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Sham Peace Talks Continue

by Stephen Lendman Wednesday, Apr. 09, 2014 at 7:42 AM


Sham Peace Talks Continue

by Stephen Lendman

They mock legitimate ones. Palestinians agreed to continue them despite zero chance for success. Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir once said:

"I would have conducted the autonomy negotiations for 10 years, and in the meantime we would have reached half a million souls in Judea and Samaria."

"I didn't believe there was a majority in favor of a greater land of Israel. But it could have been attained over time."

"Without such a basis, there would be nothing to stop the establishment of a Palestinian state."

Shamir went all-out to prevent it. So did other Israeli prime ministers before and after him. Netanyahu deplores the notion.

He demands unconditional Palestinian surrender. He wants occupation harshness continued. He wants all valued Judea and Samaria land stolen.

He wants Palestinians denied all rights. Talks with his negotiators reflect the futility of hoping for what won't happen.

UN Special Rapporteur for Palestinian human rights Richard Falk condemns Israeli colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing. In late March, he said:

"Every increment of enlarging the settlements, or every incident of house demolition is a way of worsening the situation confronting the Palestinian people and reducing what prospects they might have as the outcome of supposed peace negotiations."

"To sustain indefinitely an oppressive occupation containing many punitive elements also seems designed to encourage residents to leave Palestine, which is consistent with the apparent annexationist, colonialist and ethnic-cleansing goals of Israel, especially in relation to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem."

Falk noted "a strong internal Israeli opposition" to Palestinian self-determination. Netanyahu and other right wing extremists mock it. They deplore it. They won't permit it.

Ongoing talks are a charade. They mock legitimacy. They continue. Why Palestinians participate futilely they must explain.

Every stolen dunum of Palestinian land makes viable statehood less likely. Every settlement expansion.

Every demolished Palestinian home. Every ethnically cleansed resident. Every Palestinian blame game victim of Israeli intransigency.

Every Palestinian murdered. Everyone arrested. Every day without conflict resolution. Every Israeli effort to subvert talks. Every opportunity lost.

Israeli/Palestinian/US negotiators met Monday. Again on Tuesday. Zero progress was made. An unnamed Israeli official said talks will continue. No date for more was set.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki lied saying: "Gaps remain but both sides are committed to narrow the gaps."

Chasms remain. Nothing whatever was resolved. Nothing will be. Israel won't permit it. Nor Washington. They want unconditional Palestinian surrender.

Israeli rights alone matter. Palestinians are on their own like always. They're blamed for what Israel denies them. Netanyahu and likeminded extremists call wanting to live free on their own land "terrorism."

New York Times editors one-sidedly support Israel. It's longstanding policy. It goes back decades. Jodi Rudoren serves as Jerusalem bureau chief. Her agenda is obscuring reality.

She avoids discussing Israeli torture, targeted assassinations, cold-blooded murder, demolished Palestinian homes, dispossessions, and other lawless practices, as well as unaccountable settler violence and vandalism.

She equates BDS activism with anti-Semitism. It reminds her of Nazi era practices.

At best, she calls Israeli settlements "controversial." International law calls them illegal. No ambiguity exists.

She believes sham peace talks are legitimate. Palestinians share blame for no progress, she claims. On April 7, she discussed political prisoner Marwan Barghouti.

She linked him to peace talks. She lied calling him a convicted "murderer." He faced spurious charges. He's no terrorist.

He calls himself "a political leader, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, elected by my people." Israel had no right to try him, he said.

He's a political prisoner. Israel lawlessly gave him multiple life sentences plus 40 years. He's Palestine's most popular political figure.

Why Israel wants him imprisoned and forgotten. In a free, fair, open presidential election, he'd win in a landslide. Palestinians want him freed to participate.

Rudoren ludicrously calls him Palestine's Jonathan Pollard. He's a convicted spy. Barghouti is a framed Palestinian hero.

He challenges Israel responsibly. His political statements circulate. Rudoren ignores Palestinian suffering. She ducks controversial issues.

She ignores key Palestinian voices. She substitutes one-sided Israeli support for full and accurate reporting.

She blames Palestinians for peace talks failure. She called legitimately applying to 15 UN bodies and treaties "contentious."

Her featured Netanyahu comments suggest she believes he negotiates in good faith. Truth is polar opposite.

The Elders is an independent group. Its members include global leaders. They support peace and human rights. Archbishop Desmond Tutu formerly served as chairman.

In May 2013, he stepped down. He remains an Honorary Elder. Members have shared interests. They call human rights universal.

They support Palestinian self-determination. They endorse fair and equitable peace talks.

They issued a supportive Palestinian statement. They're "deeply worried by the impasse in peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians," they said.

They "welcome(d) Mahmoud Abbas' decision" to join 15 UN bodies and treaties.

