By William Hanna
14 October, 2014
“There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word, which means more to me than any other. That word is England.” Sir Winston Churchill
The last seriously sad day in the annals of British democracy was in 2003 when smarmy British Prime Minister Tony Blair — urged on by his Zionist paymasters but against the will of the majority of British people — launched his career as a multimillionaire war criminal Middle East “peace Envoy” by taking Britain to war on the back of the blatant lie that Iraq’s Saddam Hussain had weapons of mass destruction that could be deployed within 45 minutes.
Now in October 2014 British Members of Parliament have just passed a motion by 274 votes to 12 stating: “That this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.” While the motion carries symbolic value for Palestinians in their pursuit of international recognition, it will in no way affect the government’s Israel-biased stance on the issue. Furthermore it would be a mistake for the pro-Palestinian lobby — or anyone else for that matter — to regard this as a victory when in actual fact it is a defeat at the hands of the Zionist Israel lobby who as usual can rely on a British Prime Minister to genuflect before them.
“What I have always understood is the extraordinary journey of the Jewish people. Thousands of years of history in this holy land, thousands of years of persecution, and even today some people despicably questioning your right to exist [a right which the Palestinian people do not have]. Now, my Jewish ancestry is relatively limited but I do feel some sense of connection from the lexicon of my great-great grandfather, Emile Levita, a Jewish man who came from Germany to Britain 150 years ago [at a time when Palestine was inhabited by Palestinians] to the story of my forefather, Elijah Levita, who wrote what is thought to have been the first ever Yiddish novel. But more importantly, I have learnt to understand something of Jewish values and character [Operation Protective Edge?], and I have grown to appreciate the extraordinary contribution of the Jewish people to my country and to the world [annually relieving U.S. taxpayers of more than $3 billion]. That sense of understanding has shaped my determination to remember the past, my commitment to Israel in the present, and my hopes for Israel’s future . . . ”
British Prime Minister David Cameron obsequiously offering his credentials to the Knesset during a March 2014 visit, but failing to acknowledge a commitment to his own country or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which Israel contemptuously ignores.
Prior to the vote, busy bee “Friends of Israel” individuals and organisations resorted to their usual ploy of appearing reasonable by expressing “full” support for a state of Palestine achieved through negotiations. The Zionist Federation, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Board of Deputies, and the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre (BICOM) all urged MPs to “ensure that the weight and authority of the Commons remains behind encouraging a negotiated and lasting peace [which Israel has never and will never allow to happen because that would curtail its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people which in turn facilitates the gradual but resolute theft of Palestinian land for a Greater Israel], rather than supporting steps that might make peace more difficult to secure.” BULLS✡✡T!
The opinion that the passing of this motion is another sad day in the annals of British democracy stems from the fact that out of some 650 Members of Parliament, a majority of over 360 of them led by Prime Minister David Cameron, decided to abstain. So irrespective of how one may endeavour to explain such abstentions there is no escaping the reality that an “abstention” is no different from an emphatic “no!” This would suggest — on the assumption that MPs’ views are representative of those of their constituents — that the majority of British citizens (or are they now just subjects), including David Cameron, believe that Israel has every right to “defend itself” by any means including the genocide of the Palestinian people.
In accordance with that right, Israel has since its arguably illegal inception in 1948, “defended itself” by initially murdering thousands of unarmed Palestinian civilians and terrorising another 700,000 of them into fleeing and abandoning their homes; by causing more than 3.8 million displaced Palestinians and there descendants to become UN-registered refugees with another 1.5 million being unregistered; by openly declaring Palestinians to be beasts and depriving them of every human and legal right with the enforcement of Apartheid; by arbitrarily stealing Palestinian land, resources, and water (which they sell back to them at exorbitant prices) so as to accommodate illegal Jewish settlements; by enforcing a much abused system of Administrative Detention — including women, children, and the elderly — that defies even basic principles of Nazi era justice; by maintaining an air, sea, and land blockade of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (open prisons for 3.5 million Palestinians) that prevents the import of essential goods including food and medical supplies; and by using overwhelming military force to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people who don’t have a single tank, warship, or jet fighter with which to defend themselves.
