20 September 2011


The item below is an article by Dennis Altman in The Age newspaper on 19 September 2011. In the article Altman seems to express the view that Israel ought to support the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations as it would be in Israel's interests because of its oft-declared support of a two-state solution.

Surely if Altman had studied the situation ingreater depth he would have come to realise a long time ago that Israel's agenda is not, will not be and has never been in the past, to permit a Palestinian state in its midst.

Israel's intention, from the earliest zionist activist days, has been to occupy the whole of Palestine and turn it into a Jewish state, for Jews only. Kick the Palestinians out by fair means or foul - usually foul, and bit by bit occupy the whole of Palestine so that a separate state is an actual impossibility.

This is already the situation on the ground with so many settlers in the Occupied Territories and the "Berlin apartheid Wall" stealing large portions of an already-shrunk West Bank of Palestinian territory.

Australia will support whatever the United States does in the UN and the UN Security Council. They will both oppose Palestinian statehood.

While the bid for a state of Palestine is fraught with difficulties and problems, it would permit a bargaining position for the Palestinians and force Hamas and Abbas to find a modus vivendi in order to consolidate negotiating positions with Israel.

Ultimately, because it will have no other choice, Israel and Palestine will have to live together, and the ultimate answer for the land of Palestine is for it to become one democratic Israeli-Palestinian state which both sides of the problem refuse to contemplate at the moment.

As fro the other issue in Altman's article, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) worked with the apartheid South African regime, when many international multi-national organisations pulled the plug on their South African operations.

The BDS support is growing internationally daily, and although at this stage the USA still supports Israel unreservedly, some of its long-term At=rab allies are beginning to raise questions.

Whether they will prevail or not in the longer term, Israel has already damaged itself irreparably and the friends it has had will not be there in the indefinite future.

Now read Dennis Altman''s article:

Israel's opposition to recognising Palestine is a puzzle
Dennis Altman
September 19, 2011

The move to recognise Palestinian statehood is led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

The passionate support for Israel in Australia is also hard to explain.

FOR elements of both left and right in Australia, the Palestinian-Israeli dispute has become an issue of the first order, quite unrelated to any realistic assessment of its importance to Australia.

Some members of the Greens and the ALP support boycotts of Israeli products, which has created confrontations in Melbourne and Sydney. The mainstream of both major parties remains deeply committed to Israel, and any criticism of its government is denounced rather than discussed.

Even the suggestion that Australia might abstain from rather than oppose this week's General Assembly vote on recognising Palestinian statehood will bring abuse on the government.

Israel, backed by the United States, insists that admitting a Palestinian state to the United Nations would be a blow to the peace process. ''The road to peace,'' said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ''runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York.''

It is understandable that the Israeli government does not want to legitimise the General Assembly as a mediator in the conflict. The assembly vote would recognise the pre-1967 borders of Israel, thus eliminating large areas of Israeli settlement over the past 30 years.

Yet the Israeli government's adamant opposition to recognition of a Palestinian state is puzzling. If Israel is committed, as it says, to a two-state solution, would recognition not help in cementing support for the concept? Indeed, as increasing numbers of Palestinians and some Israelis come to argue that a two-state solution is no longer feasible, and as demographic changes threaten the ''Jewishness'' of Israel under its current borders, it is in Israel's long-term interests to build support for the two-state model.

The move to recognise Palestinian statehood is led by the more moderate faction under President Mahmoud Abbas, with whom Israel has consistently claimed it can negotiate. Indeed, some senior Hamas figures have spoken against it: one claimed it would mean ''the Palestinian resistance won't be allowed to fire one single gunshot at the Israeli occupation''. Is this not for Israel a desirable outcome?

Since the 1967 war, Israel has consistently placed short-term tactical victories ahead of longer-term strategic thinking. It has relied on military force and American backing to maintain a status quo. But one consequence of the so-called Arab Spring is that Israel's de facto Arab allies, particularly Egypt, can no longer be relied on to back this status quo.

It is significant that Turkey is moving quickly from being a de facto ally of Israel to a leading proponent of the Palestinian cause. This does not mean that Turkey seeks the abolition of the state of Israel. It is a signal that the most powerful country in the region - and a democracy, despite the claim that Israel is the only such state in the Middle East - recognises that a paradigm shift is required.

This is rarely acknowledged in Australia, where debate, while sometimes intense, rarely goes beyond entrenched set pieces on both sides. The pro-Palestinian lobby is small, and too often engages in acts that are counterproductive. The pro-Israeli lobby is far larger and influential, and has powerful emotional support on both sides of politics. Kevin Rudd once claimed that support for Israel was in his DNA, and Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott seem determined to go one better.

Just why there is such passionate support for Israel is difficult to explain. Neither national interest nor the small Jewish population explain it. I suspect it is born of the formative experiences of political leaders, now in their 40s and 50s; note that Gillard was a student leader when the national movement was destroyed by ferocious debates on Palestine.

Most of our political leaders identify with Israel as part of the mythical ''free world'' that Abbott says President Barack Obama leads, forgetting that this term was a product of the Cold War. They have ended up supporting an American position that is almost certainly more hardline than Obama himself would espouse were he not facing a difficult election in which the pro-Israeli lobby is enormously important.

Twenty years ago negotiating with the PLO was also denounced as against Israel's interests, until it became official government policy. In the same way UN recognition of the reality of a Palestinian state might break a deadlock. Those who are really concerned for the survival of Israel need recognise that a peaceful settlement is not necessarily achieved through support for every Israeli administration.

Dennis Altman is director of the Institute for Human Security at La Trobe University.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Welcome to my blog and let me know what you think about my postings.

My web pages also have a wide range of topics which are added to when possible. Look for them in any search engine under


I hope you find items of interest!

Search This Blog


Blog Archive

Total Pageviews

About Me

My photo
Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm