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Israel: out of Gaza « Previous | |Next »
October 27, 2004

Poster5.jpg As I understand it that graffiti says we've got Rabin and we'll get Sharon. It is an example of the work of right wing militants spraying graffiti on walls in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem calling for Ariel Sharon’s assassination. This refers to Sharon's plan to remove 8,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip and eliminate four West Bank settlements.The ruling Likud Partyand Government is irreparably fissured with the disengagement rebels in the Likud preparing steps to topple Sharon's government.

I heard Barry Cohen on the ABC's Religion Report this morning. It was very onesided. Basically it was all up the Palestinians. The Palestinians were identified with the militant Islamic organizations (Hamas & Islamic Jihad), the Israeli nation was equated with Jewishness not citizenship and the killings of many Palestinians in the Israeli military incursion into the Gaza Strip were acceptable. The settler movement was never mentioned.

Cohen said the solution was that the Palestinians had to accept Israeli's right to exist, and they were at fault because they turned down all peace deals in the past. Cohen finished by saying that it was not a complex issue. It was a simple one. It was up to the Palestinians to accept Israel's right to exist.

It was a very superficial piece by Toni Hassan. Why the silence about messianism and the Israeli settler movement on the ABC? Surely the Religion Report is the right place to discuss Jewish messanism. And the deep conflict between Jewishness and Israeliness in the Israeli nation-state was skirted over rather than explored. Why the silence about the theocracy of the religious fundamentalists in the settler movement? Why the silence about the conflict between Athens and Jerusalem.

It was a pretty poor effort by the ABC.There was very little probing of Cohen's assumptions.

Cohen's rhetoric is out of touch. The Israeli Parliament (Knesset ) has authorized the removal of Jewish settlements from lands (the Gaza strip) the Palestinians claim for their state. This limited form of disengagement has deeply divided the ruling Likud party. The Knesset vote was a decisive victory.

Does Cohen stand with the settler movement that is opposed to any dismantling of any settlements in Gaza? Around two-thirds of the Israeli public support the disengagement.

Cohen is also out of date because he does not address the strategic point of the withdrawal Both Ariel Sharon and his adviser, Dov Weisglass, speak openly that the plan is designed to freeze the peace process, to bypass the public and international support the Geneva Initiative gained after it was signed on December 1, 2003 and to prevent the formation of a Palestinan state.

That is what Cohen evades: Israel is opposed to the formation of a Palestinian state. That is what the peace process means for Sharon. That is why 190,000 of the 240,000 settlers will continue to remain in the occupied territories.

John Quiggin has more

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:22 AM | | Comments (0)