Gro Harlem Brundtland is a former Norwegian prime minister. He's current deputy Elders chair. He issued a statement, saying:

"As a UN non-member observer state, Palestine is entitled to join international bodies. We welcome President Abbas’ decision to sign the Geneva Conventions and other important international human rights treaties."

"This move opens the way to more inclusive and accountable government in the West Bank and Gaza."

"It has the potential to strengthen respect for human rights and provide ordinary Palestinians with essential legal protections against discrimination or abuses by their own government."

"In global terms, it will also increase their ability to enjoy, in practice, the protection of their basic rights granted to them by international law."

Jimmy Carter is an Elders member. He supports Palestinians joining 15 UN bodies and treaties.

"The decision by the Palestinians to exercise their right to join international organizations should not be seen as a blow to the peace talks," he said.

"I hope that, on the contrary, it will help to redress the power imbalance between Israelis and Palestinians…"

"More than ever, both parties urgently need to make the necessary compromises to reach a lasting peace with two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security."

In 2012, Carter criticized Netanyahu. He rejects a two-state solution, said Carter. Conditions reached "crisis stage," he added. Decades-long conflict shows no signs of resolution.

Carter's book titled "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" called Israel's version "worse…than what we witnessed in South Africa."

He hoped his book would stimulate debate. "There's never been (any) on this issue of any significance," he said.

He holds Netanyahu and other Israeli hardliners responsible. They're "moving forward towards a 'greater Israel," he stressed.

Doing so makes peace impossible. Achieving it is more distant now than then.

"Israel will never have peace until they agree to" end occupation and grant Palestinians self-determination, Carter said.

They show no signs of doing so. They negotiate one-way. They're hardline. They're unbending. They're all take. They're no give. Militarized occupation is illegal. It's unforgiving.

So is the worst of Israeli apartheid. It's institutionalized. It's illegitimate.

International law is clear and unequivocal. Article 7(1)(j) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court calls apartheid a crime, stating:

"For the purpose of this Statute, (a) 'crime against humanity' means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

The crime of apartheid" includes murder, extermination, enslavement, torture, arbitrary arrest, illegal imprisonment, denial of the right to life and liberty, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and other abusive acts imposed by one group on another.

Racist Zionist exclusivity is key to understanding Israeli policy. It's extremist, undemocratic and hateful.

It denies non-Jews equal rights. It claims Jewish supremacy, specialness and uniqueness.

It eschews peace and reconciliation. It chooses confrontation over diplomacy.

It believes in strength through belligerence and intimidation. Doing so threatens Jews and non-Jews alike.

Apartheid extremism is longstanding Israeli policy. Palestinians suffer horrifically.

They're denied their cultural heritage. They're driven from their own land. Israeli settlers occupy it. More come daily.

Doing so violates international law. Fourth Geneva's Article 49 states:

"Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportation of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of the motive."

Neither shall "The Occupying Power...deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."

Apartheid is the worst form of racism. Israeli militarized occupation is the worst form of apartheid.

It incorporates state terrorism, belligerence, land theft, home demolitions, dispossessions, targeted assassinations, mass arrests, torture, destruction of property and agricultural lands, isolation and genocide.

Besieged Gazans suffer most of all. Slow-motion suffocation explains their condition. West Bank Palestinians face multiple daily community incursions. Arrests and detentions follow.

Sham peace talks continue. They do so despite daily Israeli violence. On April 8, Israeli soldiers invaded Tal and Osarin villages.

They kidnapped five Palestinian civilians, including one child. Two more were lawlessly abducted in Hebron.

Army elements bulldozed two Bethlehem homes. Israeli naval vessels attacked Gazan fishermen. They used live ammunition.

They do it often. Deaths, injuries and heavy property damage follow. Bulldozers escorted by Israeli troops destroyed agricultural structures northwest of Hebron.

At the same time, they uprooted fields. PA security forces collaborate. Doing so shows which side Abbas supports.

He uses riot police and undercover security service forces against his own people. They attack anti-sham peace talks protesters.

They do so violently. Dozens are arrested. They're accused of protesting without permit permission. Abbas serves as Israel's enforcer.

Conflict resolution is impossible with him in charge. Expect applying for membership in 15 UN bodies and treaties to be all show and no dough.

Membership is worthless without taking full advantage. Full UN membership is important. Abbas could have gotten it straightaway as president.

Most UN members support it. An overwhelming number. Enough to assure de facto and de jure membership.

Petitioning the General Assembly through the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377 assures it.

It's veto proof. Washington can't override it. Membership gives Palestinians the same rights as all other member states.

Observer status lets them join the World Court and International Criminal Court. Doing so lets them challenge Israel as well as current and past government and military officials.

Perhaps holding them accountable is possible. Not if attempts aren't made to do so. Abbas never tried.

Nor will he. He's close to retirement. He won't spoil a good thing now. He's on the wrong side of history. Betrayal is one of the worst crimes. Abbas stands guilty as charged.

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 three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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