For the first week in a couple of months I have not posted once on the blog. I've been working on two larger articles so the news summaries and short analysis have fallen victim to the time write and fact-check those articles. However, it's Friday morning and I have several links to relevant and interesting articles that I'm afraid I won't be able to share come Monday. So here it is, your Friday morning link dump (with a little bit of summary and analysis too):
First, there is a new site up defending the Goldstone Report. The site has articles, resources, and a video summary of the Report's findings (narrated by American academic Noam Chomsky himself). The site currently has two chapters of the report on video and it looks like more may be added. It is certainly a valuable resource and perhaps a better way to get people to understand what exactly is in the much-hated report without making them read 600 pages. People love to hate Goldstone, but it certainly does not seem like many have taken the time to read the report before breathing fire at it.
Hagit Ofran at Huffington Post has a great article on how Israeli settler groups in the West Bank scuttled a project to build a hospital for Palestinian children. It includes all of the aspects you might expect of the humiliating occupation of Palestinians and the apartheid-by-permit system that exists in the West Bank: land annexation, Palestinian-owned lands arbitrarily being declared Israeli military zones without warning, settlers squatting on land that does not belong to them, facts on the ground, and the Israeli government endorsement of all of the above. It's horribly disheartening but shows the settler groups for exactly what they are: racists. I am tiring of skirting the issue. Israel's settlement enterprise is a "peculiar institution" built on racism, religious extremism, and ultra-nationalism. I think what irks me most is that the "Infallible Israel" crowd always crows on their talking point about how Palestinians have only built the infrastructure of terror when they should have been building their state. This article speaks so clearly to how that talking point is demonstrably false (and racially tinged itself). Palestinians simply have not been able to build a state because infrastructure is so hard to build in the Occupied Territories. The Israeli government's support to these settler groups demonstrates without a doubt that Israel is not ready to pursue peace. Until they renounce the continued expansion of the settlement enterprise, Israel will always be negotiating in bad faith.
Continuing on the issue of Israeli settlements, my least favorite Congressman, Israel's representative to the U.S. Senate Joseph Lieberman continued to show his total lack of comprehension of the conflict in the Holy Land in an interview he gave to the Jewish Ledger in which he asserted that "community building" (Israeli colonization and annexation of Palestinian lands in the West Bank) is not an obstacle of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Of course it's not, Joe! Why would the Palestinians view the slow annexation of the lands they are trying to build a state on an obstacle to building that very state? Every U.S. administration since the beginning of Israel's occupation of the West Bank in 1967 has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Every major peace initiative has acknowledged how harmful (and illegal) Israel's settlements are. The Road Map specifically calls for an end to settlement building, and following the failed 2001 Camp David peace talks, Aaron David Miller, hardly a far left Palestinian-sympathizer (he admitted his delegation acted as "Israel's lawyer"), lamented that the talks failed partly because the American and Israeli delegations failed to truly understand how much of an obstacle to peace Israeli settlements were and how important stopping their expansion was to Palestinians. James Baker, Secretary of State to George H.W. Bush even asserted, "Both Democratic and Republican administrations have long endorsed the U.S. policy that settlements are an obstacle to peace." Even Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu gets it, as he imposed a farcical settlement "freeze" to attempt to get the Palestinians back to the negotiating table that could very well be the end of their hopes for statehood. Joe Liebeman just does not get it. And aside from this, I have trouble trusting anyone who looks at any nation and is so blind as to not be able to find one single small fault. There is so much talk about settlements because the settlements are the single largest issue of contention in the search for peace in the Holy Land. Following closely behind are Palestinian factionalism and the status of East Jerusalem (which itself can be tied to the settlement issue), but the continued expansion of settlements in the West Bank and the oppressive infrastructure that accompanies them plagues the Palestinian existence and renders peace elusive.