so says hillary clinton. here is exactly what she said (with my interjections in bold in between paragraphs):
The United States supports the Palestinian Authority as the only legitimate government of the Palestinian people. As a partner on the road to a comprehensive peace, which includes a two-state solution, our support comes with more than words. As I pledged in Sharm el-Sheikh, we will work with President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad, and the government of the Palestinian Authority to address critical humanitarian, budgetary, security, and infrastructure needs, both in Gaza and in the West Bank.
um, okay, i don’t know how many times this needs to be said, but the democratically-elected government in palestine is not fatah, it is hamas. and because of you and your government, hillary, and its work over the years, with your israeli terrorist friends, to use the old-fashioned divide and conquer scheme, there is a huge rift between fatah and hamas. moreover, your pressure on fatah has made those in power in the pa do the dirty work of the americans and israeli terrorists. their work does nothing but censor dissent, imprison those who dissent.
As I said in Sharm el-Sheikh, a child growing up in Gaza without shelter, healthcare or an education, has the same right to go to school, see a doctor, and live with a roof over her head as a child growing up in any country. That a mother and a father here in the West Bank, struggling to fulfill their dreams for their children, have the same right as parents anywhere else to have a good job, a decent home, and the tools to achieve greater prosperity.
really, hillary? so what of the american-made weapons that israeli terrorists used to bomb over 200 schools–including the american international school–in gaza? and the unrwa schools, including those where palestinians made refugees yet again sought shelter: those were bombed too with weapons from your regime. do they have these rights, too? no, of course, not. because if they did, or if you thought they did, for one thing you’d be in gaza. you’d see this destruction you helped to create in gaza.
The United States aims to foster conditions in which a Palestinian state can be fully realized, a state that can provide these opportunities, a state that is a responsible partner, is at peace with Israel and its Arab neighbors, and is accountable to its people. That is the state that this government is attempting to build.
I met with Prime Minister Fayyad this morning and I expressed to him the appreciation we had for his presentation at Sharm el-Sheikh, which outlined the specific needs of the people in Gaza. I also believe that it is imperative we continue to do the reform work that the president is leading in order to bolster the credibility of the government and to serve the needs of the people.
ah, ok, i see you’re lying again. as with the report i posted the other day. not one damn dime of the $900 million you pledged is going to gaza. it’s all going to your corrupt collaborator friends in ramallah. and, a reminder, hillary: abbas has not been president since january 9th. i know, as an american, you enjoy bolstering puppet leaders and controlling governments around the world to aid your dirty work, but he is not the president. moreover, the people of palestine do not want a west bank state. the people of palestine, whether they are here, or refugees around the world, want the right of return to their homes. this is what they want and what is their right and what they deserve. not this busywork you want to help with–constantly giving money to the pa to build this and that and then giving more military aid to the israeli terrorists to destroy it. this is not a state. and there cannot be a true state under colonialism. and all that you do with your israeli terrorist friends is to create more colonial impediments to prevent palestinians from ever having a state.
I’m very grateful that President Abbas has remained firm in his commitment to move forward on a comprehensive peace and a two-state solution. President Abbas is offering the Palestinian people the chance, finally, to fulfill the aspirations to be free, independent, prosperous, and peaceful, flourishing in a state of your own. And the only way to achieve that goal is through negotiations. All who believe in this comprehensive peace, we urge you to work with the Palestinian Authority and with us, because we are determined to move forward.
Time is of the essence. We cannot afford more delays or regrets about what might have been had different decisions been made in the past. The Obama Administration will be vigorously engaged in efforts to forge a lasting peace between Israel, the Palestinians, and all of the Arab neighbors. I will remain personally engaged. As I said in Sharm el-Sheikh, this is a commitment that I carry in my heart, not just in my portfolio as Secretary of State….
the “peace process” which you refer to, what those of us who live her know and refer to as the “war process,” is made possible by american and israeli terrorist endless “negotiations.” what do negotiations mean for palestinians? more broken promises, more facts on the ground, more land confiscation, more political prisoners, more checkpoints, and more repression. and as for what is in your heart, i don’t think that you have one. you who refuses to go to gaza. you who continue to create problems for palestinians as you have since your husband was president. you who support terrorism here against palestinians and all over the world against people from the congo to iraq to afghanistan. such a person has no heart. period.
