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Is Israel Serious About Peace?

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Is Israel serious about peace? Recent events say the answer is no.

A few weeks after a new round of U.S.-sponsored talks began between Israelis and Palestinians, Israel activated its plan to construct 1,500 apartments in East Jerusalem.

The new construction will be in the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, the project initially announced by Israel during U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's 2010 visit to Israel.

Early Monday morning, a few hours before another peace talk session was scheduled to be held at the Jericho home of chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, IDF soldiers entered the Palestinian Qalandia refugee camp.

The IDF said it was looking for a "terrorist" suspect, Yousef al-Khatib, a recently-released prisoner who had been incarcerated for 10 years in an Israeli army prison.

These nighttime searches for "terrorists" have long been routine in Palestine refugee camps like Qalandia.

Aljazeera reports that Israeli forces have killed 14 Palestinians in the occupied territory this year, most of them in what Israel describes as "clashes." Three Palestinians were killed in the same period in 2012. In the Qalandia camp, three Palestinian men were shot and killed during Monday's raid.

UNRWA said one of those killed on Monday was Robin al-Abed, a 34-year-old father of four, who worked for UNRWA. He was walking to work when he was shot in the chest. The agency condemned the killing.

To protest the killings, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cancelled Monday night's peace session. Meanwhile, the question persists: Does Israel have a government that is serious about peace?

Perhaps a more pertinent question would be: Why should Israel even pretend to be serious about peace when it already has the peace it wants.

That peace is called "occupation," a state of affairs in which an invading army assumes total and permanent control of an occupied population.

Israel's occupation is sustained, encouraged and funded by the United States. U.S. public opinion tolerates, ignores and in some sectors, strongly supports the occupation, thanks in no small measure to Israel's propaganda assistant institutions in the U.S., including the media and the churches, agencies which are supposed to be holding the public to higher moral standards.

Note to future empire builders: Your best Fifth Column operatives will be in institutions that shape public opinion.

Israel's occupation is not about security. It is all about maintaining what we should have long ago admitted is a "Carthaginian peace."

A Carthaginian peace describes a deceptive agreement that over the centuries has emerged as synonymous with any plan enforced by a winning side in a conflict which leads to nothing less than the total submission of a defeated enemy.

The Versailles treaty that followed World War I is the most recent example. That treaty is a Carthaginian peace because the victorious Allied nations designed a "peace" intended to leave Germany as a weakened state. That action, of course, led to the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust.

A Carthaginian peace is not without its consequences.

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

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