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The Ethnic Cleansing Of Palestine
Round Two

Terrell E. Arnold

Having sent up numerous trial balloons over the past several weeks, Israel now will work on shutting down the Gaza Strip. Having kept it virtually sealed off from the outside world ever since Hamas beat Fatah for control of it, Israel now plans to use creeping electric power outages to make life in that open-air prison totally intolerable. Since no major power appears to have objected loudly enough to the trial balloons, Israel seems confident it can shut Gaza down without significant political repercussions.
Gaza, indeed Palestine as a whole, now poses a unique case of global insensitivity, and we should ask why. Is it because everybody else considers the Palestinian people less than human? Is it because the Israelis still keep control of the moral high ground after six decades of unremitting ethnic cleansing? Is it because the killing and displacement of Palestinians has become so common a feature of the Middle East human scene that nobody cares? Is it because objections to the usually pointless lobbing of mortar shells across the Israeli boundary are so mind numbing that people stop looking at or listening to what is actually happening to the Palestinian people?
No. All of those probably figure in some degree in the mindless global reactions to the human tragedy that is Palestine, but the hammer is fear of the charge of anti-Semitism. In addition, the hammer most artfully pairs with the universal negative: "Terrorism." It simply does not matter what the Palestinians try to do in their own defense, so long as the Israelis and international media can lump any actions to fight back under the label "terrorism." Thus, the Israelis can surround Gaza with troops, barbed wire, checkpoints and a neighbor such as Egypt that, if anything, helps the Israelis; Israel's Defense Force can bomb and strafe Gaza targets indiscriminately; and because Gaza happens to be under the elected political leadership of a US-designated terrorist group, the outside world considers those actions all right.
The Zionists built the propaganda war around Palestine and promoted it through mainstream media, particularly American. The Zionists always have won it, no matter how repressively they deal with the Palestinians. Thus, humanity at large appears to have bought into the systematic theft of the Palestinian homeland by Zionists. It is therefore not surprising that, particularly in the Western view, even though the Israelis have taken all of Palestine up the 1967 truce-line by force, the Palestinians simply should recognize Israel's right to the land and move on. People would treat no other scrap of land on the planet with such casual disregard for ownership.
Perhaps stranger still is the way Gaza plays in the run-up to pending Annapolis talks on a Middle East peace. It simply does not. The US host, Israel, and at least Fatah leader Abbas seem content with excluding a third of the Palestinian people from any role in the talks. That includes ignoring the Hamas supporters in the West Bank. However, the exclusion is more important than that. The US and Israeli players exclude Hamas and its supporters, in Gaza as well as the West Bank, because they stand for the only settlement that the Palestinian people-given any choice-would approve.
That choice-all of the West Bank and Gaza, with a capital in Jerusalem and a communications corridor-entails a colossal concession by the Palestinians: Acceptance, in perpetuity, of Israeli theft of their homeland. However, the way the Israelis and US promoters play the upcoming negotiations, the Palestinians have further major concessions to make, not least being acceptance of land trades to permit intrusive Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as well as concessions on the right of return and compensation for confiscated or destroyed property. Beyond that point, the Palestinians face hard trading on access to water, because at present they now get about 10% of the water per person that Israelis enjoy.
Because of such complications, most Middle East hands see dim prospects for the Annapolis talks. To be fair, Mahmoud Abbas seems fully aware of his inability to concede any of the main Palestinian demands. However, the Israeli delegation will insist on making no immediate concessions. Not only will the talks proceed without a full Palestinian delegation, it is simply unlikely that the Israelis will permit any substance to emerge from them. If that is the outcome, the gates will remain open to the steady Israeli encroachment on remaining Palestinian land until all of Palestine is absorbed into Israel.
The hang-up is that the Zionists can achieve the outcome they have so persistently sought only by driving the Palestinians out. Right now, because they simply refuse to give up, the Palestinians play into Zionist hands. Outsiders seem incapable of recognizing that, in similar circumstances, they would fight the Zionists tooth and nail. Thus, even if the Zionists have to lob the mortar shells over the fence into Israeli territory themselves, they will proceed to dismantle the remainder of Palestine without interference. Peace talks, such as they might be, will have value only as means to divert public attention from the final rounds of ethnic cleansing.
The writer is the author of the recently published work, A World Less Safe, now available on Amazon, and he is a regular columnist on rense.com. He is a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer of the US Department of State whose immediate pre-retirement positions were as Chairman of the Department of International Studies of the National War College and as Deputy Director of the State Office of Counter Terrorism and Emergency Planning. He will welcome comment at



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