My, it's been a refreshingly long time since we've heard from Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian, on the subject of Palestine/Israel. All good things must come to an end though, and the bugger's back on the opinion pages with the usual Zio-centric tripe: There may be the will but not necessarily the way: Peace in the Middle East is not possible whatever Obama does so long as Palestinians oppose it (5/2/09).
On Planet Sheridan, of course, it's always the Palestinians who want war, and it's always the Israelis who strive for peace, including Likud leader and probable next prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "Netanyahu will be demonised by the usual suspects but he will be no barrier to peace."
No barrier to peace? Does The Australian's foreign editor bother reading his own foreign correspondents? Apparently not. Here's what The Australian's Jerusalem correspondent Abraham Rabinovich wrote about Netanyahu on 30/1/09: "Of the 3 candidates for prime minister, Mr Netanyahu is the only one who does not endorse a two-state solution as advocated by the US - a Palestinian state and a Jewish state alongside each other." (Right-wing, one-state party leads Israeli polls)
Did he bother reading The Australian's Middle East correspondent John Lyons' report about Netanyahu vowing to "'completely uproot' Hamas in the Gaza Strip" and "defeat 'the Iranian threat at all levels'"? (We must drive out enemies, says Bibi, 6/2/09) It seems not.
Even if Netanyahu found peace in the way that some people find Jesus, there'd be the slight matter of the Likud charter (aka the Likud Party platform), unheard of in the pages of The Heart of The Nation: "The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan River. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as independent and sovereign state."/"The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel... The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting." (Likud Charter does not recognise Palestine, Frank Barat, palestinechronicle.com, 31/1/09)
He's going to tear up that little barrier to peace, is he?
On Planet Sheridan, an entity he calls "Palestine" is going to get "all the land of the West Bank and Gaza except for the large Jewish settlement blocks [sic] that are effectively suburbs of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. These house 80% of the Jewish settlers on 5% of the disputed land. The new Palestinian state would get land from Israel proper to make up for this 5%."
This, of course, is an exercise in prestidigitation: 1) "Disputed land" is Zionist jargon for occupied land; 2) The large Israeli settlement blocs are not "effectively suburbs of Tel Aviv"; and 3) When Sheridan talks about "Palestine" getting "all of the land of the West Bank," he either fails to let on, or is ignorant of the fact, that 30% of the West Bank, namely the Jordan Valley, will be retained by Israel, and that another 10% has been hived off by Israel's apartheid/annexation wall. All of the West Bank, itself only 22% of historic Palestine, thus reduces by 40%.
On Planet Sheridan, poor old Israel, despite its itching to get rid of "all" (or even 55%) of the West Bank, is unfortunately unable to find a "credible Palestinian leadership [which] can put an end to serious terrorism especially cross-border rocket launches," or which "will accept that such a settlement is the end of Palestinian territorial claims."
Shucks! Apparently, neither Abbas nor Hamas are credible. Nor Arafat before them. Nor... In fact, never being able to find a Palestinian peace partner is actually something of a Zionist tradition. As Middle East scholar Gabriel Piterberg has pointed out, back in 1924, when the British proposed to establish a legislative council for all of Palestine's inhabitants on the basis of the existing demographic configuration (Jewish minority/Arab majority), the leader of Palestine's Jewish community, David Ben-Gurion, found himself in a lather as to how to avoid dealing with the (then) leadership of the Palestinian national movement: "Ben-Gurion employed every trick in the book to avoid doing so, from a spurious white man's burden ('we' cannot reach a true understanding with the Arabs until 'we' help them become civilized and progressive, and until 'we' help transform their national movement so that it is led by workers rather than effendis and clerics), through settler-colonial superciliousness to outright cynicism and procrastination. This he did by means of what [Shabtai] Teveth [his biographer] calls the 'class formula'... Only when the Arab national movement is led by workers, proclaimed Ben-Gurion, will such an understanding be possible. Why the need to stall? Ben-Gurion's vision of how the Zionist project would come to fruition was in essence no different from Jabotinsky's 'Iron Wall' metaphor in his 1923 article of the same name, which recognized the genuine resistance of indigenous people to the threat of external dispossession and the corresponding solution of erecting an iron wall - 'the strengthening in Palestine of a government without any kind of Arab influence'. Where Ben-Gurion differed from Jabotinsky was in his view that it was unwise openly to define the reality in Palestine as a conflict between a settler-national movement versus an indigenous one until the Yishuv became ineradicably solid. The class formula was an expedient rationale for stalling, crafted as it was in a language perfectly appropriate to Ben-Gurion's institutional position as secretary general of the Histadrut. For Ben-Gurion such language was expedient; he dropped it like a hot potato as soon as he could." (The Returns of Zionism: Myths, Politics & Scholarship in Israel, 2008, pp 73-74) Eighty-five years on, Zionist leaders are still stalling.
