Clinton: Occupation robs Palestinians of dignity and self-determination and is radicalizing the Middle East

Israel/Palestine
on 30 Comments

Mark Wauck tells me I am missing the forest for the trees. There has been great progress in the American discourse, and Tom Friedman’s latest and Hillary Clinton’s speech to the Saban Center at Brookings last week reflect it. “Most will
come away from Friedman’s column remembering the strong critique of Netanyahu, 
especially re stiffing the US. Beinart’s piece, Hillary’s address at the Haim Saban institute, etc. While they’re all obviously flawed from your perspective, they all (and especially cumulatively) represent movement that was unthinkable only a few years ago.”

I try and step back now and then, and so I went over Hillary’s speech and stripped out some of Clinton’s fairer statements, supporting the Arab Peace Initiative, implicitly recognizing that Israel is destroying itself (the Jewish democracy stuff), opposing settlements, and stating that crushing Palestinian self-determination is hurting the U.S. Also note her impatience for that goddamn economic peace in the West Bank. It’s not about prosperity, it’s about political freedom. Myself I believe the horse is out of the barn for two states, but it sure looks like that Hillary is listening to liberal Zionists and Realists too, Beinarts and Mearsheimers, to try and rebuild the Establishment Israel lobby to put some pressure on Israel, a little anyway. Clinton:

But Iran and its proxies are not the only threat to regional stability or to Israel’s long-term security. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and Arab neighbors is a source of tension and an obstacle to prosperity and opportunity for all the people of the region. It denies the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and it poses a threat to Israel’s future security. It is at odds also with the interests of the United States.

I know that improvements in security and growing prosperity have convinced some that this conflict can be waited out or largely ignored. This view is wrong and it is dangerous. The long-term population trends that result from the occupation are endangering the Zionist vision of a Jewish and democratic state in the historic homeland of the Jewish people. Israelis should not have to choose between preserving both elements of their dream. But that day is approaching.

At the same time, the ever-evolving technology of war, especially the expanding reach of the rockets amassed on Israel’s borders means that it will be increasingly difficult to guarantee the security of Israeli families throughout the country without implementing peace agreements that answer these threats.

Continuing conflict also strengthens the hands of extremists and rejectionists across the region while sapping the support of those open to coexistence and cooperation. Radicalization of the region’s young people and growing support for violent ideologies undermine the stability and prosperity of the Middle East. The United States looks at these trends. We reflect on our deep and unwavering support of the state of Israel and we conclude without a shadow of a doubt that ending this conflict once and for all and achieving a comprehensive regional peace is imperative for safeguarding Israelis’ future.

We also look at our friends the Palestinians, and we remember the painful history of a people who have never had a state of their own, and we are renewed in our determination to help them finally realize their legitimate aspirations. The lack of peace and the occupation that began in 1967 continue to deprive the Palestinian people of dignity and self-determination. This is unacceptable, and, ultimately, it too is unsustainable….

But let me be clear: The position of the United States on settlements has not changed and will not change. Like every American administration for decades, we do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity. We believe their continued expansion is corrosive not only to peace efforts and two-state solution, but to Israel’s future itself.

And finally, on Jerusalem which is profoundly important for Jews, Muslims, and Christians everywhere. There will surely be no peace without an agreement on this, the most sensitive of all the issues. The religious interests of people of all faiths around the world must be respected and protected. We believe that through good faith negotiations, the parties should mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations for both parties, for Jerusalem, and safeguard its status for people around the world…

we hope to see a significant curtailment of incursions by Israeli troops into Palestinian areas.

But for all the progress on the ground and all that the Palestinian Authority has accomplished, a stubborn truth remains: While economic and institutional progress is important, indeed necessary, it is not a substitute for a political resolution. The legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people will never be satisfied, and Israel will never enjoy secure and recognized borders until there is a two-state solution that ensures dignity, justice, and security for all.

…We continue to support the vision of the Arab Peace Initiative, a vision of a better future for all the people of the Middle East.

30 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    December 13, 2010, 3:00 pm

    Glad you followed the Saban fund raising event

    “But let me be clear: The position of the United States on settlements has not changed and will not change. Like every American administration for decades, we do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity. We believe their continued expansion is corrosive not only to peace efforts and two-state solution, but to Israel’s future itself.

