Saturday, February 20, 2016

French ambassadors back Palestinians in 'knife intifada' against Israel - Salomon Benzimra

by Salomon Benzimra

The ambassadors' document seems to tie the 'frustration and humiliation' of the Palestinians directly to the establishment of the state of Israel.

Backing the French initiative to convene an international conference in the near future on the "Israeli-Palestinian conflict," a group of eleven prominent French ambassadors published an appeal in Le Monde on February 3, 2016, urging Paris and Brussels to "save the Palestinian state."

Their 900-word opus can be summarized as follows:
The ongoing "knife-intifada" is an expression of the "frustration and humiliation" of the Palestinians "after nearly 50 years of occupation," and the "spontaneous violence" it produced has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism as practiced by the Islamic State (ISIS).  Besides, "Israel's repression" has produced "a far greater number of victims" than Israeli casualties.
Since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1996, "all peace initiatives have failed," thus preventing the Palestinians from "being granted a portion of Palestine since 1967."  In theory, negotiations should conform to the "principle of two-states, recognized by the United Nations since 1947" but the policies of Prime Minister Netanyahu – which aim at "establishing a Greater Israel from the sea to the Jordan River" -- have reduced the potential area of the future Palestinian state.  The unresolved Palestinian question fuels the animosity of the "Arab/Muslim world against the West."
While the U.S. will continue to pledge their allegiance to Israel, Europe remains "inhibited by the specter of the Shoah and the power of the [pro-Israel] lobbies." But the "power of the law" should address the "sense of injustice that is spreading in public opinion."  To that effect, the French Government will introduce a Security Council resolution to "resume negotiations under international control" and, "should these negotiations fail, France would recognize the Palestinian State."  As the international community confronts ISIS, why wouldn't it deploy "an equivalent effort" toward peace, which would "at last grant the Palestinian people their rights"?
But we should not wait.  Without delay, "France should immediately recognize the Palestinian State."  As long as Israeli "colonization" continues, "the association treaty between Israel and the European Union should be suspended" as well as "the special economic and scientific cooperation from which Israel benefits."  These measures are necessary to prevent Israel from "losing its soul" in the pursuit of its "apartheid policies."  What is at stake in this conflict are the "values of the Western world" and it behooves everyone to contribute to its solution "in terms of civilization."
This is not an essay written by a team of first-year university students with progressive ideas detached from reality and who know next to nothing about the Middle East quagmire.  The authors are veteran diplomats with over 200 years of collective experience and, supposedly, a broad knowledge of history, law, and politics.

And yet, should we laugh at this torrent of insanity or cry at the degenerate state of French political postures, divorced from rational thought, built on an inverted sense of justice and distorted legal and historical facts? 

They talk about "nearly 50 years of occupation."  But the response I got from a private letter I addressed to President François Hollande last May implied that the source of the conflict was not the so-called "occupation" of 1967, which is ceaselessly recited without any basis in law or history.  I was told that "the great suffering of the Palestinian people" originated "over 60 years ago."  This candid admission from the Elysée puts the blame squarely on the very existence of the modern State of Israel.

The persistent pattern of condemnation of Israel, in total disregard of the provisions of international law, is nothing new.  In the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara incident of May 2010, virtually the whole world found Israel guilty before proven guilty.  The United Nations and its agencies; the European Union and most of its member-states (with the welcome exception of the Czech Republic); the media at large; and, it goes without saying, the whole Arab/Muslim world found Israel in breach of international law following the boarding of the Turkish vessel.  But when the U.N. released its final report in September 2011, and Israel was largely exonerated on the grounds that it "complied with the requirements of international law," we heard no retraction from the horde of accusers.

The eleven French ambassadors will probably observe the same cowardly silence when the legal rights of Israel under international law and the forged Palestinian narrative are widely disclosed and recognized worldwide.

But we should remember that among Western nations, French institutions are often the most sluggish in recognizing their past mistakes.  It took almost a century for the French military establishment to publicly admit, on September 7, 1995, that there was indeed a "military conspiracy" against Captain Alfred Dreyfus.

The France I loved and admired in my school days is long gone.

Salomon Benzimra


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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