It was sorely tempting to decorate this post with cheap shot images of Australia's new Prime Minister-Again Kevin Rudd sitting under a picture of Yasser Arafat and grinning like a virgin princess on Valium at the Palestinian Authority after giving it another big fat wad of Australian taxpayers' hard earned money to help educate "Palestinian" children at UNWRA schools that they must return and reclaim villages and lands that do not exist; Bob Carr, now FM, getting all matey with Hanan Ashrawi just before presenting her with the Sydney Peace Prize for handling the PR of Arafat's murder spree and massacres of Jewish kids and Holocaust survivors the year before; Bob Carr again, completely lost for words on the steps of the Lakemba Mosque and not even mentioning, not even once, not even in private, not even by allusion that there was about to be a change in Australia's position towards Israel in the UN even before the Prime Minister knew, or not mentioning anything else remotely to do with Israel or Palestine for that matter and with all this non-mentioning going on in the presence of the Mufti of Australia who may or may not have already packed his bags for Gaza .. you know .. that sort of thing.
But then I thought ... to hell with it, this is a blog and that is what blogs do ... and so as you can see, I gave into temptation.
Within days of the departure of Julia Gillard, Bob Carr has firmly signalled that the foreign policy coup on the Middle East that he and the deplorable Gareth Evans, who is supposed to be a private citizen, pulled off last December is now official and entrenched in the new Labor Government. If anything the policy is even more cracked and deluded than when Carr and the party first rolled Gillard so undermining her authority that it contributed to her retirement two months early six months later.
The Australian has published an article by Carr on Israel and "Palestine" which without question would have been cleared by Rudd's office and should be read perhaps more in sorrow than anger.
Lets get the worst of the news out of the way first. The Foreign Minister is a fan of The West Wing, he has seen those cheesy episodes set in Camp David and Gaza and Australia's Middle East foreign policy is being written by Aaron Sorkin.
To sum up the policy. Israel and the PA should commit to negotiations without preconditions which is something that Israel has been committed for years but the PA refuses and is intractable. Doesn't that tell you something just for a start?
The Palestinians must keep to the November hudna and stop trying to murder civilians with missiles fired from Gaza. But this is a ceasefire that was forced by the IDF, is enforced by the IDF and only by the IDF. Does the FM actually know that Gaza is controlled by Hamas which is violently opposed to negotiations at all? Ever? Shelling civilians is the least they will do to stop any meaningful talks.
Israel should cease building "new settlements" or "settlement activity" in the "West Bank" which is "illegal" and has seen a "demographic surge" of about 190 000 "settlers" in ten years. Less than the number of Victorians who moved to the Gold Coast in the same period. Fewer than the number of New Zealanders who show up at Coolangatta airport and forget to go home. OF, some hyperbole but that's what I call a demographic surge.
There have been no new settlements for years. This gets thrown in the river as routine to muddy the water and to provide cover for what is essentially a racist policy.
Does Carr's policy ban on illegal "settlement activity" include construction projects to provide housing for Arabs within Israel's area of authority over the Green Line? Of course not. We must be clear about this. This is a no-Jew policy. Pure and simple.
Where is this "West Bank" that Carr says is illegal for Jews to live anyway and what does it include? According to Carr it includes all the land that everyone knows is earmarked for Israel under any realistic two state solution. It is now clear that the Australian Government believes it includes even Jerusalem or at least that part of Jerusalem "so plain" that Yasser Arafat could show Henry Kissinger in a street directory in a Jerusalem restaurant. I wonder whether that Jew was on the permitted side of town.
How many Australians know that its Government advocates a policy that condemns as illegal Jews (and only Jews -- not Muslims; not even Muslims who are Israeli citizens) living on the wrong side of Jerusalem? Nearly a hundred years after Australian troops helped to take Jerusalem from the Ottomans in the full knowledge that this was to be the place of a Jewish national home, the Australian Government advocates a policy that confines Jews to a part of the city beyond a line that could be a law straight from any medieval European canton . Welcome to the modern Zionist dream a la the Australian Government.
It doesn't even occur to Carr that this is offensive.
Now comes the real kicker. Carr finds Palestinian intransigence unmentionable. They all do. While condemning as illegal Jews building homes for themselves in Jerusalem and Judea, the great hairy mammoth in the room, that all Palestinian factions reject and have always rejected the very notion of a Jewish state with sovereignty over her borders and population, and left in peace, is utterly unmentionable. No body is allowed to talk about it.
It is time to tell the truth about the peace process. The formulation of policy based on illusions, double dealing and wishful thinking is dangerous now no less than it ever was. It is not in Australia's best interests and it is not at all in the interests of Australians to have a Government that indulges in this.
Carr celebrates Australia's new UN policy of abstention. It was his policy in fact, and incredibly Gareth Evans, that Carr forced on a hugely reluctant PM, humiliating her. It "nudges" the parties towards negotiations he says (when it fact it does the complete opposite -- it encourages Palestinian intransigence by rewarding it.)
Well that's a change for Carr anyway. The last time he spoke the reason for the policy change was so that he would have something to say the next time he was on the steps of the Mosque in Lakemba. Here's a suggestion for something he could say.
The Arab "right of return" to Israel is the greatest crock in history. You must implore the "Palestinians" to accept Israel, accept Palestine, accept peace and live in security and prosperity in economic union with Israel. And if they do not then they have forfeited all Australian sympathy. Their leaders will forever remain the authors of their own people's misery and to say anything else is to feed a delusion and is anti-"Palestinian" .
Carr complains there is no Plan B. That just shows a lack of creative thinking. In fact the world is dripping with Plan B's. I've had a shot at a Plan B myself. Another is for Israel to unilaterally declare the borders. There are other visions of a post-Palestine Middle East that have come to accept the futility of a notion that the "Palestinians" have rejected so utterly and violently.
Here's an outstanding Plan B via Mike L.
cross posted Geoffff's Joint