MR. WOOD: The next question is Glenn Kessler from The Washington Post.
QUESTION: Yes. Madame Secretary, Israel last week approved the demolition of 88 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem and, as you arrived, another 55 homes were slated for demolition, the largest number in one area since 1967. Will you, as James Baker did in 1991, urge a halt to such unilateral actions?
And President Abbas, what do you think of these demolitions, and has the U.S. been too silent on this issue?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Glenn, clearly, this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the roadmap. It is an issue that we intend to raise with the government of Israel and the Government at the municipal level in Jerusalem, because it is clearly a matter of deep concern to those who are directly affected.
But the ramifications go far beyond the individuals and the families that have received the notices you referenced. Yes, this will be taken up with the Israeli government.
ah, yes, here is the quote: that illegal, colonial, settlements that continue unabated as they have for over 61 years, really over 122 years, are, as you say, “unhelpful.” what is really “unhelpful” is the united states. in general. in every way. even when the u.s. pretends to “help,” it is always to further its own interests, always involving murder, massacre, repression, torture. the u.s., a country, which has never done anything to protect or further the best interests of palestinians. because if you wanted to be helpful you would sanction the israeli terrorist regime. you would stop giving them money, weapons. you would demand that palestinians have the right of return. short of that you have never helped and do not help. ever.
todd baer gives some context to clinton’s first trip to palestine, which at the time included a trip to gaza on al jazeera today:
i also find it interesting that none of the reports on hillary’s visit to ramallah today said nothing of the fact that at the precise time she was meeting with abbas and co. that israeli terrorists were busy bombing rafah with american f-16s and bombs (and, in fact, we heard those planes overhead in nablus and i am sure she could hear them in ramallah as well) as ma’an news reported:
Director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry Muawiya Hassanein told Ma’an that there were no casualties amongst Palestinian citizens.
Meanwhile, Palestinian medical sources at Abu Yousif An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah said 12 Palestinians were injured in Tuesday’s shelling of the same tunnel area.
and those children that hillary claims to care so much about–what of those who are murdered by israeli terrorists with u.s. tax dollars? or the men and women who are murdered? maram isid & ghassan bannoura for imemc news report on last month’s casualties of israeli terrorism with american weapons:
The International Relations Department of the Palestinian Liberation Organization issued on Wednesday a report documenting the Israeli military attacks on Palestinians during the month of February 2009.
The report shows that 17 Palestinian including 4 children were killed last month by the Israeli military fire in the West Bank and Gaza.
In addition there was 320 Palestinian who have been kidnapped by the Israeli troops and 8 Palestinian-owned homes demolished by the Israeli Authorities in Jerusalem, the PLO reported.
The report also shows that the Israeli army continued to siege the Gaza strip for the 19th month by the end of February; moreover the report documented a number of cases where the army did not allow patients to leave Gaza for treatment outside bringing the number of those who died due to the siege to 300 patients.
and back to hillary’s idea about what is “unhelpful” with israeli colonialism and ethnic cleansing…here is some context from rory mccarthy in the guardian on those “unhelpful” colonies in al quds:
The organisation said 15,000 units had already been approved and another 58,000 were awaiting approval.
