Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Zionising the Draft Modern History Curriculum 6

ACARA's 8th dot point reads as follows:

"The impact of significant individuals and groups both in working for and in opposing peace, with particular reference to David Ben-Gurion, Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Yasser Arafat, Ariel Sharon, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, Hezbollah, Hamas, and 'Peace Now'."

Peace? What kind of peace? Tacitus' famous words in Agricola, quoting the Caledonian chieftain Calgacus, come to mind here. (For Rome, think today's imperial Israel.):

"These [Roman] plunderers of the world, after exhausting the land by their devastations, are rifling the ocean: stimulated by avarice, if their enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor; unsatiated by the East and by the West: the only people who behold wealth and indigence with equal avidity. To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace."

So what kind of peace are we talking about?

A mere absence of organised violence? The 'peace' of a nominally independent Palestinian bantustan? A peace predicated on millions of Palestinians remaining in exile while the likes of Wertheim can settle in any part of their former homeland, rebadged 'Israel', as they see fit? All, I'm afraid, deserts.

Recognising that peace without justice is no peace at all, I'd amend the above point by incorporating the term 'a just peace' or 'peace with justice', and let the apples fall where they may:

David Ben-Gurion's responsibility for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and his outright refusal to implement UNGA resolution 194, allowing the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands, would be factored in.

Menachem Begin's role in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 and his 1982 invasion and occupation of Lebanon, which merely created new injustices and new enemies, leading to the creation of a Lebanese version of the Palestinian resistance, likewise.

Ditto for Ariel Sharon, whose 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip can in no way be legitimately spun as a milestone on the road to peace, given the memorable words of his adviser, Dov Weisglass:

"The disengagement is actually formaldehyde that's necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians... After all, what have I been shouting for the past year? That I found a device, in cooperation with the management of the world, to ensure that there will be no stopwatch here. That there will be no timetable to implement the [West Bank] settlers' nightmare. I have postponed that nightmare indefinitely... That is the significance of what we did. The significance is the freezing of the political process. And when you freeze the process you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion about the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package that is called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed from our agenda indefinitely. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress." (Quoted in The Road Map to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine Since 2003, Tanya Reinhart, 2006 p 43)

On the Palestinian side, consideration would have to be given to the transition from Article 6 of the Palestinian National Charter of 1968 ("The Jews who had normally resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered Palestinians."), a position premised on the restoration of the demographic status quo which obtained in Palestine prior to the issuance of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and therefore a demand for absolute justice, to the emergence of the concept of the secular democratic state in Palestine, accommodating the post-Balfour Declaration Jewish colons and their descendants on a one-man, one-vote basis, regardless of creed, through to the adoption of a two-state solution by the Palestine National Congress in 1988.

On the other side, consideration would have to be given to the Israeli colonisation drive in the West Bank (1967-2012) which has, absent a full withdrawal of all Israeli troops and settlers, effectively rendered the two state solution impossible and brought about the de facto bi-national (but still apartheid) state which is today's Israel, characterised by occupied Palestinians with no rights, Israeli Palestinians with only second/third class citizenship rights, and a stateless, exiled Palestinian diaspora kept on ice so that the Wertheim's of this world can add a second home to their existing one should they choose to do so. 

Israel's adamant rejection of a just peace would also need to incorporate its rejection of every relevant UN resolution under the sun.

Finally, as a "significant individual" working for peace with justice, I'd include the UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte, the author of  the UNGA's 'right of return' resolution 194, who strove for justice for Palestinian refugees only to be cruelly cut down by that penultimate form of Israeli rejectionism, the hail of bullets, in 1948.

ECAJ's Peter Wertheim seeks to pad the 8th dot point with Israeli leaders in order to take advantage of the Zionist-generated image of them as peacemakers:

"The eighth dot point concerning the impact of significant individuals and groups both in working for and in opposing peace should also include 'Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Ehud Olmert' and should refer also to 'grass roots efforts to build cross-cultural co-operation and relationships.'"

Note that Wertheim doesn't feel the need to argue the case for the inclusion of Rabin, Peres and Olmert in this section. Maybe because any mileage to be had from Rabin's division of the West Bank into Areas A, B and C, leaving Israel still in occupation of around 60% of the territory, is more than negated by the fact that between 1993 and 1996 the settler population increased by 48% in the West Bank and by 62% in the Gaza Strip, and Peres' fleeting tenure of 7 months as PM saw no particular advance in peace with justice for the Palestinians. As for Olmert... but I grow weary, as I know you do too. Those interested in this particular 'peace-maker' can look up my 30/11/09 post No Bull.

Finally, if Wertheim's "grass roots efforts to build cross-cultural co-operation and relationships," whatever those may be, is to be incorporated in 'The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East' unit, I'd suggest it go under a separate dot point to do with Israel propaganda and smokescreens. Colonisers have never, repeat never, been in the business of "building cross-cultural co-operation and relationships" with colonised people.

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