We all remember the schoolyard bully, the girl or boy who set the rules and forced the rest of us to play by those rules, enforced by threats of the loss of backpacks and lunch money.
In the past few years I have found it impossible to look at the current Israeli government as anything other than that bully on the Middle East playground.
The latest example arrived this week when the Jewish Telegraph Agency reported:
The Fatah party, led by P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, on Wednesday signed an agreement with Hamas that would lead to a unity government within five weeks.
Actually, that news lead was in the fifth paragraph of the JTA story. Setting the tone for all international mainstream media coverage, JTA’s solemn report began:
Israel formally suspended peace talks with the Palestinian Authority over the P.A.’s national unity accord signed with the Hamas authority in the Gaza Strip.
“The Cabinet today unanimously decided that Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for Israel’s destruction,” said a statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released Thursday afternoon.
Oh, the irony: Israel “formally suspended peace talks” they were determined to destroy from the outset.
This is Jon Stewart Comedy Central humor territory. He knows how to make fun of news reports in which the bully is the focus of the story, who stands in the playground corner and shouts, “Hamas is a terrorist organization that calls for Israel’s destruction.”
Pity the poor new kid in town who shouts in response, “so’s your old man; takes one to know one”. In an instant, that will be a kid without a backpack or lunch money.
The JTA has more to report from from the playground: “In addition, Israel will respond to unilateral Palestinian action with a series of measures.”
And what, pray tell, would those responses be?
JTA wants to be helpful, suggesting the obvious, “In the past, responses have included accelerated settlement building and suspending tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.”
More Israeli settlement building and no Palestinian tax transfers? Nothing new there.
The Elders, an international group of veteran leaders, which includes former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, weighed in on the story in more measured tones:
The Elders welcome the reconciliation agreement signed in Gaza on 23 April by Hamas and Fatah representatives. Since 2007, the Fatah-Hamas division has been the source of a rift between the West Bank and Gaza, making a viable peace between Israelis and Palestinians more challenging.
Shorn of schoolyard language, the Elders described the agreement:
The parties have agreed to form within five weeks an interim, technocratic Palestinian National Authority government and six months thereafter prepare for presidential and legislative elections in Palestine.
The Elders issued a comment from Jimmy Carter, which in the context of schoolyard bullying banter, reads like a calming word of reassurance from a school grown-up:
“I commend the Palestinians for having secured this agreement, and I urge all parties to implement it swiftly, and in good faith. Any remaining differences must be resolved peacefully. When the Palestinians elect a new leadership – provided the elections are conducted in accordance with international standards – I strongly urge the international community to respect the democratic choices of the Palestinian people.”
These words are not welcome in the ruling circles in Israel nor the U.S. government, as was made obvious when, on cue from their Zionist handlers, congressional leaders rushed onto the playground to retaliate with their “instant call”.
Al Monitor has the congressional story:
Wednesday’s announcement of a reconciliation between the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah triggered an instant call for retaliation on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the author of the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, called for an immediate suspension of US aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The 2006 law, passed after Hamas won that year’s legislative elections, prohibits support for a “Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority.”
“The Administration must halt aid to the Palestinian Authority and condition any future assistance as leverage to force Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] to abandon this reconciliation with Hamas and to implement real reforms within the PA.”
You want your school lunch money? You want your backpack? Then play by our rules, kid, or go home.
In conclusion, take three minutes to consider the scene below from Hebron, where the Israeli Defense Forces control the civilian population, from the old to the young.
The Israeli soldiers in the video below, taken by the International Solidarity Movement, are not the bullies.
They are the minions who do the will of their Bully bosses and pay masters in Tel Aviv and Washington.
Weep for the soldiers, as you most certainly will weep for their 6-year-old victim, who has been detained on his way to school.
What else is new? That is the lopsided logic and double standards that have prevailed throughout the so called peace process.
It will be interesting to see if Kerry and company can resurrect anything substantive from these ashes.
Hamas needed to give up a lot in being serious about reconciling with Fatah. Both seem to have accepted the US position of 1) nonviolence against Israel; 2) acceptance of the Israeli State (which the PLO did way back in 1988, and in 1994 (Oslo). 3) Democratic elections (which are supposed to be coming.
It is high time the Palestinians have worked toward a united presence to the Occupation of their country. Israel has used their disunity as an argument to not negotiating with them seriously. And now Israel is using their projected unity as an argument to not negotiate with them seriously. Truth is they have never wanted a true autonomous Palestinian State alongside of their One State. As we all know, the negotiations have always been a charade.
