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Netanyahu: Offering Old Cliches in a New Wolrd

The Likud Party led by Benjamin Netanyahu wins...
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Last week witnessed, yet again, a visit by yet another Israeli primeĀ  minister to the capital of the United States to offer the same age-old cliches to a group of fawning American lawmakers. It seems when it comes to the actions and the statements of the state of Israel, one ought to apply an out-of-the-world logic to understand it. Our earthly logic and the international treaties and policies, it seems, do not apply to the state of Israel.

Like all of the US lawmakers, I often try to inhabit this otherworldly space to understand the things that come out of the august mouths of Israeli leaders and those of their American counterparts, but lately I have, due to my deep investment in the world I live in, not been able to inhabit this deep space plane of existence. But to reduce this divine logic to our earthly consciousness is an interesting exercise.

So this is how the Israeli statements go:

  • A 1967 border between Israel and Palestine is indefensible.
  • It will leave thousands of Israelis outside the official territory of the state of Israel.
  • The Palestinians cannot be granted the right of return as it would “dilute” the Jewish state.

And the US lawmakers, who usually cannot take a leak without mentioning “Freedom” and “Rights” and “Human Dignity”, applaud these bizarre and out of touch statements of a leader whose nation has starved thousands of people for the last three years in what could be termed as the last existing concentration camp, Gaza.

So here is what all these cliched and hackneyed statements by Mr. Netanyahu imply: Since the original border of Israel is somehow indefensible, Israel, therefore, has the right to conquer and keep territories outside that border in a sort of imperial eminent domain. And since against the Geneva Convention on changing the demographics of a captured territory Israel has allowed illegal settlements to flourish in this occupied territory–required for a defensible Israel–the only way of keeping this illegally acquired territory is to make the act of their capture, somehow, legal. And even though the UN charter clearly states that all refugees will have a right to return to their original place of domicile, the Palestinians somehow must give up this universal right to accommodate their oppressors.

And we must accept this because Israel, as we are repeatedly told, is the only true democracy in the region. Needless to point out, this same democracy is based in an ethnic and religious view of the nation according to which all those outside this particular definition are not really full citizens and must always inhabit a second class status within the democratic state of Israel.

But while Mr. Netanyahu spouts these age-old cliches and while the US congress giggles like a bunch of unimaginative teenagers, the world around Israel is changing quickly. Besides the spring uprisings, this was also the first year when people from all neighboring countries flocked to the Israeli borders in large numbers to protest the racist and inhuman policies of the state of Israel. These instances of popular protest are likely to increase in the future and as the neighboring states become more and more democratic, Israel will have to contend with “democratic” Arab states whose leaders must, on the surface, represent the popular will and not just the US and Israeli interests in the region. The change is already there: the opening of Rafah border crossing by Egypt is a sign that the neighboring Arab states can no longer be a party to the long slow starvation of Palestinian people in the name of security.

So it seems that Mr. Netanyahu’s deep space logic will soon stop making any sense to most of the world and to quite a few of his own citizens; this will happen because increasingly people have started feeling more comfortable with earth logic and want to see their leaders to make an effort in speaking in human-speak instead of an alien language that only makes sense to the starry-eyed US lawmakers and the zealots who rely on politics fear and hate to maintain the status quo.

So, wake up America: if freedom and human dignity is your main chant and leading mantra then please explain to me why it does not apply to the Palestinians?

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Thoughts on Libya Bombing

As I write these lines, the international forces have started bombing key installations in Libya. My feelings on this new air war are, as usual, deeply split. Part of me is sad because it is yet another Muslim country being bombed by the US and its allies. But another part of me is hopeful, as these actions were absolutely necessary by the world community to finally stop Gaddafi.

As the implementation of this “No Fly Zone” continues, let us keep reminding ourselves that this, at least, is not a war engineered by the US. This war started because people of Libya rose against their dictator, who, in turn, unleashed the might of his armed forces against his own people. The purpose of these airstrikes is to stop him from eliminating this first serious popular resistance to his autocratic rule.

Though the idea of yet another Muslim nation under attack infuriates and saddens me; I am, at this point, grateful to the world community for their efforts to enable the Libyan people to fight against Gaddafi and his ilk. We should also remember that this aid by the West cannot and should not be mobilized to make any claims on the future of Libya: this aid should not become a claim to Libya’s resources in the future and if it does become that, we will be there to remind the world community.

And we should keep reminding them even now, repeatedly: The Libyan people started this revolution; they asked for your help; you helped them, but you do not and never shall own their future.

I also hope that if the people of other Middle Eastern nations seek global help against their tyrannical governments, the world will be there to support their efforts for democracy. And if the Muslim nations have a problem with the West bombing Libya, then send in your own troops, planes, and your warships to aid this effort. But I think I will see pigs fly before I see Saudi planes–the most modern airforce in the Arab world–on Libyan skies. It is time to rethink our region and to finally express that tyranny of any kind–no matter what underwrites it–has no place in the world.

So, here it is: thank you world for helping the Libyan people and thank you people of Libya for rising against tyranny.

(Read Aljazeera’s Live Blog on Libya)