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In Their Own Juice

By       Message Uri Avnery     Permalink
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Cross-posted from Gush Shalom

From Middle-East Peace Talks FAIL
Middle-East Peace Talks FAIL
(image by YouTube)

ACCORDING TO press reports, President Barack Obama has decided to let Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas "stew in their own juice."

That sounds fair.

The United States has tried very hard to make peace between Israel and Palestine. Poor John Kerry has devoted almost all of his considerable energies to getting both sides to meet, to talk, to reach compromises.

At the end of nine months, he found out that it was a false pregnancy. No baby, not even a fetus. Nothing at all.

So American leaders are justified in feeling angry. Angry at both sides. Neither of them has shown any willingness to sacrifice its interests in order to do a favor to Obama or Kerry. Ungrateful, these Middle Easterners.

So it seems that the reaction is justified. You don't want to fulfill our wishes? Go to hell. Both of you.

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THE IMPORTANT word in these sentences is "both."

But "both" is based on a lie.

When one says that "both" did not behave as expected, that "both" did not make the "necessary hard decisions" that "both" should stew in their own juice, one consciously or unconsciously assumes that they are equal. Nothing is further from the truth.

Israel is immeasurably stronger than Palestine in every material respect. One resembles a sleek American skyscraper, the other a dilapidated wooden shack.

Palestine is under occupation by the other half of "both." Palestinians are totally deprived of all elementary human and civil rights. Average income in Israel is 20 times higher than in Palestine. Not 20%, but a staggering 2000%. Militarily, Israel is a regional power, and in some respects a world power.

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In this reality, speaking of "both" is at best ignorant, at worst cynical. The very presentation of this picture of "both" is tantamount to acceptance of the Israeli narrative.

WHAT DOES it mean for "both" to stew in their own juice?

For Israel, it means that it can continue to build new settlements on Arab land in the occupied West Bank without foreign interference. It can make life in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ever harsher, in the hope that more and more Palestinians will prefer to leave. Arbitrary killings of civilians by occupation troops occur every few days.

Some of us realize that this course is leading to disaster in the form of a bi-national state, in which an ever-growing disenfranchised Arab majority will be ruled by the Jewish minority. That is called apartheid. But most Israelis don't see it.

Israelis are happy, and never happier than this week. In a modern repetition of the Biblical David-and-Goliath story, the Tel Aviv Maccabi basketball team beat the formidable Real Madrid team for the European championship. National pride has risen to Olympic heights. (In a childish race, President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu each tried to waylay the winning team on its way to the popular reception in Rabin Square, in order to bask in reflected glory.)

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