Vredesvoorstellen :

LIBYA: The US Must End its Illegal War in Libya Now
President Obama has ripped up the US constitution for Nato's ill-considered Libyan adventure. Congress must restore sense
By Dennis Kucinich [ US Congressman] July 06 "The Guardian" --

This week, I am sponsoring legislation in the United States Congress that will end US military involvement in Libya for the following reasons:

1. First, the war is illegal under the United States constitution and our War Powers Act, because only the US Congress has the authority to declare war and the president has been unable to show that the US faced an imminent threat from Libya. The president even ignored his top legal advisers at the Pentagon and the department of justice who insisted he needed congressional approval before bombing Libya.

2. Second, the war has reached a stalemate and is unwinnable without the deployment of Nato ground troops, effectively an invasion of Libya. The whole operation was terribly ill-considered from the beginning. While Nato supports the Benghazi-based opposition (situated in the oil-rich north-east), there is little evidence that the opposition has support of the majority of Libyans. The leading opposition group, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (which had reportedly been backed by the CIA in the 1980s), should never have launched an armed civil war against the government if they had no chance absent a massive Nato air campaign and the introduction of Nato troops. Their reckless actions, encouraged by western political, military and intelligence interests, created the humanitarian crisis that was then used to justify the Nato war campaign.

3. Third, the United States cannot afford it. The US cost of the mission is projected to soon reach more than $1bn, and we are already engaged in massive cutbacks of civil services for our own people.

It is not surprising that a majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents alike think the US should not be involved in Libya.

This war is misguided. An invasion would be a disaster. Nato already is out of control, using a UN mandate allowing for protection of civilians as the flimsy pretext for an unauthorised mission of regime change through massive violence. In a just world, the Nato commander would be held responsible for any violations of international law. As a means of continuing the civil war, Nato member France and coalition ally Qatar have both admitted shipping weapons to Libya, in open violation of the United Nations arms embargo.

In the end, the biggest casualty of this game of nations will be the legitimacy of the UN, its resolutions and mandates, and international rule of law. This condition must be reversed. The ban on arms supplies to Libya must be enforced, not subverted by Nato countries. The US must cease its illegal and counterproductive support for a military resolution now.

The US Congress must act to cut off funds for the war because there is no military solution in Libya. Serious negotiations for a political solution must begin to end the violence and create an environment for peace negotiations to fulfil the legitimate, democratic aspirations of the people. A political solution will become viable when the opposition understands that regime change is the privilege of the Libyan people, not of Nato.

May 11, 2009

Israel Knows That Peace Just Doesn't Pay

by Amira Hass

Successive Israeli governments since 1993 certainly must have known what they were doing, being in no hurry to make peace with the Palestinians.
As representatives of Israeli society, these governments understood that peace would involve serious damage to national interests.

Economic damage:
The security industry is an important export branch - weapons, ammunition and refinements that are tested daily in Gaza and the West Bank. The Oslo process - negotiations that were never meant to end - allowed Israel to shake off its status as occupying power (obligated to the welfare of the occupied people) and treat the Palestinian territories as independent entities. That is, to use weapons and ammunition at a magnitude Israel could not have otherwise used on the Palestinians after 1967. Protecting the settlements requires constant development of security, surveillance and deterrence equipment such as fences, roadblocks, electronic surveillance, cameras and robots. These are security's cutting edge in the developed world, and serve banks, companies and luxury neighborhoods next to shantytowns and ethnic enclaves where rebellions must be suppressed.
The collective Israeli creativity in security is fertilized by a state of constant friction between most Israelis and a population defined as hostile. A state of combat over a low flame, and sometimes over a high one, brings together a variety of Israeli temperaments: rambos, computer wizards, people with gifted hands, inventors. Under peace, their chances of meeting would be greatly reduced.

Damage to careers:
Maintaining the occupation and a state of non-peace employs hundreds of thousands of Israelis. Some 70,000 people work in the security industry. Each year, tens of thousands finish their army service with special skills or a desirable sideline. For thousands it becomes their main career: professional soldiers, Shin Bet operatives, foreign consultants, mercenaries, weapons dealers. Therefore peace endangers the careers and professional futures of an important and prestigious stratum of Israelis, a stratum that has a major influence on the government.

Damage to quality of life:
A peace agreement would require equal distribution of water resources throughout the country (from the river to the sea) between Jews and Palestinians, regardless of the desalination of seawater and water-saving techniques. Even now it's hard for Israelis to get used to saving water because of the drought. It's not difficult to guess how traumatic a slash in water consumption to equalize distribution would be.

