You have to hand it to US secretary of state John Kerry. In his dream of entering the history books, he has taken on mission impossible. He is fighting tooth and nail for his version of the two-state peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians.
So much so that his relentless diplomacy has lead to an outburst by the Israeli minister of defence, Moshe Yaalon, who reportedly described Kerry as “obsessive and messianic in his quest for Mideast peace”. Kerry has also suggested that failure by the Israelis to compromise could lead to growing support for a boycott of the country, a campaign which has now established roots in the United States as well as Europe.
This led to some members of the governing coalition to accuse Kerry of anti-Semitism, which then compelled ultra-Zionist foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman to defend Obama’s foreign policy chief, describing him as a “true friend of Israel”.
Negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators have now been going on for over six months, including at the Munich Security Conference a couple of weeks ago. There Henry Kissinger quipped that “nobody ever lost money betting against a Middle East peace.”
But Obama’s administration is desperate for a “legacy”. With Kerry leading the charge, it is hoping to pressurise Israel into conceding some territory in exchange for the Palestinians recognising Israel as a Jewish state.
According to prominent US writer, Thomas Friedman, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has suggested that Israeli troops could remain in the West Bank for a transitional five-year-period. And then they should be replaced by NATO forces. This is something Israel is hardly likely to agree to. Indeed, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu wants Israeli troops in the Jordan Valley for up to 40 years.
But however much the Palestinian Authority may compromise, and however much the US may hope that it can get concessions out of the Zionist state, any agreement is likely to be blown out of the water by the sheer brutality of continued Israeli occupation.
The PA has lost considerable authority amongst its constituents. While it engages in meaningless negotiations, Israeli forces have resumed assassinations of key figures in the resistance, known officially as “targeted killings”.
Leading defence correspondent Amos Harel admitted today in Haaretz, that Israel had “quietly revived” its previous policy of murdering resistance leaders. Only yesterday a targeted killing in Gaza was aimed at Abdallah Kharti, a senior member of the Popular Resistance Committees.
Today, Australian television’s ABC Four Corners programme will broadcast the findings of lawyers who say that Palestinian children are being used to gather intelligence, thus destroying their childhood innocence forever.
One 14-year-old boy was taken from his bed “during a night raid on his family home in a Palestinian village”, according to the report. Qsai Zamara said he “was whipped and threatened” into falsely confessing that he threw stones at the army. "There was this big machine with all the electric wires in it, connected to the electricity. He wanted to give me electric shock with it," he said.
Fathi Mahfouz, 15, was given electric shocks and when he didn't confess: “I was sent to a room that has a cross in it, and hung me on it. I was hung and he kept hitting me," he said. Barrister Gerard Horton has documented rape threats against young children after interviewing hundreds of them through his organisation Military Court.
Lawyer Gaby Lasky, who represents Palestinian children before Israel’s military courts, said on the BBC’s World Service this morning, that the army aimed to use children as informants. Horton backed her up account, saying children were offered a combination of money and threats to give information.
While the United Nations children’s organisation UNICEF has deliberately played down Israel’s abuse of children, it is so bad that a group of 850 serving and former Israeli soldiers, speaking through Breaking the Silence, have also been highlighting the issue.
This is a policy of terror by a state that has no intention of giving up any territory or removing any of the 250,000 settlers from the West Bank. For the Zionists, the demonisation of Palestinians is crucial to their own raison d’être and rule. Whatever deal Kerry brokers, it won’t be worth the paper it’s written on.
A World to Win secretary
A World to Win secretary