Almost 500,000 settlers now live in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. All settlements are illegal under international law.
hillary likes to talk about rights. but she rarely does so with respect to international law and on the few occasions when she does, those rights are always for the white folks, the rich folks, the people of the global north. certainly never for palestinians. i’ve written about the new ethnic cleansing in silwan in al quds before, but there is some important context in international law that the project for monitoring israeli colonization activities posted a report that gives insight to al bustan and silwan, but also to the legal aspects, which of course, hillary chose not to speak about when she opted instead to say merely that they are “unhelpful”:
Adequate housing is one of the basic needs and rights of each person, where ‘the right to adequate housing is the right of every woman, man and child to a place to live in security and dignity.’ In the occupied Palestinian territory, Israel as an occupier should abide by the international human rights treaties to which it is a state party including: The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,. As an occupier Israel should also abide by the international humanitarian law including: The Hague Regulations and the Forth Geneva Convention. The demolition of houses in Al Bustan neighborhood would be a stark violation of these rights and covenants. Israel should be held accountable for its acts in occupied East Jerusalem and the other Palestinian Territory; should comply with the international legitimacy, laws treaties and United Nations’ resolutions; and Israel’s long time apathy of the international community’s wills must come to an end.
Following is a synopsis of Articles within these covenants, conventions and laws that address the issue of house demolitions and forced evictions under these articles:
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Article 11 (1): ‘The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions’.
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965)
Article 5: ‘States’ Parties undertake to prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination in all of its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: … (e) in particular … (iii) the right to housing’.
Universal declaration of human rights, Article 17:
1. ‘Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.’
2. ‘No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.’
1. ‘Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.’
The Fourth Geneva Convention
Article 53: ‘Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.’
Article 47: ‘Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territory and the Occupying power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory.’
Article 147: ‘Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts … extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.’
Hague Regulations 1907
Section II Article 23: ‘it is especially forbidden- to destroy or seize the enemy’s property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.’
Section III Article 46: ‘Family honor and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice must be respected. Private property cannot be confiscated.’
Agenda 21 (UNCED, 1992)
Chapter 7.6 : ‘Access to safe and healthy shelter is essential to a person’s physical, psychological, social and economic well-being and should be a fundamental part of national and international action. The right to adequate housing as a basic human right is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Despite this, it is estimated that at the present time, at least one billion people do not have access to safe and healthy shelter and that if appropriate action is not taken, this number will increase dramatically by the end of the century and beyond.’
‘People should be protected by law against unfair eviction from their homes or land’.
all of the above is in relation to the ethnic cleansing and colonization project in the silwan and al bustan areas of al quds, and indeed can be applied to all of historic palestine. here is a report on sky news from dominic waghorn on the forced removal of palestinians from their homes:
there are palestinians in al quds who have set up protest camps where hundreds of people are staging a sit-in every day, all day, around the clock. my friend wassef, from al quds, came up to nablus today for work and we went out to lunch. he has been going to the protest at the tents and told me about it. he says that everyone is too afraid of resisting this in ways beyond this vigil-like sit-in. wassef, who spent 10 years in an israeli terrorist prison for his resistance work feels that everyone, especially since gaza, sees how easy it is for palestinians to be slaughtered, imprisoned and so they feel helpless. but, of course, they want to do something. here is a story on the protest from imemc’s ghassan bannoura:
The Israeli municipality says that there are 55 homes in the Palestinian Ras Khamis neighborhood that are built without the required permissions.
Hatem Abdel al-Qader, the Palestinian Prime Minister’s advisor for Jerusalem affairs, stated that lawyers managed to stop the demolition until March 10th, by court order . He added that the camp is one in a number of actions that home owners and local activists are organizing to counter the Israeli plans. Abdel al-Qader said that there will be public and popular events of solidarity with the home owners, stressing that the Israeli plans will displace hundreds of Palestinian families.
Since Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, it has rarely given Palestinian residents permission to build homes, while continuing to expand Jewish settlements, illegal under international law, in and around the city.
Since the beginning of this year, Israel has issued orders to demolish nearly 700 Palestinian-owned homes and other structures in the city of Jerusalem, local activists reported. 88 of the homes are located in the al-Bustan neighborhood, located immediately south of the al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem’s old city.