Damage to welfare:
As the past 30 years have shown, settlements flourish as the welfare state contracts. They offer ordinary people what their salaries would not allow them in sovereign Israel, within the borders of June 4, 1967: cheap land, large homes, benefits, subsidies, wide-open spaces, a view, a superior road network and quality education. Even for those Israeli Jews who have not moved there, the settlements illuminate their horizon as an option for a social and economic upgrade. That option is more real than the vague promises of peacetime improvements, an unknown situation.
Peace will also reduce, if not erase entirely, the security pretext for discriminating against Palestinian Israelis - in land distribution, development resources, education, health employment and civil rights (such as marriage and citizenship). People who have gotten used to privilege under a system based on ethnic discrimination see its abrogation as a threat to their welfare.

bron: Haaretz (Israel) http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1084656.html

- Al-Ahram Weekly On-Line - 04-09-2008

A waste of time

Two-state solution negotiations are still amounting to nothing,
writes Khaled Amayreh in the West Bank

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (r) welcoming Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (l) and senior Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erakat at his residence in Jerusalem on Sunday. Olmert met Abbas today for US-backed peace talks in what could be their last meeting before Olmert steps down over a graft scandal
Another failed meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas took place this week, generating more frustration and uncertainty, especially on the Palestinian side.

Some Palestinian commentators have described the latest encounter as "another classic meeting underscoring the futility and bankruptcy of the political process". One visibly angry Palestinian official in Ramallah privately dismissed ongoing negotiations with Israel as "a waste of time," saying that many months of intensive negotiations with the Olmert government have not produced "one iota of real substantive progress".

The latest meeting was supposed to explore the possibility of reaching a certain general concordance or "shelf agreement" on the main contentious issues, including the future of Jerusalem, Jewish colonies in the West Bank and the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees uprooted from their homes when Israel was created 60 years ago.

It was soon clear, however, that a deep conceptual divide between the two sides will continue to preclude any genuine hope for an agreement, either now or in the foreseeable future. On the one side, Abbas concentrated on invoking "international legitimacy" and the "rule of international law". On the other, Olmert argued that the Palestinians ought to refrain from making "maximalist demands". He ignored the fact that the PA had already ceded up to 78 per cent of historic Palestine, settling for — but not yet being granted — a mere 22 per cent that constitutes the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

Unlike previous meeting in which a certain level of harmony prevailed, the latest meeting was visibly tense, with the Israeli prime minister berating Abbas for "meeting with murderers and child-killers", a reference to the former Lebanese prisoner Samir Al-Kuntar whom Israel freed several weeks ago in return for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers Hizbullah was holding. "I didn't expect you to meet with vile murderers," shouted Olmert, as Abbas listened.

Reluctant to retort in kind to Olmert's tactless broadside, Abbas explained himself by saying that his meeting with Kuntar was unplanned. Unconvinced, Olmert shouted: "So what? If you are a man of peace, you are not supposed to meet with murderers."

That Abbas could have saved, but didn't, his own and his people's dignity by telling Olmert that Israel has the highest rate of per capita of murderers and war criminals in the world; that it is difficult to find one Israeli soldier or officer whose hands are not stained with innocent blood, appeared lost on the Israeli premier as well as on the Palestinian president. To be sure, the very survival of the PA is dependent on Israeli "good will", especially in a US presidential election year.

Following Olmert's humiliating outburst, which epitomises the condescending posture Israel adopts vis-ˆ-vis Palestinians in general, including the PA, Abbas saw it appropriate to thank the Israeli premier for releasing 198 prisoners recently, including two veteran inmates Israel considers "vile murderers". He didn't make the point then that international law protects the right to resist by all means, including armed struggle, belligerent, colonial and racist occupation.

According to PA sources, Abbas asked Olmert to release more Palestinian prisoners, including imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Al-Barghouti, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmed Sadat and, surprisingly, Aziz Duweik, the Hamas-affiliated speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The Israeli army abducted Duweik two years ago in retaliation for the capture by Palestinian fighters of an Israeli occupation soldier near Gaza.

Abbas reportedly explained to Olmert that releasing these prominent leaders would strengthen his standing in the eyes of the Palestinian public and deprive Hamas of a psychological victory in case Israel agreed to release them as part of a possible prisoner swap deal with Hamas. Olmert was noncommittal, arguing that the Israeli public couldn't psychologically fathom the release of so many Palestinian prisoners in such a short duration, especially in the absence of concessions from the Palestinian side.

