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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Jimmy Carter on Gaza. Plus: Brits do the right thing

Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson (former president of Ireland) have written an important piece on the tragedy in Gaza. The opening is either maddening or clever, depending on how you interpret it...
Israelis and Palestinians are still burying their loved ones as Gaza's third war in six years continues. Since July 8, when this war began, more than 1,600 Palestinian and 65 Israeli lives have been sacrificed.
The first sentence nods toward the liberal American pretense that both parties have been equally at fault, while the second drives home the obvious fact that this thing is a one-sided massacre. Carter and Robinson go on to provide details that most Americans will never know...
This tragedy results from the deliberate obstruction of a promising move toward peace in the region, when a reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions was announced in April. This was a major concession by Hamas, in opening Gaza to joint control under a technocratic government that did not include any Hamas members. The new government also pledged to adopt the three basic principles demanded by the Middle East Quartet comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia: nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to past agreements. Tragically, Israel rejected this opportunity for peace and has succeeded in preventing the new government's deployment in Gaza.

Two factors are necessary to make Palestinian unity possible. First, there must be at least a partial lifting of the 7-year-old sanctions and blockade that isolate the 1.8 million people in Gaza. There must also be an opportunity for the teachers, police, and welfare and health workers on the Hamas payroll to be paid. These necessary requirements for a human standard of living continue to be denied. Instead, Israel blocked Qatar's offer to provide funds to pay civil servants' salaries, and access to and from Gaza has been further tightened by Egypt and Israel.
In a surprising but welcome move -- one which is sure to be reviled by the neocons and Islamophobes who control the American media -- Carter and Robinson recommend that the United States deal with Hamas as a legitimate political force.
The international community's initial goal should be the full restoration of the free movement of people and goods to and from Gaza through Israel, Egypt, and the sea. Concurrently, the United States and EU should recognize that Hamas is not just a military but also a political force. Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor -- one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people -- can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons
I disagree only with Carter and Robinson's contention that the ultimate goal should be a two-state solution. One need whisper but one word -- Lebanon -- to demonstrate that no state bordering Israel will ever be safe. Security will come only with a one-state solution -- a new, truly democratic Israel founded on the principle of non-racism, a state in which Palestinians have an equal vote, a equal right to exercise political power, and a full right of return.

Brits taking action. Even though the BBC has provided one-sided and unfair coverage of the disaster in Gaza, many people in Britain understand full well what is going on. And they're doing something about it.
Palestine campaigners have chained the doors shut and are occupying the roof of an arms factory in Shenstone in Staffordshire that is owned by an Israeli military company and manufactures engines for drones that have been exported to Israel.
The Shenstone factory operates under the name UAV Engines Limited, a UK registered company owned by Elbit Systems, Israel's largest weapons company and the world's largest manufacturer of drones. The drone engines produced at the factory have been exported to Israel in 2010, 2011 and 2012, according to official government data.

In 2009, Amnesty International pointed to evidence that engines from the factory were used in Hermes 450 drones that have been documented as documented as being used to deliberately attack and kill civilians during the 2008-09 Operation Cast Lead attack on Gaza.
The factory is also a key part of the £1bn Watchkeeper program under which Elbit Systems is leading the manufacture of a new generation of drones for the UK military. The Watchkeeper drone is based on the Hermes 450, documented as being used to kill Palestinian civilians during the 2008-09 attack on Gaza.
Since the beginning of the ongoing Israeli military assault of Gaza Elbit shares have climbed 6.1 percent. According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Israel's attack "has pushed [Elbit's] stock close to the highest level since 2010 while its valuation on a price-to-earnings basis is near the most expensive in five years."
There's always a way to profit from mass slaughter.

The action is still going on at this writing. This Birmingham Mail story includes a surprising detail...
A banner displaying the message 'UK: Stop Arming Israel' was unfurled across the top of the building while demonstrators, kitted out with tents and sleeping bags, shouted 'Free Palestine' and other slogans.

The banner was said to be tied to the throat of an activist and that any attempt to pull it down would "break someone's neck".
This brave tactic would not work in a less civilized country, such as the United States. Some members of our police forces joined that profession precisely because they wanted an opportunity to "break someone's neck."
One caveat...the one-state land should officialy be called Palestine.
If the Jews which remain wish to call it "Israel" amongst themselves, fine.
What's in a name? I hope we don't ruin peace with a argument over a name. "Palestine" was a name originated by the Romans, and I don't think anyone wants to honor THEIR memory.

Maybe we could go the Apple route and call the new state iPal?

I think the best thing to do is to come up with a name that would offend EVERYONE. Call the new state Lady Gaga. Or W.C. Fields. Or Chico Marx. Or Rivendell. Or...
In the secular state of Italy there is a symbolic religious state, Vatican City. Why couldn't a small symbolic Jewish state of Israel be established inside a secular single state? Or is that too simple?
Call it Abraham.
Abraham or Ibrahim?

Coele Syria, mayhap.

Greater Jerusalem.

Samaria, actually, home of the Samaritans, made famous by the parable, the meaning of which is that your Jew scribe who leaves you beaten and bloodied in the gutter isn't your brother, the heathen Samaritan who helps you is.

A federal state, maybe, with three Jewish and three Palestinian sub-states in the areas set out by the original plan for the partition of the Mandate of Palestine by the UN.

Taking liberties has a piece from a few years ago which I think is about the same factory arming Israel and being protested. They do, to be fair, stop short of breaking necks.

Call it Ishamel.
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