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What I love

Warren Kennedy, Mullumbimby

In reply to my letter Danny Wakil asks what I love. Well for a start, I love justice and hate injustice and there is no greater injustice in this century than the 50+ years of occupation imposed on Palestinians by Israel.

I call the peace offers a sham because if Israel were serious it would not have continued to expand the illegal settlements. The peace accords made over the decades all failed because Israel acted in bad faith by continuing to expand the settlements, making it impossible for the Palestinian Authority to co-operate.

Only this week the Israeli government approved 1,000 new settler homes in the West Bank. Why is Israel still (illegally) moving thousands of Israeli citizens into the West Bank if it has peaceful intentions? Surely not to move them out again as part of a peace settlement?

They won’t be moving out: ‘I don’t want to give you any inside tips, but I can promise you that no settlements in the land of Israel will be evacuated.’ This was Prime Minister Netanyahu’s response to a question asked on Instagram on 20 August by a person who wanted to know whether he should buy a home in the West Bank or be concerned about a possible future evacuation that would affect his investment. Clearly Netanyahu’s intention is annexation.

Annexation is certainly on the Israeli government’s mind. On 7 August it argued to the Supreme Court that the Knesset can make laws applying everywhere in the world, and can violate sovereignty of foreign states.

Petitioners to the court had argued that the Knesset cannot enact laws to annex the West Bank or that violate the rights of Palestinian residents of the West Bank.

But the government asserted that ‘the Knesset [is permitted] to impose the powers of the military commander of the [West Bank] region as it sees fit”; “the Knesset [is permitted] to define the authorities of the military commander as it sees fit’; ‘[the authority] of the Government of Israel to annex any territory or to enter into international conventions derives from its authority as determined by the Knesset’; and that ‘[the Knesset] is allowed to ignore the directives of international law in any field it desires’.

This, together with recent legislation such as the Nation-State law, makes it clear that Netanyahu is preparing for annexation.

Mr Wakil blames Hamas for the violence but this is surely blaming the victim. Hamas has the same moral authority for resisting illegal occupation as the French resistance had opposing German occupation. They are justifiably resisting illegal occupation resulting from war.

The violence is not caused by Hamas but by the occupation, which imposes imprisonment and cruel hardship on the long-suffering people of Gaza.

Finally, to be clear I did not say that Jews had never lived in Palestine. What I wrote was that most Jewish Israelis are immigrants or children of immigrants and that people who lived there in 1948 had the best claim to the land. That would have included Jews, Muslims, Christians and others. But only the Jews were spared ethnic cleansing.

It might make one feel better making well-intentioned but pointless gestures such as putting Palestinians and Israelis together in AFL teams but don’t think that this will affect the outcome in any way. This is just window dressing – a feel-good PR exercise to downplay the situation: ‘see, it’s not so bad; they are playing together’.

The fate of the Palestinians is being decided currently in Washington and Tel Aviv and the denouement will be an exercise of realpolitik.


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