February 22, 2010
Melanie Phillips (February 4th 2010) is as disingenuous as ever when it comes to (as she would see it) defending the Israeli state. It has been documented extensively that Israel played a very prominent role in pushing the US into war with Iraq. Just as it is now playing a prominent role into pushing the US into war with Iran – though on this occasion it is most unlikely to get its way.
Melanie Phillips conflates Islamic aggression with Palestinian resistance. The second is absolutely legitimate, and is the inevitable result of Israeli occupation, and unwillingness to move to a peaceful two state solution. The first has many and varied causes, only one of which is the occupation of Palestine.
Israel has always been the main obstacle to the so called ‘peace process’ since Oslo. By continuing to build illegal settlements on occupied land; by annexing east Jerusalem; by refusing to agree to the 1967 line as the basis for the border;, by refusing to agree to the right of return for ( or compensation of) Palestinian refugees driven from their land in 1948. Of course Bush could have and should have put the screws on Israel – the US has a huge amount of leverage with the Israeli state. Sadly the tail wags the dog, and with a few exceptions, the US has not been prepared to bring its berserker client to heel. The truth is, if the US made a credible threat to withdraw all aid, and diplomatic support, the IDF would be out of the west bank in 6 months; the settlers would have to choose between re-locating to Israel, or living under Palestinian sovereignty.
I am sure that Israel would like to convince us all that the conflict in the occupied territories is between Israel and the Muslim world, because then you can rope Israel’s illegitimate oppression of the Palestinians, to the west’s more general and never ending ‘war on terror’.
Melanie Phillips refers to the ‘morally obnoxious’ concept of negotiation with those who use terrorism to push their agenda. Exactly as morally obnoxious as the pizza parlour example she gives, is the habit of referring to an F16 dropping a 1000lb bomb onto an apartment block, as a ‘military operation’. There is no moral difference between that, and somebody walking into a pizza parlour to explode a bomb. Yet, Palestinians are expected to sit down with Israeli’s, and make compromises that dwarf those likely to be forthcoming from Israel. Truth is, if there is to be peace, both sides need to sit down to negotiate it. One does not need to make peace with one’s friends, but with ones enemies.
The Muslim world is not the reason that the conflict in Palestine has not been resolved. The reason the conflict has not been resolved, is because the Israeli state has consistently failed to make the necessary moves to agree a just and reasonably equitable settlement. In addition, its patron the USA has not felt able, despite its huge power and influence, to encourage its client in the right direction; nor even to play the role of a neutral ‘honest’ broker in the so called peace process.
Sorry Melanie, but there really is no all embracing ‘Islamic threat’ to the world – that is the hugely exaggerated stuff of conspiracy theorists, bankrupt politicians, and inhabitants of the military industrial complex - it only benefits those who engage in terrorism, by making them appear far more potent than they are. As there always have been, and probably always will be, there are political movements who use terrorism to further their political aims. They should be dealt with in a manner compatible with democracy and law – marginalised not encouraged, fought within the law, not outside of the law, and their justifications whether legitimate or not, removed by the application of political, social, and economic justice .