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Israeli/Palestinian Peace Talks: Rebooting Failure

by Stephen Lendman Monday, Aug. 05, 2013 at 1:44 PM


Israeli/Palestinian Peace Talks: Rebooting Failure

by Stephen Lendman

The so-called peace process is fake. It was stillborn at birth. Fools and liars pretend otherwise. Honest observers understand reality.

According to the Molad Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy:

"The likelihood that the current Israeli government will embrace (peace efforts) positively is slim to none."

"It is therefore the responsibility of the Israeli opposition to turn the initiative into a cornerstone of its policy."

"The opposition (must) espouse a reasoned and responsible program that constitutes a clear alternative to the right's dangerous path."

"The time has come to relieve ourselves of the stagnant mindset that identifies direct bilateral negotiations as the only way forward and take advantage of the benefits to be found in a multi-lateral, regional approach."

"As long as Israel's governments continue to fail in the quest for peace, Israel's opposition parties (must) affirm this historic opportunity waiting at their doorstep."

Israel deplores peace. So does Washington. Both countries prioritize state terror. It's official policy. It's longstanding.

What's ongoing is pretense. Chances for something different this time reflect fantasy and deception.

Palestine's legitimate government wasn't invited. Imagine holding talks with one side excluded. Longtime Israeli collaborators represent them. They're illegitimate. They're satraps. They're traitors.

At the same time, occupation harshness continues. So does Gaza's siege. Israel's Knesset wants Arab parties banished. Majority extremists want them denied representation.

Legislation was tabled to do it. A separate referendum bill blocks land for peace.

Netanyahu promised settlers settlement construction will continue throughout talks. Washington approves. More on that below.

Life in Occupied Palestine is inhumane, cruel, harsh, unforgiving, and off the table during so-called peace talks.

Gaza's siege isn't discussed. Humanitarian crisis conditions persist. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said dozens of gravely ill leukemia sufferers lack treatment. They're dying. Abbas ignores them. He's done nothing to help.

"PCHR is strongly concerned over the lives of these patients and calls upon President Abbas to immediately intervene and instruct the Ministry of Health in Ramallah to promptly and regularly send (needed) medicine to the patients."

For the week ending July 31, PCHR said Israel repeatedly used "excessive force" against nonviolent Palestinian civilians.

It reported 51 West Bank incursions. Pre-dawn raids terrorize families. Over two dozen Palestinians were abducted. Eight children were arrested.

Human rights volunteers are assaulted. More Palestinian home demolition notices were issued.

Israeli security forcs wounded five Palestinian civilians. Dozens of new checkpoints were established.

Settlers terrorize Palestinians. They do so with impunity. Farmers are attacked in their fields. So are children at home, play, and/or going and coming from school.

Gaza fishermen are assaulted at sea. Nonviolent demonstrators are violently attacked.

Israel's apartheid wall construction continues. It's on stolen Palestinian land. Israeli violations of international law persist. Multiple abuses occur daily.

Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish in Israel's gulag. It's one of the world's worst. They're denied all rights.

A dozen or more inmates continue hunger strikes for justice. They're harshly treated. They're isolated under appalling conditions.

They're suffering. They're denied proper medical treatment. They're viciously harassed. They're repeatedly transferred to new cells. They're subjected to intrusive night inspections.

They're denied clothing, sheets, family visits, and contact with others. Their lives are endangered. Some are ill and dying.

Phyllis Bennis calls "doomed" peace talks "deja vu all over again." They should be called "the Einstein peace process," she says.

"Doing the same thing over and over again and still expecting different results is the great scientist’s definition of insanity."

Ignore what Kerry says. Decades of failure and betrayal speak louder. Whatever "his political calculations," they're "about to run aground on the unforgiving shoals of political reality," says Bennis.

Talks are "doomed to fail." So-called goals are wrongheaded. Issues mattering most are ignored. Israel spurns them. Previous articles explained.

According to Bennis, they include occupation, Gaza's siege, decades of dispossession, and exiled Palestinian refugees.

They're about universally recognized Palestinian self-determination,  settlements, full UN membership, East Jerusalem as Palestine's capital, freeing thousands of political prisoners straightaway, Palestine within pre-1967 borders, returning confiscated land, as well as air, water, and other resource rights.

They're about living free from Israeli attacks. They're about respecting international law. They require holding Israel officials accountable.

They include reparations. Decades of human suffering demand them. Millions of Palestinians deserve no less.

"Until negotiations are based not on US support for Israeli power but on international law, human rights, and equality for all, the 'peace process,' including this latest Einstein Edition, will continue to fail," says Bennis.

Yesh Din defends Palestinian human rights. Occupation harshness denies them. Equitable peace and justice demands ending it.

Michael Sfard is Yesh Din's co-founder. He's chief legal counsel. His team includes five attorneys. He litigates human rights cases. Doing so exacts a "mighty price," he says. Israel's legal system imposes enormous obstacles.

He calls longstanding peace process hypocrisy "a major enemy of human rights."

