| Post-colonialism, post-apartheid: Peace Without Occupation!

Peace Without Occupation ~ Stephen Lendman.

For millions of occupied Palestinians, diaspora ones, and legions of global supporters, it remains a distant unfulfilled dream.

It’s been this way for decades. Rogue Israeli governance prevents responsible change. So does one-sided Washington support for its worst crimes.

Yuval Diskin is a retired high level Israeli official. He’s a former IDF commander. From May 2005 – May 2011, he headed Shin Bet.

It’s Israel’s General Security Service. It calls itself “the unseen shield.” It’s one of three main intelligence agencies.

The others are Aman (military intelligence) and Mossad (foreign intelligence). Shin Bet duties involve state security and related issues.

Diskin became outspoken in retirement. In January, he criticized Netanyahu. He called him “weak,” “wavering,” and “unreliable.”

He’s “possessed” by Iran, he said. He “shirk(s) responsibility.”

He represents “a crisis in leadership here, a crisis of values and total contempt for the public.”

“Maybe people will think I’m exaggerating, but I’m telling you. From close up it looks even worse.”

Diskin doesn’t trust him. He lacks “leadership qualities.” He has messianic ambitions.

“I have a very deep feeling that when it comes to Iran, Netanyahu is possessed by Menachem Begin, who attacked Iraq’s nuclear reactor, and by Olmert, who many claim is responsible for the attack on Syria’s (alleged) reactor,” said Diskin.

“Bibi wants to go down in history as the person who did something on this size a scale.”

“I have heard him belittle what his predecessors have done and assert that his mission on Iran is on a much grander scale.”

Post-Geneva, what perhaps he has in mind bears close watching. Diskin expressed concern for his children.

“When I see the current leadership, I am worried about what we’ll leave for them,” he added. Rogue leaders initiate rogue policies.

In July, Diskin’s Jerusalem Post op-ed headlined “Israel nears point of no return on two-state solution.”

Perhaps it’s “already crossed,” he said. He’s concerned about longterm occupation. It’s improperly addressed, he stressed.

“(T)his subject has a place in our essence, in our identity, in our souls, in our security, and in our perception of morality – as a society or nation that has come to rule another nation.”

Diskin remains outspoken. On December 4, he said:

“I want a homeland that does not require the occupation of another people to maintain itself.”

“(F)ailed negotiations are far graver for Israel’s future than the Iranian nuclear program.”

“We need an agreement now,” he stressed. He said so on the tenth anniversary of the so-called Geneva Initiative. More on that below.

Diskin wants to “know that our home here has clear borders, and that we’re putting the sanctity of people before the sanctity of land.”

He “want(s) a homeland that does not require the occupation of another people in order to maintain itself.”

“The Geneva Initiative is a solid foundation for a solution of two states for two peoples.” More on that below.

“The negotiations have worn thin. (It’s time) for a decision to be made.”

Netanyahu-led Likudnik extremists make achieving one impossible, he believes.

Diskin supports new Israeli governance. He wants peace-supporting officials in charge. Too many Jews live in Occupied Palestine, he said.

Settlement expansions defeat peaceful conflict resolution. Diskin wants Israel becoming a nation “prefer(ring) the sanctity of its people over the sanctity of its land.”

Longterm occupation is self-defeating. So is America’s role. One-sided Israeli support is longstanding policy. It continues unabated.

On Wednesday, an unidentified State Department official said Washington prepared new peace agreement terms. Current negotiations went nowhere so far.

Don’t expect resolution going forward. Not unless Palestinians unconditionally surrender. They did before. They may again. Israel demands no less.

On Thursday, Netanyahu was briefed on what Washington has in mind. According to the State Department, “many details and specifics” were included. (They’re) a piece of what will be a larger whole.”

It prioritizes Israeli security. Expect old wine in new bottles when more details are known. It’s been this way for decades. Don’t expect significant changes going forward.

An unnamed Palestinian rejected America’s proposal. It’s disingenuous on its face. It’ll prolong and maintain occupation harshness, he said. It benefits Israel at Palestine’s expense.

