FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Other Meaning of Israel’s Political Earthquake

by RAMZY BAROUD

Most of what has been written or said to depict Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s departure from the Likud party is parable to an “earthquake,” or the “eruption of a volcano,” and has, without a doubt, turned the Israeli political map “topsy-turvy,” to borrow Ha’aretz Gideon Samet’s phrase.

Like an earthquake it was unforeseeable — except to the prudent few, mostly in Israeli political circles who predicted a dead end in Sharon’s dealings with the Likud, the same political party he helped create 30 years ago.

But acknowledging the significance of the undeniably consequential event is one thing. Succumbing to a flawed analysis that it is a real opportunity to resuscitate the so-called peace process — is entirely a different matter.

Similar to his unilateral move to “disengage” from the Gaza Strip earlier this year, the rightwing prime minister once again managed to control media discourse surrounding his Nov. 21 decision to jump the Likud ship in favor of a new center-based “liberal movement” — a political party tentatively known as National Responsibility.

The U.S. media almost immediately accepted, with little scrutiny to speak of, Sharon’s announcement that he — a 77-year-old leader with extensive history of political extremism and a longer history of war crimes — has become a “centrist.”

The depiction of Sharon as a moderate, risking it all to salvage the peace process, is a misguided, if not embarrassing, inference to say the least.

While one can easily decipher the source of the upsurge in Sharon’s reputation in the media as a rising “liberal politician” — his decision to disengage from Gaza being the most obvious — one cannot help but wonder whether Sharon’s enthusiasts, who hurryingly registered his renewed commitment to the “road map” for peace in the region, were even aware of his concurrent decision to further expand three major illegal settlements in the occupied territories — Maale Adumim, Adam and Ariel.

If they were aware of his future designs, wouldn’t responsible journalism compel them to report that the road map calls for the halting of settlement expansion, as it would prejudice the outcome of any final status negotiations? Instead, the process of split-up and formation in Israeli politics was portrayed as having the potential of determining the future of the peace process, while every other fact that might negate such an assertion was omitted.

True, the upheaval and subsequent reshuffling that recently took place among the Labor party rank had more to do with redefining Israel’s priorities than achieving peace with the Palestinians. The deposing of the elitist Deputy Prime Minister and former Labor party leader Shimon Peres, in favor of the more socialist-like Amir Peretz, is in essence an attempt to reroute the government’s focus and resources to poorer Israeli communities, whose plight has deteriorated as a result of the government’s endless spending on its illegal settlements projects in the West Bank.

Nonetheless, the Likud party mayhem is essentially ideological. Though the outcome of the Israeli debacle will implausibly yield a full recognition of long denied Palestinian rights and the acceptance, without further spins, of international law as the basis of resolving the conflict, one must not unwisely write off scenarios that will possibly emerge following the March elections.

The Likud and Sharon’s emerging political party have not changed; nor have they substantially altered their ideological interpretation of their conflict with the Palestinians. Even in the midst of the disengagement hype, Sharon never ceased to assure Israelis that the move is tactical, that his commitment to the country’s expansionist project is as ever strong and so forth. The prevailing understanding among Israeli officials was that the “painful” and indeed marginal withdrawal from Gaza was merely aimed at altering demographics in favor of Israel, converge the country’s resources to expand West Bank settlements, and indefinitely postpone the peace process with the Palestinians. The strategy proved a winner when the Americans gave the nod that no such process was needed for the time being until Palestinians disarm, quit incitement, prove able to govern themselves, etc.

Empowered with unadulterated American support and a corruptible Palestinian leadership, Sharon is hoping to persist with the implementation of his vision that, in his opinion, will secure and irrevocably define Israel’s borders — even if at the expense of Palestinian land and rights. Thus, if one must accept that Sharon has indeed metamorphosed from one character to another, it was his move from being a rightwing ideologue to a rightwing strategist. Alas, for Palestinians, the end result is the same.

The changes in the Israeli political scene place Palestinians under yet more pressure to “reciprocate” while their land is being actively stolen, as their aspiration for a meaningfully sovereign state is gravely diminished.

RAMZY BAROUD, a veteran Arab American journalist, teaches mass communication at Australia’s Curtin University of Technology, Malaysia Campus. He is the editor-in-chief of PalestineChronicle.com

 

 

More articles by:

Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: ramzybaroud.net

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
Hamid Yazdan Panah
Remembering Native American Civil Rights Pioneer, Lehman Brightman
James Porteous
Seventeen-Year-Old Nabra Hassanen Was Murdered
Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail