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Occupation is unilateral

by Gabriela Becker Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 3:28 AM

From the early 1990s, the Israeli occupation has had but one goal: the complete destruction of the Palestinian national cause, writes Gabriela Becker*

Talk of "unilateralism" has now become a mainstay of diplomatic rhetoric vis-à-vis Israeli occupation. A short skip from the "Gaza unilateral disengagement" headline, "unilateralism" should be seen as part of the unbroken Israeli ability to shift banners and build-up for its next public relations move. Even more alarming, this talk seeks to propagate to an international audience that occupation is not intrinsically oppressive and that, if left to its own devices, Israel could do the right thing -- fundamental untruths that turn reality on its head.

While numerous historical injustices along with an understanding of power relations should have taught the international community otherwise, Israel continues to gain support for its policies and actions. But in Palestine there are few questions as to what lies ahead since reality on the ground demonstrates that the future is already here as wall-enclosed ghettos concretise and close in on Palestinian lives. Reality, far from shifting, is moving in one unambiguous direction: continued occupation aimed at the total demise of the Palestinian cause.

It is part of Israel's quest to drown out the link between Israeli political slogans and its crimes, and thus maintain the horrid reality forced upon the Palestinian people through targeted killings and assassinations, aerial attacks, incursions, arrests, confiscations, demolitions, destruction, closures, forced impoverishment and humiliation that persist on a daily basis. Hordes of Israeli tanks invading West Bank cities -- Nablus, Jenin, Hebron, Qalqiliya, Jericho, Tulkarem and Bethlehem -- arresting tens of Palestinians and reeking havoc are unending. The chokehold on the already sealed Gaza Strip is accompanied by an onslaught of Israeli missile and mortar attacks numbering in the hundreds each day, the occupation confirming repeatedly the way in which it plans to "deal with" Palestinians.

In Jerusalem alone, the Israeli declaration that Qalandiya checkpoint in northern Jerusalem be turned into "International Atarot Terminal" as part of the final borders policy took place without a hitch. The same applies to all Israeli measures in occupied Jerusalem -- confiscations, demolitions and the completion of the separation wall -- which continue with international complicity. The recently completed "Zeitim" terminal in the eastern Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Tur (Mount of Olives), Zaeem, and Ezarya, closing-off once and for all the eastern entrance to the city, splits these Jerusalem suburbs from each other, from Jerusalem, and from the West Bank. To finalise its plans to control the Jerusalem and demarcate borders, the occupation recently sealed Northern Jerusalem neighbourhoods with the separation wall, checkpoints and Israeli-contrived "alternative roads" thus directing Ram and Bir Nabala away from Jerusalem towards Ramallah, sealing shut another West Bank ghetto.

Since 2002, the Israeli occupation began building the massive apartheid wall to set final borders for Palestinian Bantustans by using the banner "state building" in the same way that apartheid South Africa called for "Bantustan Homelands". Thus, fabricated slogans around "final status" and "settlement dismantlement" easily merged with "Gaza unilateral disengagement," all of which contrived to gain worldwide and ultimate legitimacy for the occupation's West Bank settlements. In other words, Israel can continue to create all the facts on the grounds it needs, as it manoeuvres terminology with repeated success to the extent that its public and international relations -- so eagerly received and devoured -- are built on painting an inverse picture of reality. The immense past and present international support for Israel is testament to the virtual carte blanche offered to the occupation.

One of the greatest disservices of the 1993 Oslo Accords, intentionally sought-after by Israel, was to present a facade of bilateral partnership although non-existent. In this way, the word "unilateralism" has seeped into Israeli-controlled policy discussions with the occupation having succeeded in presenting itself as one side in a conflict, as opposed to the occupier and culprit in colonisation and war crimes. With the Israeli occupation pushing forward yet another discourse formulated with intent to maintain the status quo, being "anti-unilateralism" has been set-up to mean pro- negotiations and pro-partnership while "negotiations" and "partnership" were foundations of the Oslo Accords during which Israeli unilateralism -- i.e., colonial expansion and occupation -- reached an all time high. In other words, occupation by definition is unilateral. Talk of unilateralism seems designed to bring about conditions whereby Palestinian rights are signed away under duress.

International support plays a capital role in this trap. So, when the Israeli government suddenly declares that it will not act unilaterally what it means is that it will set up meetings and talks with its partners -- the US, EU and UN leaderships -- so as to confer on how best to package and time subsequent moves that adhere to their interests. And when the occupation simultaneously and cynically says it would "prefer" not to act unilaterally we are reminded that the whole notion of a Palestinian partner is but a card in Israeli hands meant to spread the idea that the ball is in the Palestinian court when all along it is in that of the occupation. In the end, the only partners the occupation has ever needed are relevant governments -- and not just Western governments -- together with their publics that give Tel Aviv a green light, either actively or through conspicuous silence.

Latest statements only confirm this. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and countless Israeli government spokespersons have made clear that if so- called "negotiations" -- which have been fictitious throughout -- fail then unilateral measures will take place, when in reality unilateral measures for "future" final borders are being implemented now and on an hourly basis regardless of Israeli (or international) announcements. During the Quartet meeting, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her counterparts expressed dislike for Israeli unilateral measures by stating a preference for agreement and diplomacy, underlining that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is a partner for peace. As the Israeli paper Haaretz spelled-out last week: Western diplomats are most worried about rapid Israeli unilateral withdrawals without first exhausting diplomatic efforts. We then understand that support exists for "slow" as opposed to "rapid measures" -- in other words, transfer that is more media savvy -- with the ultimate preference that all measures be implemented amid handshakes and summits.

Final borders were being demarcated from at least the 1993 closure and checkpoint policy, moving forward a process where claims of an end to occupation under slogans of Palestinian self-rule were meant only to serve the interests of widening Israeli control. In the face of continued global complicity, these policies should be seen as the agreed means, between Israel and its allies, to "normalise" the occupation, setting into motion a spectrum of terms and phrases that play down power discrepancies and allow for parallel processes where rhetoric exists on the one hand and reality exists on another. Current US and EU siding with Israeli government declarations while simultaneously threatening and penalising Palestinians, financially and otherwise, must be seen as an extension of a long-standing policy of suppression.

Perhaps the real manoeuvring taking place is best highlighted through Olmert's repeated statements that Israel continues to wait for the Palestinians to make the required moves! This illustrates two core issues: on the one hand, the schism, if not inverse relationship, between what the occupation says and what it actually does. But even more so, that time is on the occupation's side, with time and timing as the springboards of Israeli unilateral expansionism in the context of deep- seated and insipid worldwide support.

* The writer is a US researcher based in occupied Jerusalem.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 42 posted about this article.
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land grab typical Zionist aggression Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 4:12 AM
A "researcher" -- is this credential enclosed to impress? Scapegoated Jew Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 8:11 AM
but he was correct Judasgoat's imp Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 11:42 AM
You're a two-trick inflammatory non-human Scapegoated Jew Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 11:54 AM
down in flames Judasgoat's imp Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 12:41 PM
Bigot's hallmark Scapegoated Jew Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 12:57 PM
poor little thing Judasgoat's imp Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 1:01 PM
Stoking the fires of hate? Scapegoated Jew Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 1:13 PM
proof Judasgoat's imp Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 1:21 PM
Yawwwwwwwwwn Scapegoated Jew Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 1:34 PM
nah, let's examine the hypocisy Judasgoat's imp Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 1:45 PM
I'll read the article when Scapegoated Jew Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 1:52 PM
look up the term- slander Judasgoat's imp Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 1:59 PM
distractions again Judasgoat's imp Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 2:10 PM
you abdicated the right Scapegoated Jew Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 2:19 PM
because you say so Judasgoat's imp Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 2:21 PM
and you should really re read the lead article. Sheepdog Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 2:25 PM
You won't have it both ways, sheep Scapegoated Jew Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 2:41 PM
but, stinky little judasgoat, I don't want to play Judasgoat's imp Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 2:47 PM
SchtarkerYid Ignorant "pundits" Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 4:05 PM
what? Sheepdog Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 4:58 PM
You don't want to learn them through Google Scapegoated Jew Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 5:06 PM
Khartoum Resolution From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 6:49 PM
amazing Sheepdog Tuesday, May. 30, 2006 at 7:51 PM
Chronicles the book Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 3:59 PM
Schtarker Yid Wrong Parshah Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 4:51 PM
Micah the book Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 4:59 PM
Schtarker Yid Naso Numbers 4:21 - 7:89 Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 5:18 PM
Romans new book Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 5:19 PM
SchtarkerYid Note the absence Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 5:22 PM
Ephesians Jesus is the one true God Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 5:23 PM
Schtarker Yid Well, at least he likes one Jew! Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 5:25 PM
2 Thessalonians Jesus is the only God Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 5:27 PM
Good point Scapegoated Jew Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 5:28 PM
SchtarkerYid Is Toady HaGoy Baali Tchuva? Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 5:29 PM
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SchtarkerYid So, if Toady is now religious Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 5:33 PM
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SchtarkerYid So, if Toady is now religious Wednesday, May. 31, 2006 at 5:35 PM
Exodus book Friday, Jun. 02, 2006 at 4:10 PM

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