No intelligent person could honestly suggest that the people of Britain or any other nation believe that Israel is entitled to continue mercilessly persecuting the Palestinian people with impunity. So how does Israel consistently manage to get away with so many violations of international law? The answer is perhaps best provided by a recent must read article by Ariadna Theokopoulos in Deliberation which asked the question “How Many Jews Are Too many” (http://www.deliberation.info/many-jews-many/).
Unfortunately the passing of this motion by a British parliamentary minority is of less significance than the recent announcement by Sweden that it is to “recognise the state of Palestine” and thereby become the first long-term European Union member country to do so. Though more than 130 other countries already recognise a Palestinian state, no one should hold their breath in anticipation of a British government doing so in the foreseeable future. As Ariadna Theokopoulos made very clear in her article, there is a very determined and insidious “friends of Israel” lobby that corrupts and exerts influence over western democracies.
“I will always stand up for the right of Israel to defend its citizens, a right enshrined in international law, in natural justice and fundamental morality [which is not applicable to the Palestinian people because their lobby is nowhere near as powerful as yours], and in decades of common endeavour between Israel and her [bought and paid for political] allies. When I was in opposition, I spoke out when – because of the law on universal jurisdiction – senior Israelis could not safely come to my country without fear of ideologically motivated court cases and legal stunts [how dare they]; when I became Prime Minister, I legislated to change it. My country is open to you [barbarous war criminals] and you are welcome [as are your shiny shekels] to visit any time .”
Prime Minister David Cameron taking the art of Knesset-grovelling to new heights.
William Hanna is a freelancer with a recently published book the Hiramic Brotherhood of the Third Temple and have no objection to inclusion of my Website address which contains contact details and other articles. http://www.hiramicbrotherhood.com
By Recognizing “State of Palestine,” Sweden Could Harm Palestinians
By Ali Abunimah
14 October, 2014
The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah was ecstatic last weekend after Sweden’s new center-left Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced in his inaugural address to parliament what appeared to be a break with Western orthodoxy: his country would recognize the “State of Palestine.”
“We salute the announcement by the Swedish prime minister,” crowed Saeb Erekat, the PA “chief negotiator.”
Although dozens of countries already recognize the “State of Palestine,” including several in Europe, Israel’s staunchest backers – the US, Canada, Australia and most of the European Union states – do not.
For the PA, with no achievements – and many losses – to show for more than two decades of a “peace process,” such diplomatic recognition is a coveted prize that gives the false impression of progress.
But American objections and Israeli fury quickly pushed the Swedes to try to cool expectations.
On Friday, US State Department spokesperson Jennifer Psaki criticized the Swedish move as “premature.”
The Swedish ambassador in Tel Aviv was summoned to the Israeli foreign ministry for a scolding on Monday – but Sweden’s government would not reveal the content of his discussion with Israeli officials.
And the Swedish prime minister was subjected to the usual insults by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman who suggested that Löfven did not understand the region.
“If what concerns the prime minister of Sweden in his inaugural address is the situation in the Middle East, he would better focus on the more urgent problems in the region, such as the daily mass murder taking place in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the region,” Lieberman advised.
Publicly, the Swedes did their best to soothe Israel’s anger.
Prime Minister Löfven spoke with Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog, chair of Israel’s Labor Party, a “sister party” to Löfven’s Social Democrats.
Herzog told Haaretz that Löfven stressed that Sweden “wasn’t going to recognize a Palestinian state tomorrow morning” and “wants to speak first with all the relevant parties, including Israel, the Palestinians, the United States and other EU states.”
So much for a big, bold break.
Also on Sunday, Sweden’s foreign ministry tweeted out Löfven’s exact words apparently to underline Sweden’s support for the sterile “peace process” and the “two-state solution.”
And this statement was posted on the website of the Swedish embassy in Tel Aviv:
The following text is a quote from the Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s declaration on the government policy in the parliament on 3 October.
