On January 31, 1970, the great philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote a message on the conflict in the Middle East, which was read on February 3, the day after his death, to an International Conference of Parliamentarians meeting in Cairo. He wrote, “The development of the crisis in the Middle East is both dangerous and instructive. For over 20 years Israel has expanded by force of arms. After every stage in this expansion Israel has appealed to “reason” and has suggested “negotiations”. This is the traditional role of the imperial power, because it wishes to consolidate with the least difficulty what it has already taken by violence. Every new conquest becomes the new basis of the proposed negotiation from strength, which ignores the injustice of the previous aggression. The aggression committed by Israel must be condemned, not only because no state has the right to annex foreign territory, but because every expansion is an experiment to discover how much more aggression the world will tolerate.”
Israel obviously has perfected the art of negotiating from a position of strength. The Western nations – all former colonial powers – through their support of this rogue state have epitomized the art of double standard! In their condemnation of the Palestinian resistance movement they won’t tell us that the tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was “given” by a foreign power to another (European Jewish) people for the creation of a new state (Israel) which resulted in expulsion of more than 700,000 innocent people who were made permanently homeless. They also don’t want us to know that the then government of Great Britain had no authority to assign the land of Palestine to anyone other than the people who were living there (i.e., the Palestinians). They also don’t tell us that when the United Nations assigned a portion of Palestine to the European Jewish immigrants in the so-called Partition of Palestine in 1947, it violated its own Charter which stated that it had no right to do so without obtaining the consent of the mandate territory’s population.
What happened in Palestine was classical Western colonialism, which can sustain itself only via its superior military or economic resources and by enforced occupation. As aptly noted by Peter Cohen, a retired sociologist from the University of Amsterdam and a Jewish-Dutch World War II survivor, in a recent article in the Huffington Post, superior strength, however, does not create legitimacy. Israel has none. Cohen writes, “It is a territory in the Middle East under Western occupation, which possesses no political legitimacy now, nor can it ever acquire such legitimacy in the future because it has no raison d’tre and cannot create one.
Instead, Israel’s policy has always been to create faits accomplis, conquests that have been consolidated with the aid of its constituent Western states in Europe and North America. To date, this policy has never been effectively challenged, and so it continues in the same vein. Israel can carry on creating more and more faits accomplis, perpetuating its status as an ever-expanding occupation with vastly superior military strength. But if it loses the West’s support, it will no longer have the means to defend itself, having nothing that could preserve its existence, nor the raw materials to sustain itself. It could use atomic weapons, but this does not in any sense bolster the legitimacy of the Western implant.”
Israel, as a colony, is a constant source of violence and conflict. And it will remain so unless the very colonial structure on which it is founded is brought down – something that has happened in our time with apartheid South Africa. With every new conflict since the birth of Israel the number of refugees has grown. And the worst problem is: these refugees are safe nowhere, not even in the UN compounds, schools, mosques and hospitals of Gaza. There are scores of international laws that state that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this fundamental right is at the heart of the continuing conflict.
How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty of Israel? It is abundantly clear that no people anywhere in the world would accept being bombed and expelled en masse from their own country. How can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? Will the Palestinian people be ever free? Will they ever get justice for the crimes inflicted on them by the powerful against them?
I am beginning to doubt. I am very skeptical these days. True to the words of Bertrand Russell, Israel as a colonial enterprise has been able to abuse the process of negotiation to her advantage to extract further concession towards expanding its control while curtailing everything for the vanquished, occupied Palestinians. Every negotiation since the unholy birth of the state of Israel has been a deception, a farce, a show for public consumption to not only legitimize its illegitimate grab of the Palestinian land but also to delegitimize Palestinian struggle and aspiration for freedom.
And the Israelis have partners in their crimes – and it is not the USA, UK and western powers alone that dominate the UN and world bodies – but our own criminals ruling some of the Muslim countries. These governments who don’t allow any form of democracy – the kingdoms, sheikhdoms and military dictators – are some of the worst enemies of the people of Palestine. Thus, not a single bullet has been fired in defense of the violated Palestinians by these regimes. And this, in spite of the fact that each of these Arab regimes spend billions of dollars every year to buy arms and ammunitions from their western patrons and beneficiaries! You wonder why they have all those deadly toys in their arsenal if they are never going to use such for what is right and just! Are those ‘toys’ supposed to be used against desert flies then?
A knowledgeable friend of mine said that he read somewhere that some of the rich, anti-Brotherhood, anti-Hamas, and by default, anti-Qatari, governments had actually bank-rolled Israel’s latest massacre in Gaza. I don’t know the veracity of his claim. But I won’t be surprised if the story ever turns out to be true.
