If you want to appreciate just how hopelessly entangled America has become in the fate of modern day Israel and Zionism, you may want to take a look at an eye-opening article of December 5th in the Jerusalem Post. It is entitled “Annapolis—A True Zionist Victory” by Dr. M.K. Ephraim Sneh. He is a former Deputy Defense Minister of Israel and Head of the Civil Administration for the occupied West Bank. Regrettably, you can’t check the article out online, because it has been removed from the JP site. Dr. Sneh is a “progressive” commentator and a Labour member of the Knesset. He claims to be optimistic that “peace” between Jews and Palestinians in the Holy Land is just around the corner. There have been some contrary reports in the Palestinian press, and many of his own people are fit to be tied. We learn in a side remark at the end of the article that Dr. Sneh’s father was instrumental in bringing about the 1947 UN partition of Palestine:
“Last week marked the 60th anniversary of the UN partition plan which sought to establish two nations in the land of Israel. I would like to mention my father, Moshe Sneh, zihrono li’vraha (May his memory be blessed), who in 1947 stood at the head of the political delegation in Europe which lead to the decision. This ruling gave 56% of the land to Israel and 44% to the Palestinians. When we complete the permanent agreement, we will hold 78% of the land while the Palestinians will control 22%. After sixty years, seven wars and two intifadas, the upcoming agreement will be a true Zionist victory.”
Interesting, isn’t it? The “upcoming agreement” will be the result—supposedly in the foreseeable future—of the recent 2-day Annapolis conference (November 27th-28th). Dr. Sneh appears to know the outcome of future “negotiations”. [I put “negotiations” in quotes because the Palestinians are prostrate and powerless, in no position to “negotiate” anything, and Mahmoud Abbas has little authority to “negotiate” on behalf of the Palestinians.] Please note Ephraim Sneh’s statement above and what this man takes for granted. To a large extent, it is what has been passively accepted in the West. Sneh’s assumptions reflect the general outlook of most active Zionists of all persuasions.
There are statements and there are implications:
Item. The “land of Israel” encompasses more than what was envisioned by the 1947 UN Partition. Under the UN arrangement, the Zionists got 56% of what they felt they were entitled to. The native inhabitants of Palestine, the Palestinian Arabs, were granted 44%; the Jews from Europe who moved into Palestine mostly after the Balfour Declaration (1917) got 56%.
Item. The partition plan of 1947 was just a step in the process, like the Balfour Declaration itself. Although Dr. Sneh does not mention the Balfour Declaration by name, everything is predicated upon it and flows from this British Empire document.
Item. Palestinian rights are very much a side issue, if an issue at all. The Palestinians just happen to be occupying space in the “land of Israel”, which the British imperial leadership at Whitehall ceded to Zionist colonial control shortly after World War I. The Palestinians were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are still in the wrong place, according to Tel Aviv and Washington. The Palestinians remain there at sufferance, to be rewarded or punished, based on their behavior and as circumstances dictate.
Such are a few of the preconditions for the Zionist experience in Palestine. In the meantime, since 1948 and 1967 Zionism has been successful through war and expropriation in expanding its original 56% of the pie. Dr. Sneh envisages—as a result of the “peace process” re-ignited at by G.W. Bush and Condi Rice at Annapolis—that the Zionists will expand their de jure control to 78% of the “land of Israel” at the end of the day, leaving the Palestinians with the remaining 22% of historical Palestine, for their own mini-state. The latter entity would be composed of Palestinians, granted, but it would constitute a de facto annex of Israel, bifurcated and divided into bantustans, as is the case today. The fact that in 1948, the Palestinian Arabs comprised 70% of the population and owned over 90% of the overall territory in question is, needless to say, of no particular interest to anybody at this point, certainly not to Tel Aviv and Washington. Then as now, the Palestinians are regarded solely as an inconvenience to be dealt with. It is a question of throwing them a bone every once in awhile to keep the “peace process” on track toward a satisfactory conclusion.
