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Israel/Palestine: a good account « Previous | |Next »
September 6, 2003

This article by Hassan Nafaa in Al Ahram is a very good account of the politics of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The link is courtesy of Froz Gobo over at Apostropher. The judgement is that the much heralded Roadmap is unravelling.

Hassan's article is one of the best accounts of the politics around the Israeli-Palestinian Roadmap that I have read. It conceptualizes a lot of what I had been groping towards but could not put in words. It cuts through a lot of fog on this issue in Australia. The reporting on the issue in Australia is terrible. And it is not much better in the US.

Hassan is very clear on what is happening behind the political spin. He says:

"....when the US president presented his vision for the region...the extreme right in both countries, having secured its grip on power, was entertaining schemes for regional and global domination that were not free from racist undertones. In both the US and Israel, politicians blithely contemplated plans for military action, using the "war against terror" as a convenient alibi.

Sharon succeeded in convincing Bush that the terror that struck at the heart of the US in September 2001 was of the same sort that had threatened Israel since its creation. The US was in no mood to apply pressure on Israel. Actually, the two countries were never before in such ideological and strategic harmony....

Right from the start, I have maintained that the US vision of the Palestinian state was nothing but a joint US-Israeli attempt to manage, not resolve, the conflict in the region....Nothing that has happened since President Bush visited the region and presented the roadmap has changed my mind... The road towards a settlement, I am sad to say, is still long and winding, and splattered with blood and tears. The US and Israel are using the roadmap as a tool to dismantle Hamas and Jihad, disregarding the possibility that its attempts could trigger a Palestinian civil war."

That is pretty much as I understand the situation. The US and Israel are an alliance that dangles the possibility of a Palestinian as the "reward" to be given to the Palestinian knight who slays the Hamas and Jihad dragon. The current knight is Abu Mazen, the Palestinian prime minister, who is required to arrest all Hamas and Jihad members, confiscate their weapons, and eradicate every trace of their former existence. And the US guarantees about the Palestinian state? That is something for future negotiations.

Hassan goes on to describe the geo-politics of the region very well:

"...the US-Israeli alliance is only interested in a settlement that would redraw the map of the region, turn the Arabs into warring factions, make Israel the region's top honcho, and further US hegemony. If so, the proposed roadmap would usher in more wars and bloody conflicts in the region, not security and stability. With Israel having trouble in Palestine and the US in Iraq, both countries are likely to seek diversion elsewhere. The next shots fired in anger may ring out in Iran, but the real target will remain Hamas, Jihad, and Hizbullah. Israeli and US politicians are convinced that there will be no settlement in the region before Hamas, Jihad, and Hizbullah are terminated. This is enough motive for the US and Israel to seek to change the regimes supporting these groups -- Iran and Syria -- through military action if necessary."

It's bleak. Its tough. But it's on the money in terms of geopolitics.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:22 PM | | Comments (1)


The Roadmap was a device for making the colonial status of the Occupied Territories permanent. The one big lack in the Roadmap was any commitment to human rights. Rights were missing from the package because admitting any Palestinian claim to human rights just raises the question of why, of all peoples in the world, the Palestinians are to be denied national independence forever.