Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Peace and its discontents: the Israeli takeover.


Israel and Palestinians commit to peace trumpets The Guardian, with a sick-making portrait of Bush, Olmert and Abbas holding hands. How's that commitment working so far? Well, let's not forget that having launched a 'civil war' against Hamas and used Dahlan's goons to foment war in Gaza on behalf of Israel, Mahmoud Abbas supports Israel's war on the Gaza strip. There is no 'peace' coming here. Abbas is turning Fatah into the armed wing of capitulation.

Previous peace efforts by Fatah, however limited and corrupted, were at least seriously attempting to get something out of Israel, a stretch of continuous land with Olive Trees on it and water running, the dismantling of settlements, demilitarization of the West Bank, something. Now, with settlements more in abundance than ever, with Israel's occupation expanding instead of contracting, with daily aggression against the Palestinian population, Abbas offers himself as Israel's agent. The talks now taking place are about talks that may take place in the future, that may at some point result in an idea, then a concept, then a series of hastily drawn diagrams, then a hint about a possible settlement. There is no prospect of even a remotely legitimate settlement emerging from this charade. Olmert is hasty with vague intimations about bold moves, but Israel's colonisation of the West Bank continues apace. The only promise from today that is genuine is the one from Abbas that he will take apart "terrorist" organisations, meaning rival political groups. So today, as part of Abbas' own 'war on terror', Palestinians in the West Bank who were demonstrating that they were not partial to this Annapolis hoax, were attacked with one killed, and a reporter trying to cover the demo was roughed up by Abbas' men.

This isn't exactly new, which is one of the reasons why Fatah lost the elections in early 2006. The absence of democratic credentials from these talks, led by an America president who prates ceaselessly of democracy, is striking. In fact, none of the three men meeting today has a popularity rating higher than 30%. No deal they negotiate, even if one were forthcoming, could carry the remotest popular mandate. However, that's hardly the point. The talks, aside from involving a temporary tilt toward Syria to isolate Iran, are continuing the coup process launched after Hamas' electoral victory. This is a takeover, not a makeover.