By "concessions" Olmert means political concessions by the PA in matters related to final status talks. Olmert's remarks prove the long-held view that Israel is using an estimated 10,000 Palestinian prisoners as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the Palestinians.

At the end of the meeting a sullen looking Abbas left Olmert's residence without talking to the press. Olmert, on the other hand — eager to present the meeting as positive — remarked that he and Abbas had agreed on the basic goal of creating a Palestinian state to live side-by-side in peace with Israel. While Olmert has been saying the same thing ad nauseam, Israeli bulldozers and settlement expansion are making that prospect more and more illusive every day.

Palestinians are now resigned to the fact that erstwhile hopes about the creation of a Palestinian state in the foreseeable future amount to daydreaming. This week, a former advisor to late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat called for an all-out Intifada, or uprising, encompassing all the occupied territories, in order to force Israel and the international community once and for all to end the occupation. Bassam Abu Sharif argued that Israel doesn't want peace and is only seeking Palestinian capitulation to Zionism.

Meanwhile, PA official Ahmed Qurei, who holds the official title of chief negotiator, continued to reiterate old "constants"; namely the need for a total Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders and a settlement of the refugee problem pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 194. Qurei told reporters following a meeting with Quartet envoy to the Middle East former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Ramallah, that the PA would never sign a peace agreement with Israel without a complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories.

In light of the dim prospects for Palestinian statehood, support for the one-state solution, whereby Palestinians and Israelis would live in a single democratic state of all of its citizens covering all mandatory Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, is gaining momentum among Palestinian intellectuals and ordinary people alike.

Growing support for this concept is foremost motivated by a deepening realisation that any Palestinian state created in the West Bank would be unviable. Indeed, with more than half a million Jewish settlers now living in the West Bank, Israel is effectively telling the Palestinians to accept a deformed state on the remainder of the territories occupied or remain under perpetual Israeli occupation and apartheid.

In this context many are seeing that the one state solution is not only the best means to ensure justice, but is the best line of defence against intransigent Zionism.

© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly . All rights reserved

The Electronic Intifada , 13 June 2007

One-state solution "gaining ground" UN envoy admits

by Ali Abunimah

The one-state solution for Palestine-Israel is "gaining ground," a senior UN diplomat has admitted in a leaked confidential report. Recently retired UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto wrote "that the combination of [Palestinian Authority] institutional decline and Israeli settlement expansion is creating a growing conviction among Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, as well as some Jews on the far left in Israel that the two State solutiuon's best days are behind it."

De Soto's "end of mission" report delivered to his superiors in May, but published in The Guardian on June 13 contains stinging criticism of the anti-Hamas and pro-Israeli approach taken by the UN, the European Union and the United States. "The steps taken by the international community with the presumed purpose of bringing about a Palestinian entity that will live in peace with its neighbour, Israel, have had precisely the opposite effect," de Soto wrote.

While his broadsides at the failed peace process have been widely reported, his acknowledgment of the decline of the two-state solution has drawn less notice.

De Soto, a Peruvian diplomat who has also served as a special envoy to Cyprus, observed: "Given that a Palestinian state requires both a territory and a government, and the basis for both is being systematically undermined," an increasing number of Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and some Israeli Jews "believe the only long-term way to end the conflict will be to abandon the idea of dividing the land and instead, simply insist on respect for the civil, political and national rights of the two peoples, Jews and Arabs, who populate the land, in one State."

Contradicting peace process industry conventional wisdom and spin, which long held that Israel's 2005 settler pullout from Gaza was part of an effort to implement the "Road Map" peace plan, de Soto acknowledged that Israel was motivated entirely by concerns about the fact that Palestinians are once again on the verge of becoming the majority in Israeli-ruled territory (as they were prior to 1948). Israel is in a conundrum because further unilateral withdrawals are "off the table" while "the demographic clock continues to tick." De Soto predicts that "Should the PA pass into irrelevance or non-existence, and the settlements keep expanding, the one State solution will come out of the shadows and begin to enter the mainstream."

Signs that this is already happening include increased public discussion of a single state in the Palestinian solidarity community. This includes a seminar to be held this July at Spain's Universidad Complutense de Madrid at which Palestinian academics and activists from inside Israel, the occupied territories and the Diaspora, along with counterparts from Israel, Spain, South Africa and other countries will discuss legal, practical and political opportunities and possibilites for a single state.

Drawing on his experience in Cyprus, de Soto speculates that a peace plan developed originally for Cyprus based on a binational confederation could be revived for Palestine.

Ali Abunimah is cofounder of the online publication The Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse.

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