Many of the reactionary, anti-people regimes in the Middle East do not tolerate anything that could destabilize their regimes. The popular movements like the Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood are perceived as existential threats to these regimes. They did not like the Arab Spring a bit. What became popular among the ordinary masses of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya in northern Africa were nightmares for the rulers in neighboring countries (and their western patrons). They have done everything since the people’s revolution in Tunisia and Egypt had succeeded in unseating the hated dictators to put the genie back to the bottle where it belonged. Thus, the popularly elected President Dr. Mohammad al-Morsi was soon toppled by their man – Sisi, the neo-Pharaoh of Egypt. All the leaders of Muslim Brotherhood are now awaiting death sentences or long prison terms. They wanted to put the death-nail on Hamas, too, which had historical ties with Muslim Brotherhood.
Sadly, as the Gazans bled to death, and their homes and businesses, mosques, schools, colleges, universities and hospitals were bombed by Netanyahu’s criminal IDF, the Obama and Cameron governments of the USA and the UK resupplied Israel with more arms and ammunitions during the current conflict while hypocritically speaking about the need for de-escalation of the war through negotiation. Are these western patrons oblivious of the magnitude of their crimes? Don’t they know that their actions, which have resulted in the death of thousands of innocent civilians, constitute war crimes? Will they pay compensation for the Palestinian victims? Just the reconstruction of bombed out facilities inside Gaza may cost ten billion US dollars! How about the dead and the injured people?
Israel and her patrons are for ‘negotiations’ – those same old parleys which have only endorsed Israeli aggression and dehumanized their victims! Those ‘negotiations’ have become part of textbook case for Israeli propaganda with the added impetus to extract further concessions, let alone requiring that the Palestinians accept the lawfulness of their expulsion.
Was not it Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu’s Foreign Minister, who candidly explained what such negotiations meant for Israel? Four years ago when speaking to the readership of the right-wing Makor Rishon paper, he said: “I do not think there is anything to be expected from negotiations. Even if lasting 16 years they will produce no agreement. But my travels around the globe have shown me that the world is very interested in seeing peace talks start, even if only for the sake of appearance. A willingness to talk and talk is something we can give. Why not?” (Makor Rishon, April 30, 2010)
Moshe Feiglin, aspiring to push Netanyahu out of his job as Likud leader and PM, was also heard saying in 2010, “We will win because we represent what most Likud members really want — a government which says loud and clear that this country is ours and ours only. I definitely want to deprive Arabs of civil rights, unless they prove their loyalty to the state, and give them financial encouragement to emigrate from here. Any area from which Israel is attacked should be conquered and its whole population expelled.” (Yediot Aharonot – April 23, 2010)
Dozens of Israeli leaders from top to bottom can be cited to show that statehood of the Palestinians with a just peaceful settlement of the crisis has never been the real intent of the Israeli leaders. Israel’s laws make it clear that the Palestinians are not only militarily incapacitated but have also been stripped of all their legal rights.
Not surprisingly, we are told that Hamas is not falling for such old tricks put forth by the joint Israeli-Egyptian team where the Zionists set all the rules of the game. They are demanding opening up the Port of Gaza and easing of cross-border movement of goods. Upon their arrival in Cairo, the Palestinians had been informed by Egyptian security chiefs – speaking on behalf of Netanyahu – that the very issue of opening Gaza’s sea port (and airport) is “not on the agenda”. How about easing of conditions for the prison conditions under which a million and eight hundred thousand Gazans are held in Gaza – world’s largest concentration camp by the two closely colluding warders, Israeli and Egyptian, who control all their access to the outside world? Fat chance!
We are told that this weekend missiles were fired from Gaza killing none and that IDF had bombed inside Gaza destroying a mosque and some homes, killing many Gazans. The death toll is now nearly 2,000.
Blame it all on Hamas for refusing to be duped again! And now criminal Netanyahu’s government says that it will not negotiate under fire: the ‘deadly’, ‘Iron-door-shattering’ missiles fired by Hamas must cease in order to make it possible to talk. To these neo-Nazis of Israel lying and deception come very easily. They don’t want us to know that of the Palestinian victims almost all were civilians, and that on the Israeli side only 3 civilians had died, which included a Thai worker. Out of a total 66 Israeli dead, 64 were soldiers. Thus, 97% of the dead Israelis were the IDF soldiers, and not civilians. And yet, Netanyahu’s lies are parroted by the Obama administration and other western governments and their yellow journalists.
It seems that Gazans would have to fight – and fight hard whether or not Obama, Cameron, Sisi and other friends of Israel in the opposite camp like it. Their struggle is for freedom and human dignity. And they have a right for such values which we all take for granted without having to die for.
In his last message Bertrand Russell said, “Justice requires that the first step towards a settlement must be an Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied in June, 1967. A new world campaign is needed to help bring justice to the long-suffering people of the Middle East.” That call, sadly, remains unfulfilled. How long can the friends of Israel dupe us with hypocritical negotiations that reward the aggressor while ignoring the real issue which is Israeli colonialism?
Dr Habib Siddiqui has authored nine books. His book: “Democracy, Politics and Terrorism – America’s Quest for Security in the Age of Insecurity” is available at Amazon.com.