Many of the homes were built before 1967. According to Israel’s plans, registered with the Jerusalem municipality, this traditionally Palestinian neighborhood is to become a park with flowers, trees and cafe’s.
there is another way in which hillary herself is more than “unhelpful,” but rather destructive with respect to being an agent of the u.s. and its never ending efforts to participate in divide and rule schemes around the world. i will close with a brilliant analysis by ali abunimah and hasan abu nimah on electronic intifada today so you can see precisely how hillary is helping to foment more division already:
Still reeling from the Israeli massacres in the occupied Gaza Strip, Palestinians have lately had little to celebrate. So the strong start to intra-Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo last week provided a glimmer of hope.
An end to the schism between the resistance and the elected but internationally-boycotted Hamas government on the one hand, and the Western-backed Fatah faction on the other, seemed within reach. But the good feeling came to a sudden end after what looked like a coordinated assault by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, European Union High Representative Javier Solana, and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas whose term as president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) expired on 9 January.
On Friday 27 February, the leaders of 13 Palestinian factions, principal among them Hamas and Fatah, announced they had set out a framework for reconciliation. In talks chaired by Egypt’s powerful intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, the Palestinians established committees to discuss forming a “national unity government,” reforming the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to include all factions, legislative and presidential elections, reorganizing security forces on a nonpolitical basis, and a steering group comprised of all faction leaders. Amid a jubilant mood, the talks were adjourned until 10 March.
Then the blows began to strike the fragile Palestinian body politic. The first came from Clinton just before she boarded her plane to attend a summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh ostensibly about pledging billions in aid to rebuild Gaza.
Clinton was asked by Voice of America (VOA) whether she was encouraged by the Cairo unity talks. She responded that in any reconciliation or “move toward a unified [Palestinian] Authority,” Hamas must be bound by “the conditions that have been set forth by the Quartet,” the self-appointed group comprising representatives of the US, EU, UN and Russia. These conditions, Clinton stated, require that Hamas “must renounce violence, recognize Israel, and abide by previous commitments.” Otherwise, the secretary warned, “I don’t think it will result in the kind of positive step forward either for the Palestinian people or as a vehicle for a reinvigorated effort to obtain peace that leads to a Palestinian state.”
The next strikes came from Ramallah. With the EU’s top diplomat Solana standing next to him, Abbas insisted that any national unity government would have to adhere to the “two-state vision” and abide by “international conditions and signed agreements.” He then demanded that Gaza reconstruction aid be channeled exclusively through the Western-backed, but financially bankrupt and politically depleted PA. Solana affirmed, “I would like to insist in agreement with [Abbas] that the mechanism used to deploy the money is the one that represents the Palestinian Authority.” Solana fully endorsed the campaign waged by Abbas ever since the destruction of Gaza that the PA, plagued by endemic corruption, and which only pays salaries of workers deemed politically loyal, be in sole charge of the funds, rather than neutral international organizations as Hamas and others have suggested.
Was the Sharm al-Sheikh summit then really about helping the people of Gaza or was it about exploiting their suffering to continue the long war against Hamas by other means? Indeed, Clinton had already confirmed the politicization of reconstruction aid when she told VOA, “We want to strengthen a Palestinian partner willing to accept the conditions outlined by the Quartet,” and, “our aid dollars will flow based on these principles.”
Hamas warned that Clinton’s and Abbas’s statements set Palestinian reconciliation efforts back to square one. “Hamas will not recognize Israel or the Quartet’s conditions,” said one spokesman Ismail Radwan, while another, Ayman Taha, said Hamas would “reject any preconditions in the formation of the unity government.” Khaled Meshal, head of the movement’s political bureau, insisted that the basis for national unity must remain “protecting the resistance and the rights of the Palestinian people.”
Such statements will of course be used to paint Hamas as extremist, intransigent and anti-peace. After all, what could be more reasonable than demanding that any party involved in a peace process commit itself to renouncing violence, recognizing its enemy, and abiding by pre-existing agreements? The problem is that the Quartet conditions are designed to eliminate the Palestinians’ few bargaining chips and render them defenseless before continuous Israeli occupation, colonization, blockade and armed attacks.
