Settlements: The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria [West Bank] and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.
3. The Permanent Status: The overall objectives for the final status with the Palestinians are: to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of a stable, sustainable agreement and replace confrontation with cooperation and good neighborliness, while safeguarding Israel's vital interests as a secure and prosperous Zionist and Jewish state.
4. Self-Rule: The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan River. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel's existence, security and national needs.
4. Jerusalem: Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem, including the plan to divide the city.
5. The Jordan River as a Permanent Border: The Jordan Valley and the territories that dominate it shall be under Israeli sovereignty. The Jordan River will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel. The Kingdom of Jordan is a desirable partner in the permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians in matters that will be agreed upon.
6. Security Areas: The government succeeded in significantly reducing the extent of territory that the Palestinians expected to receive in the interim arrangement.
So collectively what Israel's major parties propose is either no Palestinian state (Likud) or a state consisting of South African Apartheid style bantustans (Kadima, Labor).
So what will be the difference between Olmert and Netanyahu? Rhetoric!
Karen Nakamura is an investigative reporter for the progressive Coastal Post newspaper located in the San Francisco Bay area. She has been writing on the Palestine/Israel conflict for fifteen years. Active in the civil rights movement since the 1960s, she presently confines her activism to writing blistering tomes for the alternative press. Reproduced by permission.