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Posts Tagged ‘UN’

RFT Ep 257 – Sex Sells Redux Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on June 24, 2014

Download the episode here! 

<NOTE: Due to technical issues, CiTR's pod-casting server is down. The show can still be enjoyed via the link above...sorry for the inconvenience>

male-prostitution-comic

This Week Whine – The Iraq Dilemma and Globalized Ethics

Martin-Rowson-cartoon-26.-001

This past couple of weeks has brought to light the very precarious nature of the idea of an Iraqi nation…and it does not look good. We provide a quick historical context for the civil war in all but name that has resurfaced in Iraq. We also look at the UN’s Responsibility to Protect…a high point for humanity where we no longer limit people to be citizens of a nation but citizens of the world with rights the global community is charged to protect. Alas, we discuss how Iraq shows the utter failure of the UN, NATO, The US and the global community in general to actualize these rights…to ACTUALLY protect people from military violence.

BqPhLJKCMAEo9gy

The New Prostitution Bill…oy vey

prostitution-a-smart-career-choice

In the wake of the Supreme Court striking down Canada’s prostitution law, the Harper government has presented to parliament a replaced based on the so called “Nordic Model”.

We review the reason the previous law was struck down and how this new law makes matters worse for sex workers. We deconstruct Justice Minister Peter McKay’s regressive, paternalistic sexist misogynistic law and the real reasons Harper is introducing a law he knows will be struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Further Reading:

The Case to Legalize Brothels

Pros_Leg

In the previous section, I asserted that prostitution and more specifically brothels were not innately harmful…well, to be a good skeptic…we take a moment to review the evidence out there and see if the proposition – legalizing brothels makes sex work and sex workers safer is justified or just dogmatic.

Further Reading:

How Class Works

kos-57

Based on a presentation given by Richard Wolff, an economist who has studied class issues for more than 40 years.

Wolff explains what class is all about and applies that understanding to the foreclosure crisis of 2007–2011. He argues that class concerns the “way our society splits up the output [and] leaves those who get the profits in the position of deciding and figuring out what to do with them… We all live with the results of what a really tiny minority in our society decides to do with the profits everybody produces.” As you watch and listen, consider what we know from research about disease and illness patterns among groups with lower income, more stress, and less control of their lives. Consider how investment decisions in neighborhoods, over transportation, school facilities, parks, location of grocery stores, quality of affordable housing, etc. influenced by powerful interests, affect the quality of life for large segments of the population.

feudalism-then-and-now

This was produced by the National Association of County and City Public Health Officials (NACCHO) as a part of their Roots of Health Inequality Project. The project is a web-based course for the public health workforce and “How Class Works” is one section of the course.

Further Reading:

 

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How Libya killed hundreds in Syria

Posted by Don McLenaghen on February 9, 2012

An UN Security Council proposal to invoke its charter for “responsibility to protect” was vetoed by China and Russia last week. Now many people have questioned why we, the West, intervened into Libya to ‘protect’ those civilians and yet we stand by and watch a government slaughter its own people in Syria?

Well, you can blame Libya or at least how we did the job there. One of the concerns by international governments (like Russia and China) was that the UN mission was not actually to protect the people instead, an opportunity to get rid of an internationally unpopular dictator…i.e. regime change was the real point.

As it turned out, they were right.

The role of NATO (the instrument of UN protection) seemed not to limit or prevent Gaddafi’s ability to punish his people but to act as an unofficial air force for the ‘liberation’ rebels. Now, it could be argued that getting rid of Gaddafi was a good; however the poor choice of mechanism for regime change has come home to roost and the people of Syria are paying the price.

Assad, Syria’s ruler, unlike Gaddafi has some strong supporters in the international community; Iran, Russia and China being the most notable and important. Even though I think (grant me a moment of sentimentality) that as much as the political leadership of these countries desperately want to see the end of the deaths in Syria; they do not want to get rid of Assad who is too important to their geo-political machinations. They fear, and Libya seems to have proven, that UN intervention will not be limited to protecting civilians but will be used as a means of regime change.

Sadly, they are probably right.

Of course some may argue that if NATO actually did the work in Libya and WE, the West, control NATO, why not have NATO unilaterally intervene?

Fears of western imperialism not new

First, intervene could risk war with Russia and China (okay not likely but tension would rise…never a good thing). Beyond that, without UN cover, it is likely…no for certain, that Arabs would will not see this as humanitarian help especially by Syrian allies Turkey, embattled Egypt and Iran (also paranoid with reason).