Jeffrey Goldberg on PBS tonight (see it on their website if you haven’t heard it) is a spokesperson for the Netanyahu administration. He trots out the Hamas Charter which pledges the end of the Zionist entity, but fails to mention the Likud charter which states unequivocally that all the land belongs to the Israeli/Jewish state.
These are the conflicting narratives over which neither side wants to compromise. Yet Kerry keeps saying that compromise is necessary on the part of the leadership. But who holds all the right cards in this rigged Poker match? And the US backs the Israeli position. So why should the Israelis compromise? There is absolutely NO incentive, no threat of withholding US support, financial or military or economic support. Who is on the bottom here? And why are they doing what they are doing to seek international legitimacy?
The UN has recognized their existence as a non-member state. Israel thinks they are the ones to declare the existence of a Palestinian State and grant its legitimacy. Many, many nations are granting the Palestinians legitimacy and Israel hates it. They won’t stand for it. They will do all in their power to keep this baby from being born and flourishing.
They are convinced a Palestinian State is sworn to Israeli destruction. How can they be disabused of that notion, when it is so deeply ingrained in their Holocaust-based psyche?
Good for Carter and the “Elders” for whatever influence they have. Precious little I fear. JRK
Thanks Jim. Unbelievable — a political reconciliation invite “retaliation” from Congress.
A cruel irony is that is seems the only issue on which there can be bipartisan agreement in Congress, which by this logic deserves retaliation from the rest of us, is Palestinian non-violent advances.
I can’t weep for the soldiers, Jim, as I can’t weep for those who are cruel and inhumane. I think Israel would commit genocide against the Palestinians to get what they want. The writing is indeed on the wall. They have become a nation without mercy, and we are their enabler.
Of course, Israel and the US are both bullies. I can’t tell you how ashamed I am of our government, that is run by warmongers, people with kill lists, and Israel Firsters. It’s bleak.
Personally, I believe that any unity with Fatah under its present leadership is tantamount to betrayal of Palestinian dream to recover, full or part of it, their lost homeland to foreign Jews. Hizbullah since the 1980s have proved that the only way to force Israel to make peace with its neighbors is by a military resistance.
Yesterday I read two different views on the latest Hamas-Fatah charade by two Israeli Jewish writers. Larry Derfner claims that by joining Hamas, “Abbas just shot the Palestinian cause in the foot“. On the other hand, Noam Sheizaf says that “if you believe in peace, the Fatah-Hamas is good news more for Israel than Palestinians“.
Biting commentary, Jim…just right and appropriate to a situation that should be the stuff of comedy but is all too real terror-cum-tragedy. These Zionist tactics are predictable, opportunistic, typical, psychosis-driven, and can only be disgusting to good Jews and all humans. At the very top of my prayer list is that this reconciliation will proceed smoothly and be realized; that all inalienable Palestinian rights will be reiterated and institutionalized within a unity government; and that each and every Palestinian will keep his/her eye on the ball, never losing sight of the fact that the Zionists running Israel are the enemy, not fellow Palestinians. Viva Palestine!
Outstanding article, Jim. Thank you, also, for the heart-jerking video clip that illustrates just one example of what Zionist Israel is really like behind its flashy mask.
Unity of the Palestinian movement should be non-negotiable. Anyone who divides it up, for any reason, should be rejected as a traitor.
Unlike Hamas, or Fateh, Israel does not “threaten” to destroy Palestine. Israel has ALREADY destroyed Palestine and has continued to do so for the past 66 years. It is Israel that denies the Palestinian Nakba-Holocaust. It is Israel that censors the Palestinian narrative. It is Israel that wants to brand Palestinian Christians as non-Arabs, exactly like the Nazis of Germany marked Jews to differentiate them from the Aryan Race.
We Palestinian Christians are proud to be Arabs and our DNA is every bit as Arab as any other Muslim or Druze Arab Palestinians.
Furthermore, the Israeli “Unity Government’ is composed of despicable terrorist elements, parties, and groups that call for the usurpation of all of what remains of Palestine; They planted 550,000 illegal American and Russian settler-thugs to steal Palestinian property and uproot Palestinian communities all over East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
It is a huge mistake to accommodate Zionist-Israel’s criminal history, tactics, and strategies behind those tactics.
There should be no delay in taking Israel to the World Court right NOW.