According to US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, speaking last May at a private fundraiser in Florida, the Palestinians have no interest in peaceful negotiations and are dedicated to the violent destruction of the Israeli state.
Some, if not many of his listeners, are likely to have been Zionists who have retired to the large Jewish community in Florida. Romney is acquiring a reputation for changing his policies, depending on where and to whom he is speaking. However, when it comes to talking about Palestine, Romney’s thinking seems to come straight out of the George W. Bush Single Syllable Mid-East Foreign Policy Primer.
In this pernicious analysis, the Palestinians are incapable of doing anything right, whereas the Israeli state is incapable of doing anything wrong. Though the Israelis subvert the Washington establishment, spy on American defense and foreign policy activities, attack US ships and planes, murder US servicemen, the Bush/Romney analysis is that Washington must remain ever faithful to her poisonous little ally.
Such fidelity means buying the “ever-violent, ever-vengeful Palestinians” line and the conviction that the Palestinians are incapable of running their own affairs properly, and are certainly not candidates for any sort of statehood.
The failure of the Palestinian cause is not entirely due to Israel. In Yasser Arafat’s final years as leader, the corruption and ineptitude of Fatah, the launchpad for Palestinian ambitions, led to the emergence of its more radical rival Hamas, and the effective division of a single population. Israel, however, has done all that it can to foster the divide, while endlessly provoking attacks from Hamas-run Gaza with targeted assassinations. After a few homemade Palestinian rockets land, often harmlessly, on Israeli territory, the Israelis strike back with the likes of helicopter gunships, laser-guided bombs and drone-directed artillery fire. They then, in a complete reversal of reality, protest to the outside world that Palestinian violence is putting their state in mortal danger and that talking peace with such “terrorists” is impossible.
Nor of course does the Bush/Romney primer recognize Israel’s ghettoization of the Palestinians, its theft of property in the occupied territories, its burgeoning illegal settlements and its consistent pauperization of the people whose land it really is.
The International Monetary Fund has, however, been moved to comment in a new report on the steady decay of what is left of the Palestinian economy. A recent fact-finding mission concluded that a sharp economic decline is boosting already high unemployment, while giving rise to the risk of widespread social unrest.
This of course will be wonderful news to the Florida Zionists who applauded Romney’s crass remarks last spring. They will not however wish to read the IMF’s conclusion, that this economic collapse and consequent public anger has been brought about in large measure by Israel’s almost total stranglehold on trade and finance in the Occupied Territories and the Gaza Strip. No, No. That would never do. The Zionists’ message to the outside world has to be that the Palestinians are unruly, incapable, violent and totally unworthy of international consideration. The IMF officials, they will say, have been deceived and have got it entirely wrong.