I have used the term ‘the West’ a few times because to those in the region this term means something…they do not see democracy or  philanthropy but they know two wars in Iraq, one still going in Afghanistan, drone attacks in Yemen and Pakistan, Israeli settlements in Palestine, Gaza blockade, Libyan collateral damage, the constant threats to Iran, the habitual silence over Israel…they do not automatically assume our acts/intentions are noble but are instead another example of western (American/Israeli?) imperialism – right or wrong, this is how they feel.

These Arab nations could make operations in Syria difficult at best and at worst they may ‘defend Syria’s rightful government’ with military force. Because this operation would lack the legitimacy of an UN Security Council resolution, they would be right…technically (and really?) it would be an act of war for NATO to intervene militarily.

Better the devil I know

Secondly, Syria has a military. One of the facts that led to the defeat of Gaddafi was his relatively small aged and ineffective military. Libya had been on the arms embargo list for decades; Syria has large forces, well organized and equipped with modern and deadly weaponry. Libya’s forces were largely used to suppress its own people; Syrian forces are in constant preparation for a war with Israel…a major threat to Syria (let us not forget these countries are still technically at war and Israel bombed Syria in 2007). Syria’s military is, at least conventionally, able to deal with a major Israel threat; NATO would be minor compared to what Israel could do.

Arab spring or swapping jockeys

The only hope the people of Syria have is the Arab League of Nations…their local UN. The Arab league has sent in observes to judge the level of violence and quickly left because the levels of savagery they saw shocked even ‘professionals’ like them. They have condemned Syria and attempted to isolate it politically. However, the Arab League is composed of 21 Arab nations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia; these nations have had difficulty presenting a unified front in the past and there are few military that could take on Syria.

Of course another major issue is that after the “Arab Spring” most of the oppressive nations, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, do not want to promote ‘liberation movements’. The Saudi’s sent troops into Bahrain to stop uprisings there and the Egyptian military is trying to maintain its control over Egypt after the loss of Mubarak. Economically, Russia and China (and India, Brazil, South Africa) see Syria as valuable for economic, political or geo-strategic imperatives.

Short vs. Long term

I came out strongly in favor of the intervention in Libya to “protect innocent civilians” and at the time I mentioned my fears that western powers would use this noble (and necessary) principle for a more opportunistic agenda (regime change). Well, my trust in humanity (as principled and tentative as it was) was misplaced. That said, there is a lesson to be learnt.

One of the goals of Radio Free Thinker, is to expand the frontier of skeptical thinking; taking the tools of critical thinking and the scientific method beyond their traditional limited spheres of science. We have a learning opportunity here; one I hope political leaders will learn from. Libya and Syria are empirical data points about what happens then noble and just actions are hijacked for more cynical political gains. That if politicians hope to elevate the state of humanity and create a better world for themselves (and maybe by accident for us all) they need to learn from the lessons of the past…that when we are dogmatic, be it in religion, history or politics, we are condemned to death, destruction and failure.

{End note – As my loyal readers know, I like to have a good supply of images in my posts. Often I use cartoons. When I was looking for images for this post I was struck by the number I found in Arabic…most poignant ones were ‘local’. I have not found this for any other blog I have done to date; I think this is saying something and if I were Assad, I would be looking for a place to retire sooner than later.}

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Libya, the UN and what we have lost…

Posted by Don McLenaghen on October 24, 2011

I think it’s time.

He’s dead and in a tangential kind of way we, those of us on the show, asked for it to happen.

There are many adjectives that have been applied to Moammar Kaddafi…revolutionary, dictator, Pan-African federalist, opportunist, Arab nationalist, mad man, anti-American freedom fighter, killer of his own people…whatever label you may apply it seems true that he was unique, anti-colonial and absolute ruler of Libya. I think it’s not a stretch that at least for Libya itself, his death is believed to be a good thing. What follows may be better or worse…time will well. Egypt seems to show that removing the dictator does not guarantee a ‘western-style free democratic society’ (whatever that may mean). Recent hints from the elections in Tunisia and the Libyan leaders point to a more theocratic government based on sharia law with blasphemy laws, curtailed freedom for women and a stricter adherence to religious dogma (maybe as extreme as the ‘based on biblical law’ of the current GOP/Tea Party).

