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Israel/Palestine: More on the Sham Peace Talks

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Israel/Palestine: More on the Sham Peace Talks - by Stephen Lendman

On and off for the past 35 years, so-called "peace" talks repeatedly have been stillborn from inception, a grand illusion masking an Israeli/Washington partnership intolerant of peace, demanding unconditional surrender, nothing less, the de facto Oslo result, one-sided for Israel, Palestinians given nothing to this day, enduring worse conditions now than then.

What chance then now for peace with no legitimate partner, its democratically government excluded, a coup d'etat president 20 months past his term's expiration representing them, and an Arab hating Israeli Prime Minister once calling it "a waste of time."

In addition, the Israeli Lobby controls Washington's Middle East agenda, unwilling to grant Palestinians any rights. As a result, they endure daily violence, not stopping even as a show of good faith, and Netanyahu's announced settlement freeze was bogus. Construction slowed, but never stopped. Some process. Imagine what's coming. More of the same, not an equitable just peace. The charade goes on, a spectacular deception, Palestinians to be blamed when it fails for not negotiating in good faith.

Here's more. From August 26 - September 1, Israeli forces made 37 incursions into West Bank communities and another into Gaza, arresting 15 Palestinians, including three children. Four paramedics and two human rights workers were also detained, and six Palestinian civilians and an international activist injured. In addition, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers and shepherds in Hebron and Salfit as well as other civilians and their cars on main roads, acting lawlessly with impunity as they always do, authorities practically incentivizing them to commit violence and destructive acts.

These incidents aren't isolated. They occur daily in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, women and children treated like men, none of it reported in America and most Western media sources. However, after four retaliatory Palestinian attacks killed four Israeli settlers, it made headlines, New York Times writers Israel Kershner and Mark Landler as one-sided as others headlining, "Killing of Israeli Settlers Rattles Leaders," calling it disruptive on the eve of peace talks, saying:

"The military wing of Hamas, the Islamic group," carried out the attack, quoting Netanyahu "condemn(ing) the 'atrocious murder,' which Israeli officials said seemed calculated by Hamas to upset the negotiations," a White House statement calling the attackers "enemies of peace."

However when Israeli settlers attack nonviolent Palestinians, they're never called militants, the Jewish group, or "enemies of peace." Their repeated offenses aren't even reported, even when deaths occur, nor are daily IDF incursions and horrific crimes. They slip quietly under the radar, never when Jews are harmed.

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On September 5, Israel's Foreign Minister/Deputy Prime Minister, Avigdor Lieberman (an outspoken anti-peace extremist) addressed his ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party calling peace with the Palestinians unattainable, "not next year and not for the next generation....Our proposal is: No to unilateral concessions, no to continuing the settlement freeze (never, in fact, frozen), yes to serious negotiations and mutual gestures of good faith," though Lieberman offers none of his own.

Instead, in late August, he disingenuously proposed ending Israel's Gaza occupation, letting Hamas establish an independent state, conditional on its "satisfying legitimate Israeli security concerns." It's a ruse from a hard right extremist, contemptuous of democracy and Palestinian rights. He called Arab Israelis a fifth column, wanting citizenship rights revoked for those unwilling to sign a Loyalty Oath pledge it to a "Jewish, Zionist, and democratic state," its emblems and values, and to perform military or equivalent service as a condition for a national identity card signifying citizenship.

Lieberman, of course, knows Hamas won't agree or stop resisting Israel's illegal West Bank/East Jerusalem occupation and theft of Palestinian land for expanded settlements, commercial development, and other Jews-only projects.

For many years, however, it offered to recognize Israel and renounce resistance in return for a long-term Hudna (armistice or truce), ending the occupation, and withdrawing Israeli forces inside 1967 borders.

Lieberman, his party, and the entire Netanyahu government want all valued West Bank land and Jerusalem Judaized, Palestinians confined to isolated resource poor cantons, surrounded by hostile settlers, allowed to commit violence with impunity. Hamas never will agree nor should they. It's hard imagining Fatah acquiescing, though its subservience to Israel stops only rhetorically.

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In agreeing to peace talks, Fatah isolated itself from all other Palestinian political factions against it, knowing the sham process and unacceptable demands. Abbas, however, conceded, a man contemptuous of his people, an illegitimate leader, his appointed prime minister, Salam Fayyad, a former IMF operative and World Bank official, his Third Way party getting only 2.4% of the 2006 election vote, electing two of 132 Palestinian National Authority (PA) seats - in other words, a renouncing rejection of the man, his party, and his commitment to Israeli and Western interests, precisely why he's Abbas' prime minister, a contemptible rogue leader.

One of many reasons clear after the settler killings, Hamas' Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades claiming responsibility. In response, Abbas' security forces arrested dozens of Hamas members and supporters unrelated to the incident. Instead teachers, traders, workers, students, professionals, and imams were rounded up and detained, many at home or work, others summoned to come to security services' offices, then forcibly held.

Detainees include 45 in Hebron, 23 in Tulkarm, 20 in Salfit, 19 in Qalqilya, 15 in Nablus, 11 in Ramallah and al-Bireh, eight in Tubas, and six each in Bethlehem and Jenin. From past experience, none will be treated kindly, Fatah known for torture like the Israelis to extract confessions and get names of others to arrest.

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