Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Deliberate Cleansing

Regis Debray sent the French authorities a document on Palestine emphasising again that the reality on the ground has put the two-state solution in serious jeorpardy.

"The maps show that the physical, economic and human basis for a viable Palestinian state is disappearing. The two-state solution and Israeli writer Amos Oz's "fair divorce" (a territory shared between two national homes, one smaller than the other and demilitarised but sovereign, viable and continuous) are now empty phrases belonging to the realm of might-have-been. Some might argue that we have not yet reached the point of no return and that the Israelis may have won the territorial battle (with only 22% of British mandate Palestine now outside their control) but the Palestinians are sure to win the demographic battle. They invoke the resilience of the local population in the face of the steam roller that is slowly but surely implementing the 1968 Allon Plan and the 1984 "Road Plan 50".

It is clear from developments on the ground that:

o the purpose of the security wall is not, as is believed, to trace a border that, however illegal (since it encloses over 10% of the West Bank), will at least serve as the dotted line for a future international frontier;

o it is true (as Ehud Omert said on Israeli army radio on 20 March 2006) that Israel's strategic border lies on the Jordan: the whole valley has been declared a forbidden area and the intervening area has been nibbled away (cross-river transit is only possible at certain points);

o the new east-west bypass roads built at the expense of the old north-south axis clearly chart a territory in the process of annexation, with space for three or four Arab bantustans (Jenin, Ramallah and Jericho). The exhaustion of natural resources in these overcrowded enclaves will eventually lead to massive emigration (much of the elite, especially Christian, has already left); and

o with the construction of the separation wall, the ongoing judaisation of East Jerusalem and reconfiguration of the Jerusalem municipality, the UN's repeated but purely formal condemnations have no effect on Israel's grip on the whole city."

Obvious to the rest of us. What about Oslo and the Road Map?

"Understanding how public opinion works in a democracy, successive Israeli governments of the left and right take care to administer regular painkillers, plans for unilateral withdrawal or the partial dismantlement of settlements and encouraging announcements that are always conditional and come to nothing. The media live from day to day, with no attempt to remember. Who now recalls that the road map (3) was supposed to be "a final and comprehensive settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict by 2005"?

The Oslo process did not just remain a dead letter: with the military reoccupation of Zones A and B (4) in April 2002, it went into reverse."

Dare we repeat ourselves?

"What is taking shape is not the Palestinian state announced and desired by all: it is an as yet unperceived Israeli territory enclosing three self-governing Palestinian enclaves."

Who can stop the bleeding? The EU? Maybe not.

"Is this situation tenable to the end of the century? It seems doubtful, given Israel's obsession with security, which makes it less secure, and its disregard for the demographic and religious trends in the region. Could not at least one European government convey to our Israeli friends that we are not all taken in by the deception, and that those who deceive may not be its first victims - but will certainly be its last?"

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