Although I do care what happens now, the focus of this blog is my personal sense of responsibility (as minor and ethereal as it may be) for what happened…what we as “the west” did at first for and then to Libya. As our loyal listeners may remember we did a segment a number of months ago about the intervention of the UN (via the NATO). In that segment we attempted to dissect the issue of intervention.

Impact/Cost


At the heart of the debate was, as we saw it – innocent citizens being ‘murdered’ by their own government. These ‘innocents’ were the spontaneous uprising hoping to liberate themselves from a ‘hated dictator’. The local flowering of the Arab spring that had seen the removal a despised dictator in Tunisia and Egypt…who were in no small way encouraged by those of us in the free nations hoping for the same in Libya. Unlike Tunisia or Egypt and more like Syria; Libyans were not able to achieve the overthrow in a (relatively) peaceful way.

Some (maybe most in Canada?) didn’t care (it’s their problem not mine), a few thought the west (and especially the USA) was spread too thin as it was with Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, and Africa. There were some who thought we (the west, NATO, the USA…) should invade with troops and put in a ‘better’ (for the West) regime.  Most people (I would like to think) thought that intervention, for humanitarian reasons, was a valid option.

The humanitarian argument was that life should be protected…that just because one is a member of a state, that the state does not have a right to kill its own citizens…in fact if a state kills its own citizens it loses its legitimacy.

That said, it is one thing to say that an illegitimate government should be deposed by its people (as it has happened in Tunisia and apparently in Egypt) and an entirely different (?) thing to have external powers (i.e. NATO, UN, USA) to commit regime change.

As stated, the majority (?) of those in favor of humanitarian intervention do not support (external) regime change.

Racism against black Africans in Libya. Guest workers equated to 'Kaddafi Mercenaries'

In spite of the moral argument a number thought  it still wrong to intervene, not because the cause was just but that once the ‘west’ was involved, our ‘ennobled’ leaders could not resist the temptation to use the military power given them to go beyond humanitarian support and use it to remove a thorn (justifiable or not) in ‘the wests’ side; that once the UN authorized military intervention, the US and Europe (and Canada) would go beyond humanitarian support and act as a proxy air force for the ‘rebels’. Implicit in this is that in supporting the rebels, UN forces (via NATO) would kill numerous ‘innocent’ people in their drive to remove Kaddafi.  As we have seen, although NATO would claim it bombed discriminately, many innocent civilians died from bombing, ‘rebel’ attacks and revenge killing (by the rebels the NATO eventually explicitly supported).

The fear went beyond just the loss of innocent life or even the hypocrisy of the ‘west’. For those who believed in humanitarian intervention but feared regime change, the biggest danger was that the UN was the author of the intervention. That if ‘humanitarian intervention’ was seen to be secret code for ‘regime change’; any attempt by the UN to ACTUALLY promote human rights…to protect the innocent…to take meaningful and concrete actions for ‘good’ would be fatally harmed by this action. That it was for the greater good that we let Kaddafi do what he would to ensure that the UN only flex its muscle for genuine (?) humanitarian causes.

Well, as I said it’s done…regime change done…revolution complete…the chickens will soon come home to roost.

We did not save lives – arguably…did we promote human rights – no…did we remain above petty politics for the sake of grander moral principles – NO! NATO (via the UN) saw an opportunity to remove a thorn and Libya is (perhaps) free of a dictator.

The cost?

The UN…

One thing that is constantly, and justly, raised is why Libya and not Syria (or Bahrain)? IF the UN were to be the neutral protector of BASIC human rights, it should have done something not only in Libya but also in Syria. Libya was easy…it did not have a ‘military’ institution (something seen as a criticism in Libya and a hindrance in Egypt).

Who stands to gain.

Kaddafi was not reliable…there was a moment of opportunity for regime change to a more malleable leader. Keep an eye open in the coming months for talk about ‘rebuilding Libyan infrastructure’…code for western takeover of Libyan oil. Kaddafi was a bastard but he did nationalize most of the petroleum industry and use that money for (what HE saw as) Libyan interests.

Syrians die because they have a ‘real’ air force…Syria is politically ‘complex’…Syrian lives are not as important as Libyans…Kaddafi was more embarrassing to the west than Assade…Assade had support from Iran, Kaddafi only African nations…Bahrain has the base for the US Navy’s 6th Fleet…ultimately, the cost to profit ratio was not worth it…Bahrain’s Spring…Syrian’s Spring…postponed because it was not easy!