    And finally, on Jerusalem which is profoundly important for Jews, Muslims, and Christians everywhere. There will surely be no peace without an agreement on this, the most sensitive of all the issues. The religious interests of people of all faiths around the world must be respected and protected. We believe that through good faith negotiations, the parties should mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations for both parties, for Jerusalem, and safeguard its status for people around the world…

    we hope to see a significant curtailment of incursions by Israeli troops into Palestinian areas.”

    And we are supposed to get excited about these words? What has the Obama administration done to stop the growing illegal settlements? What?
    Did Hillary say anything about how the money at this event would be used?

    One thing she did not do is say that all of Jerusalem belongs to Israel as Obama has basically said. That was a good thing

    • jonah
      December 13, 2010, 7:28 pm

      Israel has not valid alternative to settlement activities at the moment. There is no serious peace partner – if Israel were to capitulate to the preconditions of the Palestinian Authority only to start peace negotiations, I do not even want to imagine how the Palestinian conditions could be for an alleged peace agreement …

      It reminds of what Abba Ebanso aptly said after Israel won a decisive war started by the Arabs in 1967:
      ““This was the first war in history that on the morrow the victors sued for peace and the vanquished called for unconditional surrender.”

      • Potsherd2
        December 13, 2010, 10:29 pm

        Israel has a clear alternative to settlement activity – not conducting any settlement activity.

        A quid pro quo is not required in order for an honest person to do the right thing, or not to do the wrong one.

      • jonah
        December 14, 2010, 12:43 pm

        Are you living in a bubble, potsherd? A quid pro quo is exactly what is required in Middle East affairs. Pretend otherwise is to deny the very essence of this reality. But actually not really surprised by your sweet visions of the moon.

      • Potsherd2
        December 13, 2010, 11:28 pm

        Oh, and Israel was the aggressor in the 1967 war.

      • Sumud
        December 14, 2010, 2:38 am

        Israel has not valid alternative to settlement activities at the moment.

        It’s amazing what “ain breira” (“no choice”) is used to justify. For future reference, I don’t think that’s going to stand up at the ICJ/ICC, or in the court of public opinion.

      • Shingo
        December 14, 2010, 7:31 am

        It’s amazing what “ain breira” (“no choice”) is used to justify. For future reference, I don’t think that’s going to stand up at the ICJ/ICC, or in the court of public opinion.

        Yes, what greater admission that Israel is a failed state and a failing enterprise, that to accept that Israel has to violate International Law and the Geneva Conventions to maintain it’s existence?

      • Psychopathic god
        December 14, 2010, 12:58 pm

        in hiss revised history of 1948, Benny Morris admitted the documented facts (!) — Israelis had killed far more Arabs, far more Arab civilians, than Arabs had killed Jews and Jewish civilians. But Israel’s behavior was justified, claimed Morris, because “our backs were to the wall.”

        In one of his last campaign speeches, Obama said Iran had to back down lest Israel strike out at Iran, and that Israelis felt “their backs are to the wall.”

        So “no valid alternative” might signal a step in a new direction. Good news?

      • pjdude
        December 14, 2010, 6:46 am

        yet again an Israeli support projects their own failings onto the palestinians

      • Shingo
        December 14, 2010, 7:27 am

        There is no serious peace partner

        Actually, according to this articel in Haaretz, it’s the Palestinians who are waiting for a partner.

        Contrary to the claim made by a New York Times commentator that Abbas rejected Ehud Olmert’s generous proposal, the woman who was the foreign minister in his government has said on a number of occasions that the Palestinians did not reject this proposal and that it is sitting on the shelf waiting for an Israeli partner.

        link to haaretz.com

      • Shingo
        December 14, 2010, 7:29 am

        It reminds of what Abba Ebanso aptly said after Israel won a decisive war started by the Arabs in 1967:

        I’m not sure what war you are referring to, but there was a 6 day war in 1967 that Israel started and have admitted to starting for 30 years.

      • Sumud
        December 14, 2010, 10:00 am

        hey shingo your Eban quote went missing I think..

  2. kalithea
    December 13, 2010, 8:46 pm

    Sure, there’s a few breadcrumbs there but why does she have to mix them up with b.s. crap like this?:

    “At the same time, the ever-evolving technology of war, especially the expanding reach of the rockets amassed on Israel’s borders means that it will be increasingly difficult to guarantee the security of Israeli families throughout the country without implementing peace agreements that answer these threats.”

    Pffffft.

