Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I agree. A democratic one-state solution is the way to go.

But reading your SA analysis, I guess the question becomes: which groups gain economically from the present situation? Settlers are the first who come to my mind. But they are a really minor (in terms of population) group, right?

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by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 06:41:50 PM EST
YEH, a comment!  I was beginning to think I was writing into a vacuum or had the communication powers of a worm.  Maybe people are just tired of the whole topic.  Perhaps my mention of President Bush in the first 2 words of the piece was a very bad marketing ploy!

Very good question, and a difficult one to answer.  I think on the Israeli side there is the extreme Zionist dream of taking over the whole of Palestine and expelling all of the Palestinians altogether.  It becomes the Promised Land for the Chosen people.  

If you read any Zionist discourse you notice that Palestinians aren't treated as real people at all.  Their existence, other than as terrorists, is barely acknowledged.  They are regarded as imposters and interlopers who migrated to ISRAEL very much like anyone else and have no natural or prior rights there.  Very much like the Apartheid myth that South Africa was basically empty (bar a few bushmen) until the Afrikaners came along and built it up from scratch.

Israel does have the military power to expel all Palestinians and coral them into open air prisons on desert land that nobody wants, and some are obviously tempted to use it. Land, water, and natural resources are scare in the region and so it is obviously in the interests of some to grab as much of iy as they can.

On the Palestinian side it seems very much like desperation - if your business, is destroyed, your home is destroyed, and family members are killed or imprisoned, what have you got to lose?  However we also shouldn't underestimate the pettiness of power.  If I am a militia leader I can control my turf and be a big fish in a small pond - never mind the fact that most people are asphyxiating for lack of water.

When business opportunities so scarce survival depends on political power and the EU subsidies etc. that go with it.  What we learned in Northern Ireland is that a prolonged conflict brings more and desperate and violent men to power - on both sides - and their survival in power depends on a maintenance of that conflict.  If it looks like the moderates are gaining the upper hand it is easy to re-polarise the situation by letting off a few bombs thus provoking the inevitable Israeli over-reaction.  And the cycle goes on.

So the answer to your question is: remarkably few benefit from the conflict directly, and the most radical voices (willing to fight to the last drop of other people's blood) are often to be found thousands of miles away in Tehran and Washington DC.  It suits despotic Islamic regimes to have an external bogey figure in "The Jews" on which to deflect popular disaffection and discontent with their own regimes and limited economic opportunities and political freedoms.

The worst thing that happened to Palestinians is that their effectively local grievances got caught up in the larger Islamic disaffection with the West and the Western "War on Terror" in response to it.  For all of its many faults, the PLO was an essential secular organisation which sought a Political resolution  (involving copious amounts of money and power for itself).  Now with Hamas, extreme Zionists, and extreme evangelicals you have religious zealots all pursuing their particular brand of Armageddon and the End of Days.   I think a psycho-social rather tan an economic analysis is needed to explain that lot!

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 07:30:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Take in this documentary for more insight into the propaganda basis of this notion:

Peace, Propaganda, & The Promised Land (with Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, Arik Ackerman, founder of Rabbis for Human Rights, and many others)

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6604775898578139565&q=peace%2C+propaganda%2C+%26+the+pr omised+land&hl=en

Some comments from some of the participants:

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Founder & Executive Director, Tikkun Magazine: "When you have a population that is being occupied, when their fundamental human rights are systematically being denied, when they are not allowed to move from city to city and place to place, without a huge amount of harassment, when they are being subject to torture, when people are essentially in desperate conditions, it is not a surprise that they are going to be very, very angry. There is no understand by the public media, or the American media, what creates this circumstance. Israel occupies, people strike at Israel against that occupation. They use means I think are wrong means, namely, the terror, and then Israel imposes punishment on the entire people, which creates a climate which makes it easier to recruit."

Major Stav Adivi, reserves, Israeli Defense Forces, Israel: "we have to understand that these (suicide bombings) are the effects of the occupation."

Robert Jensen, Professor of Journalism, University of Texas-Austin: "In contrast to the international press, in American media, there is a reversal of cause and effect in that the occupation is framed as a response to the suicide bombings. All of the Palestinian actions are attacks and Israel actions retaliation, is meaningful. Retaliation suggests a defensive stance against violence initiated by someone else. It places a responsibility for the violence on the party provoking the retaliation. In other words, Palestinian violence like suicide bombings is seen as cause and the origin of the conflict. Since the September 11 attack on the US, Israel's PR strategy has been to frame all Palestinian actions, violent or not, as terrorism. To the extent that they can do that they have repackaged the illegal occupation as part of the war on terrorism."

News headlines: "This is Israel's war on terrorism. F16s hit a Palestinian in the Gaza Strip this morning....The case the Israelis are trying to make: this is no different than what the US is doing in Afganistan (air attacks in the West Bank)...Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared on television tonight, that he was determined to root out what he called `the terrorist infrastructure.'"

So here you have the myth of the Palestinian terrorist, who just happens to be fighting a long and incessant military occupation that the UN has called illegal.

Summary of the documentary:

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites--oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others--work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported.

Through the voices of scholars, media critics, peace activists, religious figures, and Middle East experts, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land carefully analyzes and explains how--through the use of language, framing and context--the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza remains hidden in the news media, and Israeli colonization of the occupied territories appears to be a defensive move rather than an offensive one. The documentary also explores the ways that U.S. journalists, for reasons ranging from intimidation to a lack of thorough investigation, have become complicit in carrying out Israel's PR campaign. At its core, the documentary raises questions about the ethics and role of journalism, and the relationship between media and politics.

Biographical Summary:

Seth Ackerman Media Analyst and Contributing Writer, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
Mjr. Stav Adivi, IDF (Reserves) Courage to Refuse | Board Member, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Israel
Rabbi Arik Ascherman Executive Director, Rabbis for Human Rights
Hanan Ashrawi Founder & Secretary General, The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH), Palestine
Noam Chomsky Professor of Linguistics, MIT | Author, Hegemony of Survival
Robert Fisk Journalist, The Independent, UK
Neve Gordon Ta'ayush: Jewish-Arab Partnership | Professor of Political Science, Ben Gurion University, Israel
Toufic Haddad Co-editor, Between the Lines, West Bank
Sam Husseini Communications Director, Institute for Public Accuracy
Hussein Ibish Communications Director, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Robert Jensen Professor of Journalism, University of Texas-Austin | Board of Directors, Third Coast Activist
Rabbi Michael Lerner Founder & Executive Director, Tikkun Magazine
Karen Pfeifer Professor or Economics, Smith College | Contributing Editor, Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP)
Alisa Solomon Journalist, The Village Voice
Gila Svirsky Co-founder, Women in Black | Coalition of Women for Peace, Israel

by shergald on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 08:14:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the current situation?

That is definitely small splinter groups within Israel that under the current political system often wield the balance of power.

The problem with the two state solution is that Israel refuses to allow Palestinians sovereignty within their mini-state, and show no sign of allowing even the West Bank to exist as a contiguous territory, instead of as a collection of micro-provinces divided by lines of transport and ubiquitous checkpoints.

And under the principle of self-determination, which is the basis for Israel to claim a right to exist, the two alternatives are a sovereign Palestinian state, with border control, no colonial occupying force and Palestinian control of all transportation routes, or a single state.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 10:04:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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