News Release

Rice and Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Empty Theatrics?

AP is reporting today: “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas were scheduled to hold separate meetings in Berlin on the pact he made with Hamas.”

JEFF HALPER
Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and a professor of anthropology, Halper is author of Obstacles to Peace: Reframing the Israel-Palestine Conflict and the forthcoming An Israeli in Palestine. He said today: “Jimmy Carter notes that apartheid is fundamentally a system of separation and that is indeed what Israel is imposing on the Palestinians. Sharon put in place a bantustan structure, Olmert put forward his convergence plan and that has now been repackaged into what’s being called the Rice-Livni plan.

“The basic idea is to allow Israel to make the wall that Israel is building inside [the Palestinian West Bank] a border, but to call it a provisional border. This avoids real negotiations, but everything provisional in the Mideast becomes permanent.

“And it’s apartheid not just because it’s separation but also domination. Israel continues building settlements and the Palestinians will be relegated to four or five cantons on about 15 percent of the total land with no control over borders or water, no freedom of movement or access to Jerusalem and no viable economy. So, like the bantustan regime of South Africa, Israel gets rid of what it regards as a demographic problem and gets to be a Jewish democratic state.”
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Dr. MONA EL-FARRA
A physician and community activist in northern Gaza, El-Farra writes a blog titled “From Gaza, with Love.” She said today: “Israel maintains a set of pretexts to avoid meaningful negotiations to prevent the emergence of an independent Palestinian state. Instead, it maintains its occupation and policies of divide and rule. Meanwhile, we in Gaza have endured constant electricity cutoffs. … Economic sanctions imposed by Western governments have left 70 percent of Gazans living below the poverty level. As a consequence 42 percent of Gaza children under five years of age suffer from iron deficiency anemia. Post traumatic stress disorder has reached 60 percent amongst children in the north of Gaza.

“Israel wants to turn the Palestinians into a charity cause — it’s not the aid cutoff that really hurts us — it’s that Israel is withholding our taxes. Israel has been holding onto money collected from tariffs we pay. That’s just part of what preventing Palestinian national rights means.” Dr. El-Farra is planning on traveling to the U.K. for a conference on Saturday, but is uncertain whether the Israeli government will allow her to travel.
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ALI ABUNIMAH
Author of the new book One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse, Abunimah said today: “Instead of making a serious effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is engaged in empty theatrics, further inflaming the region and damaging U.S. interests. The summit she held with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was a total failure. The real issues standing in the way of peace are these: On the one hand the United States remains totally silent as Israel continues to build Jewish-only settlements and the illegal separation wall on occupied Palestinian land. On the other, the United States has refused to recognize the democratically-elected representatives of the Palestinians under occupation, and insists on boycotting the elected Palestinian government while propping up and funding [the U.S. government’s] clients.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167