THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
May 18, 2011
counterpunch.org

A Taste of the Future?
Israel in a Strategic Dead End

by Jonathan Cook

They are extraordinary scenes. Film shot on mobile phones captured the moment on Sunday when at least 1,000 Palestinian refugees marched across no-man's land to one of the most heavily protected borders in the world, the one separating Syria from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Waving Palestinian flags, the marchers braved a minefield, then tore down a series of fences, allowing more than 100 to run into Israeli-controlled territory. As they embraced Druze villagers on the other side, voices could be heard saying: "This is what liberation looks like."

Unlike previous years, this Nakba Day was not simply a commemoration of the catastrophe that befell the Palestinians in 1948, when their homeland was forcibly reinvented as the Jewish state. It briefly reminded Palestinians that, despite their long-enforced dispersion, they still have the potential to forge a common struggle against Israel.

As Israel violently cracked down on last Sunday's protests on many fronts -- in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem and on the borders with Syria and Lebanon -- it looked less like a military superpower and more like the proverbial boy with his finger in the dam.

The Palestinian "Arab Spring" is arriving and Israel has no diplomatic or political strategy to deal with it. Instead on Sunday, Israel used the only weapon in its current arsenal -- brute force -- against unarmed demonstrators.

Along the northern borders, at least 14 protesters were killed and dozens wounded, both at Majdal Shams in the Golan and near Maroun al-Ras in Lebanon.

In Gaza, a teenager was shot dead and more than 100 other demonstrators wounded as they massed at crossing points. At Qalandiya, the main checkpoint Israel created to bar West Bank Palestinians from reaching Jerusalem, at least 40 protesters were badly injured. There were clashes in major West Bank towns too.

And inside Israel, the country's Palestinian minority took their own Nakba march for the first time into the heart of Israel, waving Palestinian flags in Jaffa, the once-famous Palestinian city that has been transformed since 1948 into a minor suburb of Tel Aviv. . . .

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Stephen J. Sniegoski, "Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism," The Wisdom Fund, June 23, 2010

George Bisharat, "Israel and Palestine: A True One-State Solution," Washington Post, September 3, 2010

"Is The Tide Turning Against Arab Freedom?," The Wisdom Fund, April 22, 2011

Catrina Stewart, "Israel Dismayed As Fatah Strikes Surprise Deal With Hamas," Independent, April 28, 2011

"Israel and Palestine Here comes your non-violent resistance," economist.com, May 17, 2011

[The Muslim Brotherhood said on Wednesday the party it formed to contest elections has chosen a Christian intellectual as vice president and numbers almost 100 Coptic Christians among its founding members.

"The number of founding members has reached 8,821 ..., including 978 women and 93 Copts. Coptic thinker Rafiq Habib has been chosen as the party's vice president," . . .

"not just because he is Christian but because he is a great intellectual and adds value to the party."--"Egypt's Brotherhood party chooses Christian VP," Agence France Presse, May 18, 2011]

Brian Becker and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, "The Profound Hypocrisy of President Obama's Speech on the Middle East," Answer Coalition, May 19, 2011

Tim Llewellyn, "BBC is 'confusing cause and effect' in its Israeli coverage," Guardian, May 23, 2011

Josef Federman, "FACT CHECK: Netanyahu speech ignores rival claims", Associated Press, May 24, 2011

Ibrahim Barzak, "Egypt permanently opens Gaza border crossing", Associated Press, May 28, 2011

[The absence of any workable plan, he said, will leave Israel in a dangerous and weak situation if the Palestinians push for UN recognition of a state later this year.--Conal Urquhart, "Israel government 'reckless and irresponsible' says ex-Mossad chief," Guardian, June 3, 2011]

Uri Avnery, "Another Theocracy in the Heart of the Muslim World," antiwar.com, June 20, 2011

[The Palestinians are planning something thoroughly obnoxious: they intend to apply to the UN for statehood.

. . . "But was the State of Israel not proclaimed unilaterally?" Our state, it may be remembered, was declared by David Ben-Gurion and his colleagues on Mai 14, 1948, without asking anyone.

But who would dare to compare?

Furthermore, these dastardly Palestinians are going to the UN General Assembly, trying to circumvent the UN Security Council where the US can block them with its veto. Dirty trick!

