Friday, May 27, 2011

Harper: More Hardline Than Most Israelis

Well, there ya go: Harper is to the right of everybody else in the G8 on the question of the character of a two state solution. Harper blah blahs about "balance" and then lays out what that means - everything for Israel and nothing for the Palestinians. Israel must be recognized as a Jewish state and the Palestinian "state" must be "de-militarized".

Let's unpack these two things for a moment, shall we.
To say that Israel is a Jewish state either means that it is a theocratic state - something that we oppose when that theocracy is Muslim, suggesting a double-standard that is frankly Islamophobic. Or Israel is an ethnic state that thus treats its significant non-Jewish population (20% are Palestinian/Arab-Israeli) as second tier.

The fundamentally racist character of Harper's attitude is made more obvious by the fact that Israel isn't expected to withdraw from land that it illegally occupied post-1967, after a war that it started, but the Palestinians aren't permitted the basic right to self-defense via a Palestinian military. They are to be treated as children, undeserving of the full right accorded to adult nations.

This is all the more shocking because Israel has started more wars, led more invasions and killed more civilians than any other country in the region and perhaps (USA aside) any other nation on the planet. If any country has shown that it is lacking in the ability to use its military in a "mature" way it is Israel. But, then, that is exactly the point. Israel is the west's watchdog in the Middle East, keeping the local indigenous population in line. The role of the Palestinians is to leave, die or become a compliant native population satisfied to live in ever smaller bantustans and, perhaps, provide Israel with a source of cheap labour.
It's worth noting that the position that Harper "pressed hard" for at the G8 summit was not only more harshly pro-zionist than every other leader in attendance, it is also less accommodating even than the long-standing majority viewpoint in Israel.

The irony of all this, of course, is that the absolute inability of the Israeli political class to accomodate a real Palestinian state or to stop colonial expansion into the West Bank as a core state agenda has all but killed the two state solution. Barring the mass expulsion of the Palestinian population in toto - a policy made less likely as a result of the Egyptian revolution having overthrown Mubarak - it becomes more and more likely that Israel will ultimately face a one state solution. The struggle will shift. Instead of being a national struggle - which allows Israeli politicians and their western supporters to portray this as a war - it will become a civil rights struggle that will be much more difficult to dismiss. And Israel will be faced with having to give citizenship rights to the millions of Palestinians who now live under its rule.

Harper blocks mention of 1967 border in G8 Mideast statement - The Globe and Mail
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