It’s been two centuries since the US, barely three decades into nationhood, was already breeding crooked politicians more concerned in self-interests (or those of their political parties) than in democracy or an unpervert body politic. Gerrymandering (shaping of a voting district to gain political advantage) symbolized in 1812 a first coup d’état against democracy, one which has obscenely survived in American politics to this date; its dirty and felonious state mostly absolved in both the mainstream press and US history books as “colorful” politics.
[The coinage of the term gerrymandering came to be as a fusion of the last name of a then Massachusetts governor, Elbridge Gerry, and salamander, an amphibian whose contour appeared similar to that of a created voting district. The word stuck in future roguish redistricting use regardless of geographical contour.]
Now it’s Israel’s turn to engage in these dirty tricks – self-preservation has always been Israel’s force majeure that cleanses any and all actions – and although voting is not the issue in this particular case, the reconfiguration of Palestine as to what geographical spots are to be Jewish (Israel) or Arab (future Palestinian state) is very neatly, and surgically, being made by Netanyahu’s government in Israel. Lacking a word for Israel’s trickery in this endeavor, I am suggesting we might refer to it as israelimandering.
This quadripartite effort by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia to get the negotiation talks started between Israel and the Palestinians is just the latest chapter in a work-in-progress peace that makes the most hopeful among us callous cynics. Let’s face reality: Israel, or at least its present government, is interested only in a status quo which keeps this Palestinian claudication going while it establishes a firmer hold on the occupied territories.
New Israeli plans call to add 18,000 to 24,000 settler homes in occupied Palestinian land, likely to increase by 15 percent the 550,000 Israeli settlers already living in the territory which includes the annexed portion of Arab east Jerusalem. This firming of the Israeli position prior to any talks is not only an affront to a possible peace process but an “in your face” way of Israel telling the world that the United States has always been, is, and will always be in Israel’s pocket… and that any outcry of Israel’s current behavior by John Kerry or any other public-face American is pure, unadulterated pantomime which is designed for the viewing world to see the US as a willing and equitable arbiter in all international affairs. Yet, while American diplomatic comics perform onstage, Israel is making the rounds in Washington to ascertain that no peace or understanding is ever reached with Iran, viewed by Netanyahu as dangerous and a historic mistake ; in fact, pushing the US into another war, an unwinnable war with Iran, one likely to leave the US with a decaying military carcass of WMDs still capable of annihilating much of the world… and, sadly for many Americans, a bankrupt economy that would put an end to any continuing imperial aspirations and repeat of past “glories.”
Israel’s concern these days is most definitely not the peace process with the Palestinians but any possible warming up, the reaching of an understanding, between the US and Iran. Mahmoud Abbas and his inner circle of Palestinian advisers, if truly interested in a real solution capable of bringing enduring peace to the area, must deal with reality and not the prospect of self-deceit in the creation of yet another mirage. In that regard, they should end the moratorium agreed with the US (under enormous pressure) in July not to resume their application for state membership of international bodies… after they were overwhelmingly granted by the UN General Assembly a “non-member observer” status (in UN) in 2012. Palestinians and their Arab brethren must not veil themselves with expectations of an impartial US in any future peace process. That is something that will absolutely never happen, not because of the influence exerted by Israel’s lobby in Washington’s foreign policy… but the implanted pro-Israel culture in the American public. The degree of Americans’ latent pro-Zionism does not seem to be understood by most Arabs in the Middle East. And that is a monumental mistake.
Present israelimandering in the expansion of settlements and carving of a map that will maintain the Palestinian population geographically and economically fragmented has been in existence in the Holy Land for almost half a century… Netanyahu is just the latest head of state entrusted with the task.
Settlement construction is used by Israel as necessary israelimandering to remain on top, just as gerrymandering is used in the United States to shift the vote and obtain political advantage, making a mockery of democracy.
The three-year hiatus in the peace negotiations does not seem poised to end.
© 2013 Ben Tanosborn
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