Kaddafi is dead. The dead is done. I am unsure if I would still support UN intervention in Libya. If my concern was simply Libya I think I would not hesitate with my support for intervention. IF my concern was the UN…human rights…the world…I am not sure I could remain as confident.

Kaddafi is dead and with him any chance the UN will ‘forcefully’ intervene JUST BECAUSE of human rights…human suffering is involved…just because it’s the moral and right thing to do. The UN is a great idea, sadly it doesn’t seem to work as well in practice.

I mourn today, not for Kaddafi but for humanity as a whole.

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Missed Movement of Opportunity

Posted by Don McLenaghen on May 25, 2011

Recently there has been an icy wind between Israel and the USA over comments made by President Obama. In a speech made on May 19th and a position he has reiterated several times since, Obama stated that the time was now for Israel and Palestine to come together and settle their differences, that at least they should be able to settle what will constitute the borders of the two states. Let’s hear what Obama said in his “Moment of Opportunity” speech.

The conflict between Israelis and Arabs has cast a shadow over the region…this conflict has come with a larger cost to the Middle East, as it impedes partnerships that could bring greater security and prosperity and empowerment to ordinary people.

For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure.

As for Israel, the status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace. The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation.

Now, ultimately, it is up to the Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them. But endless delay won’t make the problem go away. A lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples.

So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, a secure Israel.

We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state. As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself.[1]

To get a tone of how this was received let’s hear a clip of Israeli President Netanyahu respond to one point in the speech.

So it’s not going to happen.  Everybody knows it’s not going to happen.  And I think it’s time to tell the Palestinians forthrightly it’s not going to happen.[2]

When I first heard this quote I was taking it out of context and only wanted to use it to show the tone of the reception of Obama’s comments. However, in a speech to a joint sitting of congress, Netanyahu made it clear that peace would be largely dictated by Israel and that the Palestinians should be thankful for that. In the speech he stated:

We must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians. I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples — a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state.

We’ll be required to give up parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland. And you have to understand this: In Judea and Samaria[3], the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers.

We’re not the British in India[4]. We’re not the Belgians in the Congo. This is the land of our forefathers, the land of Israel — and boy am I reading a lot of distortions of history lately — no distortion of history could deny the 4,000-year-old bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.[5]

The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a peace in which they’ll be neither Israel’s subjects nor its citizens. They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people living in their own state.

The Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it. They continue to educate their children to hate[6]. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

 

I stood before my people and I said, “I will accept a Palestinian state.” It’s time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say, “I will accept a Jewish state.”[7]

 

The status of the settlements will be decided only in negotiations, but we must also be honest. So I’m saying today something that should be said publicly by all those who are serious about peace. In any real peace agreement, in any peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements will end up beyond Israel’s borders. Now the precise delineation of those borders must be negotiated. We’ll be generous about the size of the future Palestinian state[8].

Israel will be generous on the size of a Palestinian state but will be very firm on where we put the border with it. This is an important principle, shouldn’t be lost.

Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel.

It’s therefore vital — absolutely vital — that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized, and it’s vital — absolutely vital — that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River.  

The Palestinian attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace.

Peace cannot be imposed. It must be negotiated.[9]

What are the issues Obama is raising that has created such controversy?

The two state solution.  First there are radicals, more now I think in Israel than in the Palestinian one, which opposes this and believe in a ‘one state’ solution[10]. Some do not believe Israel has no legitimacy of existence, however due to the actual existence and power of Israel this group are currently seen as radical extremist. On the other side, there are groups who believe in ‘greater Zion’, holding that Israel should not only annex (and of course ethnically cleanse the West bank and Gaza…in a humane manner) but also re-capture the Sinai in order to restore the biblical borders of Israel.  In reality a growing number of Israeli believe that settlement in the West Bank should be increased with the eventual goal of annexation once it has become suitably Jewish not for religious reasons but security and economic reasons. However, for the moment both one-staters are a minority.

Most people accept, including the majority of Israelis and Palestinians, that eventually there will be two states – one Israel and one Palestine; the crux of the issue is what those states will look like – geographically, economically and politically. A number of people forget that during the apartheid era in South Africa, there was created a number of ‘independent’ states as homelands for the ‘blacks’. These states were called Bantustans[11].

