Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ever played charades?

Sorry for the two-week hiatus.  

So, to everyone's surprise, the peace talks brokered by the U.S. fell through.  Here is a poigniant critique of the debacle from the inimitable, Noam Chomsky.  
Washington’s pathetic capitulation to Israel while pleading for a meaningless three-month freeze on settlement expansion—excluding Arab East Jerusalem—should go down as one of the most humiliating moments in U.S. diplomatic history.
Hardly anyone in the mainstream media is suggesting that this is an even an embarrassment to the Obama administration, much less toting it as "one of the most humiliating moments in U.S. diplomatic history."  Who is the provider state and who is the client state in this financial relationship?  It's an ongoing role reversal that I cannot adequately explain.

Chomsky continues by bringing us back to the crux of the issue, in spite of the smoke screen that is Israel, the U.S., and the P.A.
The issue of settlement expansion is simply a diversion. The real issue is the existence of the settlements and related infrastructure developments. These have been carefully designed so that Israel has already taken over more than 40 percent of the occupied West Bank, including suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv; the arable land; and the primary water sources of the region, all on the Israeli side of the Separation Wall—in reality an annexation wall.
Chomsky closes the article by suggesting that the U.S. needs to be terminated.  For peace negotiations to go anywhere (if you do, in fact, think that peace negotiations have a snowball's chance in hell), we need a neutral, honest broker.  The U.S., when it comes to Israel, is neither neutral nor honest.  
Update: Al Jazeera video summary

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