On Planet Sheridan, it should come as no great surprise to find that the Gaza massacres are all Hamas' fault: "The cost in innocent Palestinian lives was heavy and tragic, and the fault... rests entirely with Hamas, the terrorist death-cult that rules Gaza. I do not believe a single story of Israeli war crimes or atrocities in Gaza. There is no evidence of any such story beyond Palestinian eye-witness accounts and on countless* previous occasions these accounts have been fabricated... The Israelis are among the most disciplined troops in the world and go to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties." No mention of the international media being kept out of Gaza, of course.
All Palestinians, it seems, are liars on Planet Sheridan, and the IOF is completely above reproach. But what would Sheridan make of this: "'Fire on anything that moves in Zeitoun' - that was the order handed down to Israeli troops in the Givati Shaked battalion, who reduced the eastern Gaza City suburb to little more than rubble in a matter of days... 'We pounded Zeitoun into the ground', an Israeli soldier who was deployed in the area, told The Times... We pounded them with fire; they never had a chance'." (Israeli soldiers recall Gaza attack orders, Sheera Frenkel, The Times, 28/1/09)
A self-hating Jew perhaps? Or this: "Having interviewed dozens of victims and witnesses and, having examined the ballistic evidence from north to south, we are convinced that Israel did not do everything possible to minimise civilians' harm and death', said Fred Abrahams of Human Rights Watch. The rules of engagement were exceedingly loose, and they dropped the bar on the laws of war. This allowed civilian casualties to rise." (ibid) Bleeding heart definitely, probably self-hating Jew to boot. Or this: "Doctors operating the only brain-scanning machine at an Egyptian hospital near Gaza have been almost overwhelmed by the number of Palestinian children arriving with bullet wounds to the head." (Children found with bullets lodged in their head, Topaz Amoore, gulfnews.com, 18/1/09) Gypos, get real!
On Planet Sheridan, remember, Hamas is not an Islamic resistance movement, but merely a "terrorist death-cult." And why, Sheridan asks, did this terrorist outfit goad easy-going, mild-mannered Israel to respond to its constant acts of naked aggression? That's easy: Hamas wanted to "have Israel painted again as the international villain." Pretty fiendish, eh?
