Thursday, March 18, 2010

The last accepted colonialism

From an Indiana University press release, we learn of Professor Rafael Reuveny's statement concerning recent developments in the Middle East. Professor Reuveny, formerly a resident of Israel, who came to the US in 1992, served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and is the author of several books on the Middle East, including The Last Colonialist: Israel in the Occupied Territories since 1967 [Independent Review]. Following is the full press release of March 15:

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Indiana University
Monday, March 15, 2010

IU Professor: U.S. must immediately stop funding Israeli colonial project

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Vice President Joe Biden's rebuke of Israel over proposed settlement expansion in Greater East Jerusalem is not only ineffective, it's hypocritical, said Professor Rafael Reuveny, a researcher on Middle East violence and political economy at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington.

"The United States has been funding the Israeli colonial project for decades," Reuveny said.

While Israel annually receives billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars and weapons, money and easy loans are then passed on to Israeli settlers to build homes and businesses in Palestinian territory. "It is terribly difficult for Palestinians who have very few rights in their homeland," Reuveny said. "Not only has such colonialism come to be rejected everywhere else in the world, it defeats U.S. and Israeli interests and gravely risks their national security."

As the United States struggles with security problems resulting from Israel-induced anti-Americanism, Israel faces a demographic bomb. "Because Palestinians have one of the highest fertility rates in the world, they will become the majority within approximately 10-15 years," he said. "When that happens, Israeli colonial control will resemble South Africa or Rhodesia, essentially creating a system of apartheid. As a result, international pressure will mount for a bi-national state, which is a receipt for endless violence in the Middle East and around the world."

According to Reuveny, who first arrived in the U.S. from Israel in 1992, the only way to secure peace is for Israel to dismantle all settlements, evacuate all settlers, and return to the 1967 border. "Obama's idea to freeze settlement expansion in order to bring about peace is not going to do a thing, similar to if we simply freeze the level of heroin consumption in order to bring about detoxification," he said. "By now, many Israeli citizens have come to agree with this, but religious Zionist settlers and the Israeli right wing do not, as in other efforts toward decolonization since 1945."

History has shown, he said, that a "cold-turkey," full-scale withdrawal is the only way to end wars of decolonization. "As Israel's bankroller, it is time for the United States to stop enabling Israel and force an immediate West Bank decolonization by cutting financial and military support to Israel if it does not comply. In 1991, George H. Bush was not afraid to stand up to Israel. And it worked."

Pointing to President Obama's speech in Cairo promising to bring peace to the region, Reuveny said the president has the opportunity to finally end this long-suffering conflict that plagues the world.

"He will then, undisputedly, deserve the Nobel Peace Prize," Reuveny said.

See Why don't you leave, already? [On the systematic bulldozing of Palestinians' homes and farmlands]
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Since it is unusual for someone in as high a position as General David Petraeus (CENTCOM Commander) to engage in any verbiage other than obfuscation or outright lies, his recent remarks before the US Senate are worth noting. Although his comments are nothing more than obvious observations known to any conscious citizen, there appears to be a ring of sincerity in them.

Excerpts from

Statement of General David H. Petraeus,

U.S. Army Commander

Before the Senate Armed Services Committee

March 16, 2010

The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the AOR [Area of Responsibility of CENTCOM]. Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large-scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. ...

Unresolved issues of disputed territorial boundaries and disagreements over the sharing of vital resources, such as water, oil, and natural gas, serve as sources of tension and conflict between and within states in the region. ...

Finally, because we want lasting conditions of security and prosperity, we must seek long term, enduring solutions to the challenges in the region. To this end, we work to address the root causes of instability rather than apply quick fixes to their symptoms.

Israel First? by Joe Klein

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