    She’s being totally dishonest. She’s not referring either to Palestinians or specifically, even Hamas. She’s referring to Hezbollah! Why does she prejudice and conflate the Palestinians’ effort on security, which she indirectly referred to here: “I know that improvements in security and growing prosperity have convinced some that this conflict can be waited out or largely ignored.” with that other load of misleading garbage?

    And then this: “The long-term population trends that result from the occupation are endangering the Zionist vision of a Jewish and democratic state in the historic homeland of the Jewish people.”

    “the Zionist vision of a Jewish […] state in the historic homeland of the Jewish people” — oh yeah, encourage the delusion while you’re at it, Hillary. Jewish state…that’s the whole problem, now isn’t it, Hillary? Zionist vision? Zionism is what’s standing in the way of Palestinians having their rights and state, hillllaaaary! She would have been more honest had she said the “racist” state! Because that’s what Zionism is all about.

    As far as I’m concerned this is dishonest, it’s prejudicial and it’s more of the same coddling, biased, hand-holding rhetoric. Why fool ourselves into thinking that Hillary is anything but an enabler of Zionism?

    She’s just pissed that Netanyahu didn’t take the bribe because she’ll have a hard time explaining the next veto at the U.N. while keeping her credibility intact.

    Empty, useless, toothless rhetoric.

    • Potsherd2
      December 14, 2010, 10:39 am

      She’s standing next to her paymaster, of course she’s going to say what he wants to hear.

  3. Sin Nombre
    December 13, 2010, 8:51 pm

    Phil Weiss wrote:

    “Myself I believe the horse is out of the barn for two states….”

    Don’t know for sure but to the extent that there’s a gleam of happiness there it might be time to once again articulate the distinctly unhappy idea that the death of the Two States isn’t going to produce happy.

    E.g., Israel holding out against Two States and anything else as long as possible, and then against One State too, and then at the last minute simply declaring its boundaries so as to cut out as many Palestinians as possible and saying to the world that they are not in the One State, so there World, go pound salt.

    And then, as regards those arabs *still* in Israel, just continue to discriminate against them and pull all the shenanigans it has (as well as others that will be thought of) to persuade them to leave, and, failing that, expelling them, period.

    Seems to me even Ehud Olmert who so feared the One State idea (because he thought it would move the Israeli public) must now realize how he underestimated that public’s refusal to abide by any arab presence that threatens the “jewish character” of Israel. As this latest rabbi letter just illustrates all over (to me at least), the Israelis aren’t the Afrikaaners: They aren’t going to fold like those white South Africans did. They have far far far deeper roots to their beliefs that their opponents illegitimately threaten their state. Many of which beliefs are religious, or so deeply culturally embedded now so as to be indistinguishable from the religious, which didn’t exist with the Afrikaaner’s aversion to blacks. Not going to be hard for them to see a “demographic Holocaust” if they don’t ethnically cleanse. And the Israelis are heavily armed, and likely to remain so by the U.S. long enough to empower them to do whatever. And they have nukes too, and a patent willingness to go apocalyptic if they see “their” Israel as being threatened.

    I don’t think Israel would ever go so far as to … put its arabs in ovens for instance. But one can well imagine (and indeed already hear hints of same from some quarters) arguments that damn near anything short of same would be okay because they are *not* using ovens.

    Look again at this business with these rabbi’s letter: Yeah yeah, some denunciations that can all-to-easily seem to be made only over the idea that the rabbis made their do-not-rent-or-sell call publicly. But is there really even any weight behind the idea that those rabbis who signed who are on the public payroll should get kicked off of same at the very least? Not that I see as of yet.

    Israel is not South Africa I don’t think.

    • eee
      December 13, 2010, 10:42 pm

      Sin Nombre,

      At least you understand Israel’s option to make unilateral moves. There may be 2 states, I hope so very much. But there will never be one state.

      Unlike the South African whites that needed the blacks as labor, Israel has no need for the Palestinians whatsoever. That is a major economic difference that you should take into account.

      I am an atheist and find the Rabbi’s letter offensive. That is not the issue. The issue is the second intifada and the zero trust between the communities. That plus the fact that I would rather die then see any Fatah or Hamas official governing me.

      • Sin Nombre
        December 13, 2010, 11:45 pm

        “Unlike the South African whites that needed the blacks as labor, Israel has no need for the Palestinians whatsoever.”

        That’s a great point I had not thought of. Very astute. Thank you.

      • kalithea
        December 14, 2010, 1:51 am

        Astute? That’s not how I would describe that comment. More like a heap of hypocrisy.

