10 January 2008

Invasion of the body snatchers.

I'm fairly certain someone has hogtied the real GW Bush and left him in a storage closet in the White House while a doppelganger is roaming the world pretending to be the Decider. I base this assumption on Bush's rather strong announcement that Israel end the occupation of, well, the Occupied Territories:
Speaking after a meeting with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, Bush said: "There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967. An agreement must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people."
Interestingly enough, Bush got the date right, which I see as further evidence that he's an imposter.

Israel's position on the Occupied Territories has been fairly clear in practice, if not in official policy: they have since 1967 been establishing settlements and actively recruiting the religiously zealous and recently immigrated (many of whom are not well-off enough to afford their own place in Israel proper) to occupy what are effectively armed camps in land seized during wartime. It's dangerous to be a settler, because like it or not, you represent to many of your Palestinian neighbors the shock troops of the Israeli government, much like missionaries and farmers were sent to Africa by the European nations as precursors to military occupation and national subjugation.

As a young nation, Israel faced many threats from hostile nations that didn't recognize the state's legitimacy (in principle, you can kind of see their point: the state of Israel was created by the UN in a last gasp of the colonial era and as such belongs to the same illustrious history as many other hotspots created by colonial powers: India/Pakistan, Iraq, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Congo, Liberia, etc.), but it has survived those threats and indeed prospered through heavy US investment. It's hard to conceive today that Israel faces the same invasion dangers that it faced forty years ago; today's threats -- I'm talking real threats here -- are far different, consisting mainly of long-range attack.

For that reason, I would suggest that Israel's occupation of the West Bank and threat of occupation at-will of the Gaza Strip is in fact more of a threat to peace than would be its relinquishing of those territories. For one, the creation of a viable, sovereign Palestinian state would remove one of the major grievances that other Arab states (who actually care almost nothing for the plight of the Palestinians except for their political usefulness as bargaining chits against Israel) claim to harbor against Israel. Likewise, hardcore Palestinian militants would be less influential when the general populace has an independent, internationally recognized, and functioning government to turn to for redress of grievances (the mock-autonomy of the current Palestinian Authority could most likely be compared to the difference between "free range" animals and veal).

Of course, Bush couldn't let well enough alone. On the subject of the endless checkpoints that remind Palestinians daily that every one of them is considered a terrorist by the Israeli government, Bush showed his callousness:
Turning to Israeli checkpoints, he said: "I understand why Palestinians are frustrated driving through checkpoints. I can also understand why the Israelis want a state of security." He went on to joke that "my motorcade of a mere 45 cars made it through without being stopped."
As a joke, that's not even funny. It's not close to being funny. It's like his mom claiming that the Katrina refugees were better off being in the Astrodome than they were in New Orleans. But that's what lifelong privilege -- never having to get by in life with less than a surfeit -- brings you: a complete lack of understanding how day to day insults gradually wear at your humanity and harden or break you.

1 comment:

Washington Cube said...

His ignorance continues to scare me shitless. And he's President, Cuff. Isn't that mindboggling? How does someone, out of every single person in the United States who has the potential to be the President...how do we, as a public, vote THAT into office? Shaking head.