But just a moment! Was the State of Israel not proclaimed on the basis of a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly? To be precise: resolution 181 of November 29, 1947, on the partition of Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state?

As a matter of fact, this resolution is still in force. It served as the centerpiece of Israel's Declaration of Independence, and serves now as a basis for the Palestinian demand that the State of Palestine be accepted as a full-fledged member of the United Nations.--Uri Avnery, "Sacred Mantras: Not Even Good Propaganda Anymore," counterpunch.org, June 28, 2011]

[Paid stooges in Washington talk about Israel's strategic importance to the US. That's a dream, much as the strength of Israel's army is a dream. There are two strategic allies in the Middle East, Egypt with their control of the Suez Canal and Turkey with their control of the Bosporus, the only gateway to the Black Sea, something of immense value to the US. Turkey is also the gateway for oil from Central Asia and Northern Iraq. Another factor is Kurdistan. Israel has controlled the PKK, the communist terror group that has killed thousands in Turkey. Israel is threatening to unleash them again. In meetings with leaders in Iraq, however, I was told that Turkish military actions against the PKK, even inside Iraq were welcomed. Kurds in Iraq hate the PKK and have long seen it as destructive.--Gordon Duff, "Israel and the Upcoming Nuclear War: The 'Unthinkable' is Now Inevitable," veteranstoday.com, September 11, 2011]

[Erdogan repeatedly stressed, "Egypt and Turkey are hand-in-hand." But it's the subtext that is even more incendiary. While Israel's former good friends Egypt and Turkey are now hand-in-hand, Israel is left isolated facing a wall. There could not be a more earth-shattering development in the Levant - unheard of since the Camp David peace accords between Israel and Egypt in 1978.--Pepe Escobar, "Turkey takes over the Arab Spring," atimes.com, September 15, 2011]

Steven Lee Myers and David D. Kirkpatrick, "U.S. Scrambles to Avert Palestinian Vote at U.N.," nytimes.com, September 15, 2011

Steven Lee Myers, "Tumult of Arab Spring Prompts Worries in Washington," nytimes.com, September 17, 2011

"Rules and regulations on the winding road to statehood," Sydney Morining Herald, September 17, 2011

[America's political power in the Middle East will this week be neutered on behalf of Israel.--Robert Fisk, "Why the Middle East will never be the same again: The Palestinians won't achieve statehood, but they will consign the 'peace process' to history," nytimes.com, September 17, 2011]

[But if, for the sake of argument, one were to accept the view expressed by President Obama - that unilateralism is a flawed political approach - then one should survey the history of unilateral moves within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and examine the US response towards them.--Neve Gordon and Yinon Cohen, "Obama's Roadblock at the UN: The One-Sided Veto," counterpunch.org, September 20, 2011]

[By placing Iran in direct opposition to Western views and plans, Khamenei skillfully exploits the rampant anxiety in Moscow and Beijing and increases these countries' incentive to support Iran in its intensifying diplomatic, political and potentially military conflict with the West.--Mahan Abedin, "Khamenei throws the gauntlet at the West," atimes.com, September 21, 2011]

Flavia Krause-Jackson and Bill Varner, "Palestinians 'Give Time' to UN on Statehood Bid," bloomberg.com, September 22, 2011

[While Obama publicly pressured Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians over settlements, he secretly sold Jerusalem deep-penetrating bombs--Eli Lake, "Obama Sold Israel Bunker-Buster Bombs," thedailybeast.com, September 23, 2011]

Akiva Eldar, "Netanyahu's speech of lies," haaretz.com, September 26, 2011

"Bill Clinton: Netanyahu isn't interested in Mideast peace deal," haaretz.com, September 26, 2011

S. Amjad Hussain, "Recognize Palestine to spur peace accord with Israel," toledoblade.com, October 3, 2011

Colum Lynch, "UNESCO votes to admit Palestine; U.S. cuts off funding," washingtonpost.com, October 31, 2011

Jordan Michael Smith, "The media consensus on Israel is collapsing: Across the political spectrum, once-taboo criticism is now common," salon.com, December 21, 2011

Desmond Tutu, "Justice requires action to stop subjugation of Palestinians," tampabay.com, April 30, 2012

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