      • Hostage
        December 14, 2010, 3:16 am

        Uri Davis and John Quigley both have cited instances in which Afrikaaners and the government of South Africa actually did justify apartheid on religious grounds. I’ve included some links below.

        Israel has always depended upon the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs as a cheap source of labor. Since the second intifada, they have simply transitioned to the employment of more foreign guest workers. That practice has created yet another so-called “demographic threat” from the children of those foreign workers. The crimes of genocide and apartheid have overlapping definitions. The Afrikaaners didn’t necessarily want to physically destroy their black laborers, but Israel has been charged with the crime of apartheid and of carrying-out massacres and a program of slow-motion genocide and ethnic cleansing in the occupied territories.

        Davis notes that in ‘Strange Nonalliance’, New York Times, 28 April 1971, C. L. Sulzberger wrote:”Afrikaner South Africa and Jewish Israel both began in 1948 when the Nationalist party gained control of this country [south Africa] and Palestine was partitioned. South Africa was one of the first states to recognize Israel. Its Prime Minister D. F. Malan was the first foreign chief of government to visit it. The Afrikaner sees Israel as another small nation, surrounded by enemies, where the Bible and a revived language are vital factors. As Jannie Kruger, former editor of Die Transvaler wrote: ‘The Afrikaners … are par excellence the nation of the Book.’ The fundamentalist Boers trekked northward with gun in one hand and Bible in the other. Like Israel, South Africa feels the role of language and religion are important to national survival. Prime Minister Vorster even goes so far as to say Israel is now faced with an apartheid problem — how to handle its Arab inhabitants. Neither nation wants to place its future entirely in the hands of a surrounding majority and would prefer to fight. Both South Africa and Israel are in a sense intruded states. They were built by pioneers organizing abroad and settling in partially inhabited areas. The only people here when the first Dutch arrived were Bushmen and Hottentots, but the Zulus would be living in Johannesburg were it not for the Boers’ northward trek.”

        Uri Davis also quotes remarks along those same lines that were made by Jan Christiaan Smuts during an address to the South African Zionist Federation and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies in the Town Hall, Johannesburg, on 3 November 1919. The “Die Transvaler” newspaper had asked:”And is there any real difference between the way that the people of Israel are trying to maintain themselves amid non-Jewish peoples and the way the Afrikaner is trying to remain what he is? The people of Israel base themselves upon the Old Testament to explain why they do not wish to mix with other people: the Afrikaner does this too.”

      • Sin Nombre
        December 14, 2010, 7:17 am

        Does anyone really believe that the Israelis have anywhere near the need for the Palestinians as the Afrikaaners had for the South African blacks?

        If not—and I think it manifest not—eee’s point was indeed very well taken as an analytical one. While one may wish to perceive some moral point about whatever degree to which Israel has used Palestinian labor, that doesn’t mean it’s the only significance of that far more limited degree, which was indeed the other significance that I was getting at.

        (Moreover given the Israeli ability to import non-Palestinian workers—like other rich ME states do from, say, Indonesia and etc.—one might even perceive that Israel’s willingness to use Palestinian labor shows a positive moral point in terms of Israelis not being adverse to sharing wealth with the Palestinians, trading with them, working with and next to them and etc. and so forth, instead of treating them like slaves which they clearly do not. Whatever else the Israeli’s sins. Nevertheless of course if one wishes they can still proclaim it and indeed everything else Israel does as just totally morally black, even if same reminds one of Marshall McLuhan’s famous quip to the effect that “moral indignation is often just a technique used by idiots to endow themselves with dignity.”)

        In any event in the same previous analytical vein, does anyone really believe that the religious (or indeed other) roots of the Afrikaaner’s belief in apartheid run anywhere near the religious (or other) roots of the Israelis’ belief in possessing and maintaining a jewish-dominated state?

        While it *is* interesting to note as Hostage does that the Afrikaaners did cobble together *some* hokey religious basis for their racism, I at least don’t see it as having anywhere near the religious (or quasi-religious) depth of the jewish desire for an essentially jewish-only state.

        One again it seems to me, an important analytical facet with potentially large implications.

      • Koshiro
        December 14, 2010, 9:25 am

        “That’s a great point I had not thought of.”
        Si tacuisses…
        South Africa only “needed” a minor part of the black population as labor – mostly unskilled labor of little economic consequence. And of course South Africa was very keen on shutting the majority of black people away. Hence Bantustans, which were not at all an economic asset, but a major liability, heavily dependent on SA subsidies.