You see, on Planet Sheridan, it's always Israel that responds and Hamas that attacks. Here on Planet Earth, however, it's not quite that simple, as Khalid Meshaal of Hamas' political bureau explains: "For 6 months we in Hamas observed the ceasefire. Israel broke it repeatedly from the start. Israel was required to open crossings to Gaza, and extend the truce to the West Bank. It proceeded to tighten its deadly siege of Gaza, repeatedly cutting electricity and water supplies. The collective punishment accelerated, as did the assassinations and killings. Thirty Gazans were killed by Israeli fire and hundreds of patients died as a direct effect of the siege during the so-called ceasefire. Israel enjoyed a period of calm. Our people did not... The logic of those who demand that we stop our resistance is absurd. They absolve the aggressor and occupier, armed with the deadliest weapons of death and destruction, of responsibility, while blaming the victim, prisoner and occupied. Our modest, home-made rockets are our cry of protest to the world. Israel and its American and European sponsors want us to be killed in silence. But die in silence we will not." (Gaza: the great divide -1, The Age, 7/1/09)
But no, Sheridan wouldn't be found dead reading The Age. And anyway, seeing Meshaal's not only a lying Palestinian, but also one of the leaders of the "terrorist death cult" which is Hamas, what he has to say can hardly be "credible" now, can it? All this talk about blockades and extra-judicial murders - baloney - Sheridan knows better: "Hamas's goals and motivation are theological and filled with sectarian hatred and anti-Semitism," and he wheels out the Hamas charter to prove it (See my 30/3/08 post Jerusalem Prize Syndrome). From this hoary document we are supposed to understand that Hamas, in addition to being a "terrorist death cult," is also just another of your generic, Jew-killing jihadi organisations. Which doesn't quite explain why, as Sheridan asserts, "Hamas has engaged in countless* atrocities against Palestinians it doesn't like. It has murdered many Fateh men, but the media subjects this behaviour to very little scrutiny." Much like his own paper, I guess, which has kept schtum about USrael's Palestinian collaborators dishing it out to alleged Hamas supporters in the West Bank*. Nor, for that matter, would you read in The Australian that the Israeli Occupation Forces were instructed by the chief military rabbinate not "to 'be enticed by the folly of the Gentiles who have mercy for the cruel'." (Israeli MP: military rabbi turned Gaza into holy war, antiwar.com, 8/2/09). That Israeli MP, Avshalom Vilan, just has to be a self-hating Jew!
[*"The horrific torture of hundreds of people by Palestinian security forces in the West Bank is being funded by British taxpayers... The victims - some left maimed - are rounded up for alleged involvement with the militant Islamic group Hamas, yet many have nothing to do with it." (Financed by the British taxpayer, brutal torturers of the West Bank, David Rose, dailymail.co.uk, 31/1/09)]
On Planet Sheridan, Palestinians are a perennial worry. Sheridan informs us that not only do the buggers carry the dreaded jihad virus ("the wider ideology of Islamist jihad... has currency in the Palestinian population..."), but that they're multiplying like rabbits - and it's not because they're randy as, mind you - but because "they... have a long-term demographic strategy." No, not along the lines of your civilized Peter Costello demographic strategy ("one for mum, one for dad, and one for the country") but popping 'em out like there's no tomorrow (which, come to think of it, there probably isn't in the Gaza Strip): "In 1950, there were about 240,000 Gazans. Now there are about 1.5 million. By 2040 there will be 3 million. Eventually, they believe, they will swamp Israel with sheer numbers."
Here we find Sheridan climbing into bed (gross thought I know) with the SMH's Islamophobe-in-residence, Paul Sheehan, who only last month wrote of the Gaza Palestinians: "Women, living under sharia law, are used primarily as breeding stock." (See my 13/1/09 post Oriana Fallaci Meets Israeli PR at the SMH) Makes me wonder - Sheridan's a Catholic, right? He's contra condoms, right? But would he consider, I wonder, heading up a 'Condoms for Gaza' campaign if it were necessary to save his "plucky" little Israel from this biological ticking bomb? Now there's a thought!
On Planet Sheridan, "instead of a solution, we should look for Israel to manage the situation at the lowest level of violence possible, while encouraging any normalisation that can take place." IOW, recruit collaborators, and beat the crap out of the rest. Or better, what obtains now: recruit collaborators to beat the crap out of the rest.
[*Countless: I should explain that Sheridan has this way with numbers, as a general rule preferring 'thousands' to 'hundreds' if it helps bolster his 'case' (See my 4 & 10/2/08 posts When Even the Retraction is Dodgy 1 & 2). It seems now that "countless" (X2) is preferred over 'thousands'.]