The 2003 Geneva Accord (also called the Geneva Initiative) sounded promising when announced. It was far less than met the eye.

Preamble language obscured what followed. Articles 1 through 17 alone mattered.

Israeli/Palestinian negotiators spent two years preparing it. Yossi Beilin, Yasser Abed Rabbo, and others on both sides were involved. They rigged one-sided pro-Israeli terms. They pretended fairness.

They didn’t obligate either side. On December 1, 2003, they were formally introduced in Geneva.

Broad international support followed. Then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rejected terms straightaway. Why tinker with one-sided Israeli rights. Why confuse things with Plan B.

In September 2009, an expanded Geneva Accord was released. It supplemented the original proposal. It solidified Israeli rights. It outlined one-sided implementation measures.

Final status issues were addressed. Palestinian rights were ignored. Israeli ones were recognized.

They got what they wanted with regard to borders, settlements, airspace, security, diaspora Palestinians right of return, water and other resources, as well as control over virtually all East Jerusalem.

Negotiators called for ending an era of conflict. Beginning a new one was prioritized. Both sides stressed basing it on “peace, cooperation, and good neighborly relations.”

High-minded rhetoric substituted for binding fairness.

Implementing agreed on terms meant ending claims on both sides.

Doing so would forfeit decades of land and resource theft, compensation for lost lives, and other long denied reparations. These and other major issues would be considered resolved. No further claims would follow.

Israel would recognize sovereign Palestine. At most it would be an unacceptable rump state. It would exist on isolated cantons.

All rights and obligations would be observed. They’re one way. Israel alone would benefit. Palestinians would lose out altogether.

Full diplomatic and consular relations would be established. Both sides would exchange ambassadors. They would do so within one month of mutual recognition.

Both Parties would commit not to interfere in each other’s internal affairs. They’d cooperate in areas of mutual interest. UN Charter provisions would be observed.

An implementation and Verification Group (IVG) would be established. It would consist of America, Russia, the EU, UN and other parties.

It would be involved in all aspects relating to implementation and resolving potential disputes. A Multinational Force (MF) would provide security.

Agreements involving America, supportive EU states, and subservient UN officials assure sacrificing Palestinian rights too important to lose.

MF security means repressive UN Blue Helmets. They’re imperial enforcers. They’d support Israeli interests. Palestinians would lose out in the process. Persecution would continue like now.

At the time, Yasser Arafat praised the “brave initiative that opens the door to peace.” Israel rejected it straightaway.

Washington’s endorsement concealed one-sided Israeli support. George Bush sided with Sharon. He stressed Israeli security priorities. He said waging war on terror must continue.

Dozens of global presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers, and other officials endorsed agreed on terms wholeheartedly. Doing so was less than met the eye.

Agreed on terms excluded even-handed fairness. Israeli rights were recognized. So were Palestinian obligations.

Many Palestinians opposed agreed on terms. They called them Oslo 2.0. They said far too much was sacrificed for smoke and mirrors in return.

Most Israeli settlements were annexed. Land swap terms were vague. Ambiguity substituted for clarity.

Israel got near total control of Jerusalem. It got virtually everything it wanted. Diaspora Palestinians lost out altogether.

A corridor linking the West Bank and Gaza was mandated. A viable Palestinian state required it. Agreement terms placed it “under Israeli sovereignty.”

Doing so would assure closure or other harshness any time at Israel’s discretion. “Territorial integrity” and “political independence” were ill-defined.

So were other agreement terms. They recycled unfairness. Israel’s apartheid wall was ignored.

Wiggle room assured Israel would take full advantage. Palestinians would continue being easily exploited. Ill-defined rights meant denying them altogether.

Hardline Israelis claimed Palestinians got too much. They said agreed on terms didn’t go far enough. They wanted Palestinians totally denied. They wanted binding language assuring it.

Conflict resolution failed. It’s no nearer now than earlier. Two states were possible years ago. No longer. Israel controls over half the West Bank and much of East Jerusalem. More is added daily.