Bantu States - homelands generously created by South Africa

Bantu States. These were set up as semi-autonomous homelands for the native population of South Africa. These states were ‘internal’ often no-contiguous states that were intended to ensure the Blacks could not enjoy the rights of South African citizenship (making them more vulnerable to ‘security’ measures and economic pressure). A quick comparison of the map of the current Palestinian controlled lands to that of the Bantustan states[12] does seem rather similar and making such fears of Palestinians that their ‘homeland’ will be little more than a labour pool ghetto intended to insure Israel dominance and control without the legal obligations annexation would entail.

As stated, I get the impression that the current Israeli government (if not national sentiment) is to ensure that the two-state solution is not two EQUAL states. That said, western leaders, the UN and Israeli ‘official’ policy is the creation of two independent equal states…however the boundary of those states was the ‘flash point’ seen in Obama’s speech.

What Obama stated was the same things every President and most of the world (including several UN resolutions) have been saying for decades; that the border between Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 border.  Of course when you say 1967 border it is important whether you mean pre or post 1967 war.

Jerusalem.  Prior to the 1967 war, East Jerusalem was part of the “state” of Palestine however during the war Israel managed to capture all of Jerusalem and later annexed the ‘unified’ city. This is a big issue because both the Israelis and the Palestinians see Jerusalem as their capital.  If the starting point for negotiations is Pre-1967 war, then Jerusalem is open for negotiations, something Israel has stated it will never do and something the Palestinians insist upon…they do not understand why East Jerusalem cannot be the capital of Palestine and “west” Jerusalem Israel’s capital.

Religion. One of the reasons both sides are struggling over East Jerusalem is because it is the “old city’ and the location of three of the most important religious sites – The Wailing Wall which for the Jews is the part of the Second Temple; the Dome of the Rock which for Muslims is where Mohammad assented to heaven and lastly it’s the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Christians believe Jesus was crucified.

Irrespective of which line you use to create the two states, there is a lot of resistance on the Israeli side. This is because of three directly related issues and one indirect.

Security. Although much of the fighting between Israel and Palestinians has been lopsided, it is still true that Israelis feel a genuine fear of violence – be it suicide bombers, rocket attacks or simply mobs. The first two are perhaps realities they will always face…as long as the conflict exists; as I stated earlier, one-staters are a minority on both sides but as long as the issue is unresolved, attacks on Israel will persist.  The mobs (the intifadas for example although protests, mostly peaceful, occur weekly throughout the occupied territories) are the result of occupation; an issue that will disappear with the creation of Palestine and the removal of occupation forces.

Hamas. As part of the security issue, is often used by Israel as an excuse not to negotiate…and to be fair, Hamas has played hardball with the religio-political rhetoric. That said there are three main complaints with Hamas; first it refuses to recognise the state of Israel…however, it has indicated it will when Israel recognizes the state of Palestine with ‘appropriate’ borders. That it will not renounce violence…however Israel still practices ‘targeted killing’. That it will not recognize international agreements…unlike Israel which has dismissed innumerable UN declarations or international law.

BUT I don’t what to really defend Hamas, I think Gaza would be better without it (democracy failing again…Hamas was democratically elected) and feel disheartened conditions in Gaza are so harsh as to allow what I accept a radical group to rise to power (I shall resist the pull of Godwin on this one).

Even if we accepted that Hamas is as evil as Israel claims, the idea it is an actual or existential threat to the Middle East’s only nuclear power…a military giant claiming it fears the noisy mouse that is, at best, Hamas has a hollow ring.

That said, Hamas is in Gaza…an established border; it has little to do with the West Bank…the place where the border issue is discussed. Israel’s refusal to negotiate about borders with Fatah (the government of the West Bank) because the Palestinians are attempting to re-unify after a split in 2009, seems to be more of an excuse to not negotiate…not that I do not think that Hamas’s attitudes toward the state of Israel will not at some point be the main topic of discussion, the point Obama was making is that the location of the border could and should be negotiated now…that perhaps with the ‘land deal’ in hand, these other issues may just solve themselves with the main source of irritation being removed.

