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Roadmap To Nowhere
I t has long been understood that one of the major effects of propaganda is to divest political terms of their substantive meaning. One of the best examples of this effect is the benign-sounding phrase “the peace process.” In the context of the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip it might seem more appropriate to come up with another term—perhaps the “occupation process” or the “diversion process” might be more apt.
The latest stage in this process is the so-called Roadmap to Peace, which announces its goal of a “final and comprehensive settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict by 2005.”
As part of the occupation process the Roadmap is an expression of longstanding Israeli policy towards the Occupied Territories that aims to ensure Israeli control over the land and resources of the territories while transferring the expensive job of population control to a collaborationist Palestinian authority.
Ignoring the illegality of the occupation and the daily suffering and humiliation endured by the Palestinians, the Roadmap re-conceptualizes the conflict as one caused by terrorism. Each of the phases of the agreement places responsibility on the Palestinians to ensure Israel’s security. (There are no reciprocal obligations on the Israelis despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties of the conflict have been Palestinian.) In the first phase, the Palestinians are asked to rebuild the security apparatus of the Palestinian Authority whose role will be to suppress Palestinian resistance (in all forms, it seems, despite the legality of armed resistance to an occupying power). As in the past, the PA will be supervised by the CIA, with training by the Jordanian and Egyptian security forces (who know some- thing about repressing discontented populations).
The Roadmap does not require the dismantling of Israeli settlements despite their illegality under Article 4 of the Geneva Conventions, but, instead, calls for a settlement freeze and the dismantling of recently built outposts that will have no effect on the major areas of illegal settlements, which already create a crippling discontinuity between Palestinian areas, destroying the viability of a Palestinian state.
The second phase of the Roadmap calls for the creation of “an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and attributes of sovereignty.” There is no explanation of what is meant by “attributes of sovereignty,” but, given past Israeli policy, it is likely to mean that the Palestinian Authority will gain some control over civil matters within the territories while Israel retains control over the economy, resources, and overarching security matters. In the words of Labor dove Yitzhak Rabin when talking about the Roadmap’s predecessor, the Oslo Accords, this will be “a Palestinian entity, less than a state that runs the life of Pales- tinians.”
As with Oslo, the Roadmap does not call for international monitoring of the territories. Following the signing of the Oslo Accords the Israeli Labor government launched a massive settlement expansion program—doubling the number of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank and Gaza between 1994 and 2000. In the absence of effective monitoring we can expect similar policies from the Israeli government this time around in keeping with the understanding of the efficacy of the appearance of dip- lomacy while creating “facts on the ground.”
The continued existence of the illegal settlements means that the proposed Palestinian state will be comprised of three enclaves cut off from one another inside the West Bank, (in addition to the Gaza strip). The southern enclave will consist of the Hebron-Bethlehem area, which will be cut off from the central enclave of the Ramallah area by the settlements and the connecting settler roads. The Ramallah enclave will, in turn, be cut off from the northern enclave of Jenin and Nablus by the massive settlement bloc of Ariel-El-Shiloh. As well as failing to deal with the settlements and the right of return for Palestinian refugees, the Roadmap makes no mention of the 25-foot-high “separation” wall being built on stolen Palestinian land that will entirely surround the three Palestinian enclaves as well as annexing more than 300,000 Israeli settlers into Israel proper.
Thankfully, support for such a plan is very slim among Palestinians. (The current Intifada was a reaction to the humiliating terms of the Oslo Accords, which the Roadmap effectively reiterates.) Abu Mazen, the new Palestinian prime minister and preferred negotiating partner of Israel, the U.S., and the EU has a popularity rating of about 3 percent among Palestinians, according to recent polls. His beachside mansion in Gaza has been repeatedly attacked by Palestinian demonstrators. The Roadmap has been rejected by a significant section of Fatah along with the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), as well as Islamic Jihad and Hamas.
While Palestinian opposition is strong, there is a great deal of support for the Roadmap in the United States, the EU countries, and many Israeli politicians who recognize it as a way of crushing the popular Intifada in the name of “the peace process.” It remains to be seen whether the Palestinian people will one day come to accept the “freedom” of an autonomous con- centration camp.
Alex Doherty is a student at York University, England, a member of York Students against the War, and a founder of Free Society, a campus anarchist group.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.