Palestine/Israel peace talks: a shameless deceit

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The British empire handed over the lands of Palestine to Jewish Zionists to create the state of Israel after World War II, when the U.S. took over as main imperialist honcho. Ever since, there have been peace talks. “We’ve never seen them achieve anything,” declared a Palestinian who lost 10 family members to an Israeli airstrike in 2012. He’s not alone. According to the media website Al-Monitor, the Israeli public is “apathetic and even cynical” about the decades long “peace process.” The record shows years of talks have only made the situation worse for Palestinians. Then why proceed?

With U.S. influence waning in the face of spreading civil war and revolution in the Middle East, America needs to project an image of still being in charge. The Palestinians’ long resistance against horrific oppression inspires the Arab Spring, so the U.S. wants to reassure American neocons, war hawks, weapons makers, and right-wing Christians and Zionist Jews. Not to mention calm its wealthy allies in the region who live in terror of rebellion lurking in their own impoverished populations.

Then there’s President Obama’s historical legacy. Surely he wants it to be more prestigious than his ongoing wars, electronic spy program, and record for deporting and jailing the most immigrant workers and refugees in U.S. history!

The White House, though, has no intention of relieving Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. Its contempt for this ancient and very modern people is clear. Just before the current talks began, Israel announced plans to build 1,200 new settlements on Palestinian land. And in August, as the meetings began, Israeli soldiers murdered peaceful West Bank demonstrators. The U.S. did nothing. Secretary of State John Kerry probably expected that West Bank President Mahmoud Abbas would say nothing, in order to get a $4 billion investment for the Palestinian economy. Kerry warned that this “investment” would not materialize without movement toward peace. The talks, of course, proceeded.

Palestinians endure daily humiliation and peril on the street and in their homes. Stone throwing by youth is answered by live bullets. Joblessness in the West Bank in Gaza is extremely high, activists are imprisoned without charges for years, people traveling for jobs, healthcare, education or family visits face hours of harassment and danger at checkpoints manned by armed and brutish soldiers. Gaza is an open-air prison, blockaded from daily necessities and with over 90 percent of its water unfit for drinking.

The Hamas organization, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, has not governed Gaza justly. Yes, Gaza’s economy is severely restricted by Israel’s siege and Egyptian control. But Hamas’ abuse of human rights comes straight out of its religious fundamentalism. Political Islam, which boasts of redeeming the faithful against “infidel” secularists, “communist” rebels and “impure” women clearly cannot solve the problems of capitalism or Israeli tyranny.

The Gazan Youth Manifesto for Change expressed this eloquently in 2011: “Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck U.N. Fuck USA! We are tired of guys with guns beating up young people demonstrating for what they believe in.” On the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority’s threadbare Arab nationalist politics have also been discredited by its corruption and collaboration with Israel and the American government.

The U.S. has been a dishonest broker for peace talks all along. It feigns sympathy for Palestine, but supplies more U.S. tax dollars to Israel than to any other state. It enables the murderous tactics of Israel’s occupation, such as running down pro-Palestinian protesters and destroying homes with Caterpillar bulldozers. The much-touted 1993 Oslo Accords agreed to under President Clinton ushered in 20 years of Israel stealing more land. The Accords also bought off the Palestine Liberation Organization.

As a Jewish-American whose extended family died in the Holocaust I am doubly infuriated by U.S. crimes against Palestine committed in my name. And I am disgusted by hypocritical Zionist charges against people in the Palestine liberation movement. Ordinary people in the Middle East and in this country are fighting against the devastating effects of the private profit system. As a socialist, I stand with them.

As for the perennial peace talks around Palestine and Israel, let’s echo the famous Black Panthers slogan — “No Justice, No Peace!”

Adrienne Weller is a dedicated supporter of Palestinian rights and follower of Middle East events. She can be reached at

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