First it was war, then it was settlers...compare the 2000 map of Palestine to that of the Bantu States above

Settlers. Of course, Israel cannot remove its occupation forces as long as it has Jewish settlements in the West Bank[13], a lesson learnt in the Gaza Strip. The settlements are perhaps the most formable obstacle to peace. I should point out that the settlements themselves are highly illegal accounting to several international laws[14] and opinion. Sadly this is a classic (if unintentional?) tactic used by the Nazis[15], Soviets[16], Chinese[17] and other to settle ‘nationals’ on newly acquired territory so as to ensure pacification and permanent control. It also explains the resistance of Israel to ACTUALLY use the 1967 line, be it pre or post war, because if one looks at a current map of the West Bank, more than ½ of it is under settler control. IF Israel were to reconstitute the 1967 border with equivalent land swaps…well there isn’t enough land in Israel to really do that.

The Archipelago of Palestine - the view if non-Palestinian land were seen as water, what would the "state" of Palestine look like?

Right of return. This is an indirect issue and a red herring but one that gets played out in the border argument. When Israel was created a significant number of Jews and Arabs were displaced from their ancestral homes.  Most Jews emigrated willingly to the first Jewish state in millenniums while Arabs were unwilling and have been waiting for their own homeland in refugee camps for decades. Most Palestinians wishing to return to their ‘lost homes’ accept the existence of Israel and are willing (more or less) to become Israeli citizens as the price of return. Israel will never allow this to happen because of the number of Arabs claiming a right to return would so alter the demography of Israel so as to recast it as a second Palestinian state. However, most Palestinians claiming ‘right of return’ are second or third generation and do not actually expect to return to their land. They are looking more for an acknowledgment of and restitution for that loss. In this they have moral weight however I think it should be the burden of the “post WWII powers” that created Israel, largely out of guilt for the Holocaust, who should pay this restitution…being the ones ultimately responsible for the appropriation of the land.

It should be noted that Palestine was NOT created in 1967 or 1956 or 1948 because of Israel but because of Jordan and Egypt which occupied the lands the UN declared to be Palestine.

Lastly, why now? Why did Obama choose this moment to make the speech? Well, first there is not much new in the speech that has not been said before. If you look online, G.W. Bush said something similar during his presidency. It is essentially what was accepted in the Oslo Accord of 1993 and Camp David Summit of 2000.

It was also a good time because of the ‘Arab Spring’ which has seen the great apparent growth of freedom and secular democracy. However, this may not be as good as you might think. Israel, although perhaps morally opposed to the Middle Eastern dictatorships had learned to work with most of them. Their over thought has left Israel worried about threats ‘free and open’ elections might have on its own security.

However the biggest impetus for this “Moment of Opportunity” is the expected vote in September by the UN general assembly on the Palestine statehood. Palestine is planning to recognize, for the first time, the STATE of Palestine. It does this in an effort to shame Israel to the negotiation table as well as allow it greater rights under international law. It remains to be seen where this opportunity may play out but it cannot be denied it has set a fire under the Israeli government.

 


[4] By stating it this way, there is an implied denial of Palestine’s right to exist. IF we accept that the Israelis are not the British but the Indians, then this implicitly cast the Palestinians as the British…invaders who have not legitimate right to the land.

[5] A claim that is historically dubious, let us remember Israel ‘conquered’ the promised land from peoples whom the Palestinians could claim heritage. That said, the modern context (allowing modern to go back centuries), the lands Israel occupy now are NOT theirs…they are more akin to Americans or Canadians. That said, the state exists and as a reality has as much legitimacy to exist as Canada.

[6] This is a term that is based on perspective. Americans ‘taught’ hatred of imperial Britain before independence.

[7] This statement is equivalent, not to get all Godwin, to recognizing Germany and an Aryan State…states defined by race are innately racist and should be, even in this historically unique case, rejected. Both should recognize each STATE not racial states.

[8] He used the term ‘negotiate’ a lot and yet he seems to be dictating terms. That the state of Palestine will be a (reluctant) gift given (or taken away…if security requires it) to the Palestinians.

[13] Settlements on occupied territory are against several international laws. T

[14] (Geneva Convention-2001;UN General Assembly resolution 39/146-1984; UN Security Council Resolution 446-1979;International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion-2004…)

[15] Germans were encouraged to settle “unused” agricultural lands in Poland and Belarus as part of the “Lebensraum” principle.

[16] Russians were encouraged to settle in the Baltic countries (and to a lesser extent Central Asian countries) to help strengthen “communism”.

[17] Tibet has complained about the  high rates of Han Chinese the Chinese government has encouraged to settle Tibet.

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