Saturday, January 06, 2007

Repelling Boarders

One of the many sites on the Israeli side of Middle East conflict is “Myths and Facts.” Usually they share a common disability to see the other side- for example a recent release on this one demanded that the Palestinians abide by the road map, but was deafeningly silent about the near simultaneous announcement that the Israelis were, in total defiance of the same road map, building a new settlement in the West Bank to house settlers removed from Gaza so the IDF could declare a free-fire zone there.

The 28 December announcement was more interesting than most since it inadvertently threw up a new angle. It took the Bush administration to task for seeing “nothing wrong in considering a plan to declare an independent Palestinian state with provisional boarders (sic)within the next 2 years.”

I suspect he meant borders. And in that sense I share his dislike. There should be a Palestinian state with its borders based on the 1967 Green Line with mutual adjustments agreed by the parties.

But his repeated mis-spelling of boarders does open up thoughts based on regarding Israeli settlers as “boarders.” In one sense of course, the word refers to temporary paying guests in a household, which opens up the possibility of telling the settlers to pay the rent for the last thirty years - and serving them a week’s notice to vacate the premises.

Secondly boarding is what pirates do to ships. “Repel boarders” is the cry in the Hornblower- style movies. And it is indeed true that the settlers are collectively guilty of a form of piracy, boarding and illegally seizing Palestinian territories. Interestingly, piracy still has a mandatory hanging sentence under old international conventions... but let that pass. After all, Saddam Hussein was not even charged with trying to invade Iran.

But by free association with swashbuckling, we move to the attacks mounted by the IDF on Ramallah this week, while Olmert was trying to enlist the cooperation of Mubarak. Even Israeli politicians were outraged, and prepared, at least off the record, to talk about IDF sabotage of the political leadership.

It is yet more evidence of the stranglehold of the Shin Bet and IDF, now overwhelmingly dominated by Likud appointees, over Israel’s allegedly civilian leadership, and vindicates yet again what I said November 12 on Impunity and Jack D. Ripper.

Until Israel’s politicians get control of their Security Services they are allowing the conservatives to blow up any road to peace on a whim. And of course while the UK and US allow a free pass to this type of behaviour, there is little incentive for Olmert and Peretz to deliver.

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