One state for all its people remains the only viable option. Nothing else works going forward. Achieving it requires strong international support.

Peace negotiations remain one-sided. They’re dead on arrival. Israel won’t relinquish territory it controls. It wants Palestine ruthlessly exploited. It rejects statehood.

It wants Palestinians living in isolated bantustans. It wants them on worthless scrubland. Israeli moderates and hardliners agree.

Land theft and ethnic cleansing remain official policy. Peaceful conflict resolution remains an unfulfilled dream. Occupation harshness persists.

Equal rights for all is a nonstarter. Israeli intransigence makes it impossible. It wants permanent legalized occupation. Palestinians want sovereign freedom.

Democratic legitimacy requires institutionalizing equal rights. It means treating Arabs and Jews alike. It demands rule of law principles be observed.

It requires ending decades of occupation, colonization and apartheid. It involves binding statutes mandating new policies. It requires enforcing them.

It requires commitment to do the right thing. It requires achieving what earlier proved impossible.

It requires proving a new day arrived. It’s been nowhere in sight up to now. It looks no better going forward.

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| More illegal collective punishment as Israel seizes $120m in Palestinian tax revenue over UN vote!

Israel seizes $120m in Palestinian tax revenue over UN vote ~  in Jerusalem, guardian.co.uk.

Palestinian official accuses Israel of desperation after second punitive response to UN vote recognising state of Palestine.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas

Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas, waves to supporters in Ramallah, West Bank. On Friday, Israel announced a big settlement expansion programme. Photograph: Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images

Israel has seized more than $120m (£75m)in tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in response to last week’s overwhelming vote at the UN general assembly to recognise the state of Palestine.

The move came as the PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, returned to cheering crowds in Ramallah in the West Bank following Thursday’s vote, in which 138 countries backed enhanced “non-member state” status for Palestine. Only nine countries opposed the move and 41 abstained.

The financial sanction is Israel’s second punitive response to the vote. On Friday, it announced a big settlement expansion programme.

An Israeli official said Israel was entitled to deduct the sum from a debt of more than $200m (£125m) owed by the PA to the Israel Electric Corporation. But he conceded that the move was in response to the UN vote, and that it could be repeated next month. “A lot depends on what the Palestinians do or don’t do,” he said.

The Israeli finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, told Israel Radio: “I do not intend this month to transfer the funds to the Palestinians. In the coming period I intend to use the money to deduct debts the PA owes to the Israel Electric Corporation and other bodies.”

A spokeswoman for the PA declined to comment, saying Palestinian officials had not been officially notified of the move. But Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Palestinian official, said Israel was guilty of “piracy and theft” by refusing to hand over the funds, according to news agency reports.

Israel had been expected to take punitive measures following the UN vote. A Palestinian official said the withholding of tax revenues was an “act of desperation” in the face of overwhelming international support for a Palestinian state.

In the past, Israel has frozen the monthly revenues as a sanction against the PA, resulting in the late payment of salaries for thousands of public servants in the West Bank and Gaza.

Sunday’s decision followed the announcement – within hours of the UN vote – of a big settlement expansion programme, including the controversial development of highly sensitive land close to Jerusalem.

On Friday, Israel said it would build 3,000 new homes in settlements across the pre-1967 Green Line. It also said it would push ahead with the development of an area known as E1, which would close off East Jerusalem – the intended future capital of Palestine – from the West Bank. The announcement drew condemnation from the US and Britain.

Around 5,000 people gathered near the PA presidential compound in Ramallah on Sunday to greet Abbas on his return from New York. The world had said a loud “yes to the state of Palestine”, he told the crowd. Among the chants from supporters were demands for reconciliation between the dominant and rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, and unity between the West Bank and Gaza.

At the Israeli cabinet meeting, Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said: “The PA’s one-sided step at the UN constitutes a gross violation of the agreements that have been signed with the State of Israel; accordingly … Israel rejects the UN general assembly decision.”

The country would “continue to build in Jerusalem and in all areas that are on the map of the strategic interests of the State of Israel”, he said.

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