Monday, December 31, 2007
The Peace Process Delusion
Like the proverbial emperor and his nonexistent clothes, the 'Process' has no 'Peace'
A serious pandemic of delusion is gripping the world. Ground Zero for the spread of this scourge was in Annapolis, Maryland in late November. Within hours, millions of otherwise intelligent people started exhibiting the symptoms of this horrible affliction: uncontrollable optimism, abrupt failure of reasoning, oblivious disregard of reality, and a deeply religious faith in a fictional 'Peace Process' that will be the New Messiah that will deliver the world from all evil.
It would be fun to watch this mass hysteria unfold as it infects more and more people, but unfortunately, there are real human costs to the continuation of this delusion. It is time for sane people everywhere to rise to confront this delusion and break the news to the millions of devout Peace-Processians springing up around the world: like the proverbial Emperor and his nonexistent clothes, this 'Process' has no 'Peace'. This fictional god you have been worshipping exists only in your brains; just because you insist on seeing it in spite of all evidence does not in any way change the cold hard reality that it is simply not there.
There is utterly no evidence to suggest that any prospects for 'Peace' exist from this charade of a 'Process'. Israel is finishing the construction of its apartheid wall, the world's only religiously-segregated road network, and thousands of watch-towers from which it observes everything going on in the life of all Palestinians. Complete towns are locked up behind gates that open arbitrarily according to the whims of callous soldiers. Israeli illegal colonies are growing more than ever—mere days after the conclusion of the Annapolis conference, Israel announced it would expand a crucial colony outside Jerusalem. More than 400,000 illegal Israeli settlers still litter the West Bank, having benefited from 40 years of expansionist colonialism and generous subsidies from every single Israeli government elected by the Israeli populace. The Gaza Strip remains legally an occupied land, though effectively it is the world's biggest prison. Normal service will by all means continue.
It is quite clear to anyone who would care listen to Israeli leaders themselves that Israel has absolutely no intention of giving away anything meaningful in the West Bank—certainly nothing on which anyone could establish a viable state. It is also painfully clear to anyone who cares to reason that the American government has no intention whatsoever of pressuring the Israelis into any form of concession. Seeing as these issues are the main issues standing between us and a peaceful solution, one can be sure that there will be no way for a peaceful solution to be achieved.
So why do so many people continue to believe in this mythical 'Peace Process'? Like other fictitious beliefs, there are the few who benefit, and then there are the masses who are deluded. There are also, of course, the many that are harmed.
The biggest beneficiary from this delusion is the Israeli government. That is why its leaders have gone around the world trumpeting the importance of achieving peace. Olmert claimed that failure to achieve peace would doom Israel; Haim Ramon, his deputy, even beseeched American Jewish groups to work for a peaceful solution for the sake of Israel. There is a desperate attempt to make sure that Israel appears desperate for peace. But of course, actions speak louder than words. If Israel really meant any of this, they wouldn't have approved an illegal colony on stolen Palestinian land in East Jerusalem hours after Annapolis. It is this hypocrisy that has come to accurately define the past few years, and will be the hallmark of the future: Israeli actions that solidify and perpetuate the occupation, along with Israeli statements desperate for peace. All that Israel has to do is to play pretend and everything will be fine. It just needs to pay some lip-service to the possibility of potentially starting some sort of a 'Process' that might, with a few miracles, result in something or the other, someday, somewhere, and the entire world will applaud in awe. Any Peace-processian fundamentalist who still has faith needs to ask themselves the honest question of how they can maintain this delusion in the face of this hypocrisy and this disparity between actions and rhetoric.
As for those who are harmed, they are the millions of Palestinians living under apartheid, repression and murder in Gaza and the West Bank, with their hopes of ever seeing normalcy in their lives evaporating; and the millions of refugees whose legitimate right to return to their homes the world is happy to forget.
The worst thing about this sorry state of affairs is its indomitable sustainability. Israel will continue expanding settlements, oppressing Palestinians, and murdering an unborn nation with complete impunity. The Palestinians, left to their fate by the world, will continue to suffer completely unable to do anything to alter Israel's position. And the world will cheer on, and assure the Palestinians that all they need is just a little more 'Process'. So long as the 'Process' goes on; no one pressures Israel to do anything, and Israel won't do anything. So long as Israel does nothing; the tragedy of the Palestinians continues. So long as the tragedy of the Palestinians continues, the mirage of 'peace' will become more unattainable.
What the Peace-Processians don't realize is that not only is the status quo here to stay, their cult-like enthusiasm for it is the main reason why it is here to stay. If the hordes of 'Peace Processians' want 'Peace' and not 'Process', they should be condemning Israel's colonies and occupation, not applauding its empty statements. So long as the masses continue to convince themselves the emperor is dressed in splendid clothes, he will continue to parade his hideous crotch all over the world, from Jerusalem to Annapolis and beyond.
Posted by Saifedean Ammous at 12:40 AM | Permalink