        Of course, keeping economic opportunities from an impoverished population right around the corner is economically idiotic anyway.

      • Sin Nombre
        December 14, 2010, 1:07 pm

        “Si tacuisses….”

        That’s hilarious, Koshiro. I’d never heard that one before. Still think I was right, but if one has to be put down that’s the way to get it. (And give it.)
        Thanks.

      • kalithea
        December 14, 2010, 1:49 am

        Complete and total rubbish. Who do you think is building the sprawling settlements? Palestinian cheap labor!

        You would rather die than see yourself ruled by Fatah or Hamas? Well, dearie, NOW YOU KNOW HOW PALESTINIANS FEEL being ruled by your precious Israel with its Netanyahus, its Liebermans and all those friends of yours on the West Bank!

        I’m so glad you made that statement! Just goes to show the height of your hypocrisy.

      • occupyresist
        December 14, 2010, 2:53 am

        “The issue is the second intifada and the zero trust between the communities.”

        The issue is the ruthless terrorism of the Israeli state, but I guess you forgot to mention that one. Frankly, I admire the Palestinians for THEIR restraint.

        Compounded by the fact that you in Israel cannot seem to wrap your head around the massive injustices perpetrated against the Palestinians from 1948-onwards, and your dogmatic belief that you have sole rights to these lands.

        Enjoy keeping those blinders on.

      • Potsherd2
        December 14, 2010, 6:04 am

        The Boers said they would rather die than be ruled by blacks, but what they meant is that they would rather kill.

        In the end, they either adapted or left.

      • Shingo
        December 14, 2010, 7:35 am

        At least you understand Israel’s option to make unilateral moves. There may be 2 states, I hope so very much. But there will never be one state.

        As always eee, you have it completely backwards.

        The 2 state option is dead and the single state is innevitable.

        Indeed, Eban once told a hard-line government that in refusing territorial compromise, Israel was “tearing up its own birth certificate. Israel’s birth is intrinsically and intimately linked with the idea of sharing territory and sovereignty.”

  4. Linda J
    December 14, 2010, 12:49 am

    “…I would rather die then see any Fatah or Hamas official governing me.”

    Good to see you’ve got a plan for that contingency.

    • Shingo
      December 14, 2010, 7:37 am

      …I would rather die then see any Fatah or Hamas official governing me.

      eee sounds like the Tea Party who said they’d rather die then see a nigger governing them.

      I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they use the same language.

  5. yourstruly
    December 14, 2010, 9:22 am

    Left out of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech was any mention of the fact that it’s Israel’s intransigence vis-a-vis a peace accord with Palestinians that’s stoking the violence that endangers U.S. troops in Afghanistan and national security*. Nor did she raise the dual loyalty issue with her Israel-first audience. Too bad, opportunity missed, since that’s the only issue that Israel-firsters have difficulty responding to, the only issue that worries them personally, the only issue that has the potential to move the public. But it’s not surprising that Secretary Clinton and other officials remain silent on the dual loyalty issue, what’s surprising is that it gets so little attention from the justice for Palestine movement. What’s holding us back?

    *as per recent statements from General David Petreaus and Vice President Joe Biden, among others

  6. sherbrsi
    December 14, 2010, 10:48 pm

    Whether the death of two states is productive or not, it is high time to recognize that the opportunity for it has been long lost. Israel has poured a hundred billion dollars into the settlements and related construction connecting Israel to the OT. Are the Israelis so foolish as to make this exclusive infrastructure over to the Palestinians in some peace deal?

    Of course not, even though in their ignorance the Israelis will have to confront what they fear the most: a demographic that they painstakingly removed and kept in exile, asking for equal rights.

    In reality the 2SS died the minute Israel rejected 1967 as a basis of two states and began with its settlement enterprise. Now Netanyahu has declared major settlement blocs in the WB to be eternally Israeli. If the occupation robs the Palestinians of self-determination, as Hillary says, then the settlements (and any extention of sovereign jurisdiction by Israel in the blocs it has claimed for its own and has practically annexed anyhow) is the death blow for the Palestinian state.

    Couple that with EJ which is rapidly being made Arabrein and cannot even be discussed in the context of Palestinian ownership. The ROR is again unacceptable to any self-respecting Zionist. So one must ask, why are the Israelis always complaining that it has no real partner for peace, when it preemptively declares all issues sustaining the conflict to be non-negotiable?

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