Some hurdles remain. “What is required for successful negotiations?” Dr. Sneh asks. “More than anything else – political courage. The courage to agree… 1) There will be no Palestinian ‘right of return’ within Israel’s borders.” That is first and foremost. Some courage. To arrive at a “true Zionist victory” it will be necessary that the Palestinians formally renounce their “right of return”. War refugees who were driven out of Palestine in the fighting which took place in 1948 must not be allowed to come back to their villages and homes. A negation of the right of return runs counter to international law, not to mention basic human decency, but it is nevertheless non-negotiable. The track record of Zionism indicates that it is above international law. Palestinian homes and villages which existed in 1948 are not topics for discussion, and neither is a return of their owners and/or their descendants. Whatever was there pre-1948 or pre-1917 was always within the “land of Israel” anyway—right? Stick with the logic. Remember that Prime Minister Golda Meir “achieved notoriety for her statement there was no such thing as a Palestinian people.” Meir said in an interview in June 1969, “It is not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine…they did not exist.” (See The Iron Wall by Avi Shlaim.) Golda Meir was simply echoing the blinkered Zionist party line from day one.
These non-returning Palestinian refugees, numbering in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands, will however be allowed to live in the same refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza and elsewhere where they have been for the past 60 years. This is the unspoken reality of the Madrid conference of 1991, the Oslo Accords of 1993, the Camp David summit of 2000, and now Annapolis. The refugee camp solution has worked out rather well so far for the authorities in Tel Aviv and for their ever-helpful factotums in Washington. They must believe that such an inhuman state of affairs is manageable indefinitely. Please understand that the “victory” predicted by Dr. Sneh will be achieved under the tutelage of Washington, and in the name of the American people, on whose behalf Washington presumably acts. Rightly or wrongly, we will be held responsible for the outcome in Palestine and for the ultimate fate of the Palestinians.
In a real sense, we will be paying for it. Actually, we have been paying for it for a long time, and not just in terms of “foreign aid”. When I say “paying for it”, I mean in every sense. Consider the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in June 1967, with no Congressional investigation; consider the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. on September 11th, 2001, with no Congressional investigation; consider the murder of U.S. peace activist Rachel Corrie by an IDF bulldozer on March 16th, 2003, with no Congressional investigation; consider “Operation Iraqi Freedom” launched on March 19th, 2003, based on a pack of lies; consider the current non-stop campaign to demonize Iran, and the open threats by Cheney and Bush Jr. to attack Iran for pursuing a nuclear energy program under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency. That’s for starters. It all comes back to Palestine, Zionism and the U.S. Israel Lobby.
It should be clear that the “progressive”, well-intentioned Dr. Sneh and his more extreme fellow Zionists of the Likud and “neocon” variety are equally the victims of their own delusions and obsessions. Call it the unintended consequences of false assumptions. Once you accept the concept of total entitlement at the expense of others, how can you give up anything? In truth, it is foolish to give up something which actually belongs to you. Except, of course, when it doesn’t. In brief, the situation is impossible. As a popular intellectual cult, like Marxism before it, Zionism has now arrived at an impasse due to its inherent contradictions. The premise of mandated inequity is difficult to swallow. The logic of Zionism is too insular and unbalanced to stand. The suspension of disbelief necessary for acceptance of an ethnocentric scenario is too great.
True, it has not been too great for America’s politicians to accept and swallow, especially those that want to get elected and re-elected. Their ability to fake a belief in the absurd, in pursuit of campaign contributions and votes, knows no apparent bounds. Politicians in Washington, D.C. have profited, all right. They wish to continue their role as enablers, while the American populace as a whole remains ignorant and in a daze. The candidates for the U.S. Presidency in 2008 go out of their way to demonstrate that it will be business as usual. They feel they have no choice.
Unfortunately, the consequences of this folly are already well underway. America is rapidly heading in a downward trajectory experienced by the British imperialists in the aftermath of World War I, and for many of the same reasons. Those reasons include ruinous wars with bogus justification, colossal hubris, private agenda foreign policy promoted at public expense, and global over-expansion, to name the most obvious. Certainly, the Annapolis Conference is part of the same pattern. There is no reason to think otherwise. In any case, the process has gone so far down the wrong road that at this point there may be no turning back to the straight and narrow.
Patrick Foy is author of The Unauthorized World Situation Report.