“The conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be resolved through a two-state solution, negotiated in accordance with the principles of international law. It must guarantee the legitimate demands of both the Palestinians and the Israelis for national self-determination and security. A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to coexist peacefully. Therefore, Sweden will recognize the State of Palestine.”
Löfven’s commitment has no specific date attached to it, leaving, at best, confusion over his government’s intentions.
Sweden’s new foreign minister Margot Wallström added to the confusion, tweeting cryptically: “Recognizing Palestine: Important step towards a two-state solution. Both sides must be respected.”
By “both sides,” she presumably means the occupier and colonizer on the one hand, and its victims, on the other.
Sweden’s misguided motives
Wallström elaborated on Sweden’s intentions in comments to the newspaper Dagens Nyheter on Sunday.
The minister said that the strong Israeli reaction was unsurprising: “This I can understand and respect even if I do not share it.”
She said she didn’t think the planned move would “have any serious impact on relations between Sweden and Israel,” stressing “We have good relations.”
She rejected criticism that the move was too early: “I would say that the risk is that it is too late.”
But why float this step at all? “It is important that we take an initiative that hopefully will inspire other countries,” Wallström said.
Wallström is right: it is too late. It is too late to revive the dead “peace process” and there is no point talking about a “two-state solution” anymore. She’s also right to suggest that things cannot go on as they are and something must be done.
But moving from quiet complicity with Israel to antagonizing it with symbolic recognition of a Palestinian state – while maintaining “good relations” – will do absolutely nothing to change the Palestinian reality, even if other states followed Sweden’s lead (if and when it comes).
“State” harms Palestinians
As I have explained in my book The Battle for Justice in Palestine and in an article for Al-Shabaka, recognition of a Palestinian “state” in a fraction of Palestine actually negates the rights of most Palestinians and conflicts with the Palestinian right of self-determination.
While recognizing the “State of Palestine” excites and pleases many who support the Palestinian cause, people should not to get carried away with the aesthetics of “statehood” in what would amount to a bantustan.
Instead, I have argued, they should focus on the negative consequences for the right of return and the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The main purpose of the so-called two-state solution is not to restore Palestinian rights, but rather to preserve and recognize Israel’s so-called “right to exist as a Jewish state.”
As I further explain in this excerpt from my book, Israel’s claimed “right to exist as a Jewish state” can only be exercised by violating in perpetuity the rights of millions of Palestinians – Palestinian citizens of Israel who will retain second-class status if not expelled outright, and Palestinian refugees who will never be allowed back home. And even the rights of Palestinians in the so-called “state” would barely be realized since Israel insists that this state have extremely curtailed sovereignty.
So from my perspective, I do not see recognition of a Palestinian “state” in the context of the so-called two-state solution as anything to celebrate. Indeed, it may well be harmful to Palestinians in the long run.
What Sweden could do
But I do applaud Sweden’s desire to show leadership, initiative and to break with a stifling consensus. So, here are some ideas for Sweden’s new government that might actually do that:
Lead a campaign for the immediate, unconditional end to Israel’s illegal siege of Gaza, which amounts to “collective punishment.”
End Sweden’s arms purchases from Israel and call on all countries to impose an arms embargo.
End Sweden’s military collaboration with Israel.
Stop Swedish and EU financial support for Israeli occupation.
Stop EU research support to Israeli occupation.
Support efforts to bring Israeli war criminals to justice by arresting war crimes suspects who set foot in Sweden and by encouraging other countries to do the same.
Ban the import to Sweden of all Israeli settlement goods, and encourage EU countries to do the same.
Urge EU countries to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement.
Sweden led the way among European countries in opposing apartheid in South Africa. That included rejecting the regime’s bantustans which were designed to preserve apartheid by disguising it as “independence” for Blacks.
It is also past time for Sweden and other countries to stop concealing their complicity with Israeli apartheid behind the so-called “two-state solution” and to openly support full rights and equality for all Palestinians throughout historic Palestine.
Ali Abunimah is Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.