"While talks are happening, Israel gets away with anything. Land grabs, the expansion of settlements, even (Operation) Cast Lead was waged while there were peace talks."

Focusing on them diverts attention. Doing so lets Israel commit outrageous abuses. Palestinians deserve justice. Diversionary talks are going nowhere.

"(N)o peace process will be fruitful if people are suffering on the ground," says Sfard.

Occupation's "getting worse in terms of human rights abuses in times of quiet."

"(W)e have grown accustomed to large-scale displacement, land grabs and almost institutional violence against Palestinians. The human rights meter of the occupation is getting worse."

Israeli justice for Jews is civil. Militarized discrimination denies it to Palestinians. It's institutionalized. It's based on ethnicity, nationality and religious belief.

It permits domination of one people over another. It's a "legal atrocity, a monster," says Sfard.

(W)e live peacefully with the idea that Jews and Palestinians are subject to different laws. (T)his is something that I can't sleep at night because of."

"I cannot live in Israel and do something else. It's impossible for me. I need to fight against what I see as wrong and unjust."

"It sounds corny, but this is what I really think. It's also my deep feeling that Judaism and Jewish values are being abused."

"It aches me to see how, in the name of Judaism, things that are the exact opposite of everything that the Jewish tradition and collective biography stand for exist."

Litigating for human rights exacts a "mighty price." Doing so "legitimize(s)" regime institutions.

"You pay a price in court because you make it kosher." If Israel's Supreme Court approves what demands rejection, people say "it's fine. They can sleep at night."

You pay dearly when winning. Doing so gives Israel a "mighty public relations tool." It takes full advantage. It claims judicial fairness. It masks discriminatory harshness.

"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not an internal Israeli affair. The international community has not just the right, but under certain conditions, the obligation to intervene in international conflicts that create large-scale human rights abuses."

Something has to be done. "The same goes for the establishment of settlements and land grabs because in this case the State of Israel is not only incapable, but unwilling to stop these kinds of abuses."

As long as occupation continues, peace talks are doomed. So is hope for resolving longstanding human rights abuses.

Palestinian writer Talal Alyan calls peace talks irrelevant. They're a charade. They're fake. They're a scam. Cynicism runs deep. It does for good reason.

Israel's omnipotent. It controls what's ongoing. It's all take and no give. Issues Palestinians prioritize are ignored.

"And for whom exactly does Mahmoud Abbas speak," asked Alyan?

"A return to negotiations has already been rejected by significant segments of Palestinians, who continue to regard the US as anything but an honest broker."

"The Palestinian Left has been clear on its position, with Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine member Jamil Mizher commenting, 'twenty years of absurd negotiations achieved a big zero, and only helped the occupation to execute its plans of expansion.' "

"Islamists share the sentiment. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad both remark that negotiations will be detrimental to Palestinian objectives, their purpose being to help Israel save face."

Abbas' inability to secure a settlement freeze and mass political prisoner releases shows "what a charade the whole thing is."

Talks are going nowhere. They distract from real issues. They ignore longstanding grievances. They're farcical. They're pretense. They're counterproductive.

They insult Palestinians. They deserve better. Sustained pressure's needed. Talks are a waste of time. Palestine remains occupied. Liberation's a distant dream.

A Final Comment

On August 3, Mondoweiss headlined "Netanyahu cut secret deal with rightwing coalition partner for 1000s more settlement units," saying:

Under the deal to release 104 long-held prisoners, "Israel will unfreeze building plans for thousands of housing units in Judea and Samaria in exchange for keeping Habayit Hayehudi in the coalition."

Naftali Bennett heads it. He and party members are militantly hardline. They're anti-democratic. They're ideologically over-the-top.

They want non-Jews excluded from Israel. They want Palestinians denied all rights. They call Arabs "foreigners," "infiltrators," a "fifth column threat," a "time bomb."

Netanyahu and Housing Minister Uri Ariel "had a secret dialogue through sealed envelopes," said Mondoweiss.

They "agreed to unfreeze building plans for projects, mainly in settlement blocs and in Jerusalem, in exchange for the decision to release (so-called) Palestinian terrorists getting through the coalition and the government."

Releases don't matter. Previous articles explained. Freed prisoners are ruthlessly harassed. Many are rearrested. Israeli deals aren't worth the paper they're written on.

Ongoing talks are insulting. They're unprincipled. They reflect an exercise in futility, deception and betrayal. This time's no different.

Note: On August 4, Haaretz headlined "Cabinet approves new development plan to benefit more Israeli settlements," saying:

A "new map of national priority areas...includes an additional 20 West Bank settlements and communities inhabited by former Gaza settlers."

"(H)undred of towns and villages...are entitled to government benefits in housing, infrastructure, education, culture and security. "

Fifteen of 20 communities are Habayit Hayehudi "strongholds." Extremist settlers infest them.

More Palestinian land will be stolen to accommodate them. It's besides extensive territorial expansion for all settlements. Doing so further puts a lie to talks for peace.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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