None of the Western diplomats imposing conditions on Hamas have demanded that Israel renounce its aggressive violence. Indeed, as Amnesty International reported on 20 February, the weapons Israel used to kill, wound and incinerate 7,000 persons in Gaza, half of them women and children, were largely supplied by Western countries, mainly the US. In a vivid illustration, Amnesty reported that its field researchers “found fragments and components from munitions used by the Israeli army — including many that are US-made — littering school playgrounds, in hospitals and in people’s homes.”
For Palestinians to “renounce violence” under these conditions is to renounce the right to self-defense, something no occupied people can do. Palestinians will certainly note that while Abbas stands impotently by, neither the US nor the EU have rushed to the defense of the peaceful, unarmed Palestinians shot at daily by Israeli occupation forces as they try to protect their land from seizure in the West Bank. Nor has Abbas’ renunciation of resistance helped the 1,500 residents in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan whose homes Israeli occupation authorities recently confirmed their intention to demolish in order to make way for a Jewish-themed park. A cessation of violence must be mutual, total and reciprocal — something Hamas has repeatedly offered and Israel has stubbornly rejected.
While Israeli violence is tolerated or applauded, Israel’s leaders are not held to any political preconditions. Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu emphatically rejects a sovereign Palestinian state and — like his predecessors — rejects all other Palestinian rights enshrined in international law and UN resolutions. When told to stop building illegal settlements on occupied land, Israel responds simply that this is a matter for negotiation and to prove the point it revealed plans in February to add thousands of Jewish-only homes to its West Bank colonies.
Yet Quartet envoy Tony Blair, asked by Al-Jazeera International on 1 March how his masters would deal with a rejectionist Israeli government, said, “We have to work with whoever the Israeli people elect, let’s test it out not just assume it won’t work.” Unless Palestinians are considered an inferior race, the same logic ought to apply to their elected leaders, but they were never given a chance.
It is ludicrous to demand that the stateless Palestinian people unconditionally recognize the legitimacy of the entity that dispossessed them and occupies them, that itself has no declared borders and that continues to violently expand its territory at their expense. If Palestinians are ever to recognize Israel in any form, that can only be an outcome of negotiations in which Palestinian rights are fully recognized, not a precondition for them.
During last year’s US election campaign, Clinton claimed she helped bring peace to Northern Ireland during her husband’s administration. Yet the conditions she now imposes on Hamas are exactly like those that the British long imposed on the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, thereby blocking peace negotiations. President Bill Clinton — against strenuous British objections — helped overturn these obstacles by among other things granting a US visa to Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, whose party the British once demonized as Israel now demonizes Hamas. Like Tony Blair, who as British prime minister first authorized public talks with Sinn Fein, Hillary Clinton knows that the negotiations in Ireland could not have succeeded if any party had been forced to submit to the political preconditions of its adversaries.
Former British and Irish peace negotiators including Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, and former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami made similar points in a 26 February letter they co-signed in The Times of London. “Whether we like it or not,” the letter states, “Hamas will not go away. Since its victory in democratic elections in 2006, Hamas has sustained its support in Palestinian society despite attempts to destroy it through economic blockades, political boycotts and military incursions.” The signatories called for engagement with the movement, affirming that “The Quartet conditions imposed on Hamas set an unworkable threshold from which to commence negotiations.”
Those who claim to be peacemakers should heed this advice. They should allow Palestinians to form a national consensus without external interference and blackmail. They should respect democratic mandates. They should stop imposing grossly unfair conditions on the weaker side while cowering in fear of offending the strong, and they should stop the cynical exploitation of humanitarian aid for political manipulation and subversion.
There are many in the region who were encouraged by US President Barack Obama’s appointment of former Northern Ireland mediator Senator George Mitchell as Middle East envoy. But in all other respects the new president has continued the Bush administration’s disastrous policies. It is not too late to change course, for persisting in these errors will guarantee only more failure and bloodshed.