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Zionism - biggest obstacle to any peaceful settlement

by Dr Vickramabahu Karunaratne

(June 14, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The far-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman has demonstrated once more its ability to go even further than earlier Israeli governments in trampling international law and basic human decency under foot. Their murderous attack in international waters on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla is a new escalation of Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people. It was met with a forceful escalation in the response from solidarity movements and world public opinion. There were protests throughout the world including several protests in Colombo.

However, the Israeli government knows, that the world’s governments would reflexively respond with mere words: some diplomatic communiques some tut-tut ting at Israeli ambassadors, as usual. But this time it could be different. This time an outpouring of protest could force governments to move from words to deeds. Already some strong steps are taken
Already Barrack Obama and Ban Ki-moon have spoken of investigation. What is there of consequence to investigate? The Israeli government does not deny that it launched an illegal attack in international waters; it proclaims it! The Israeli army itself says that more than ten activists were killed. The Israeli military’s own spokesperson claims no more than four Israeli injuries as extenuation for the slaughter. Al-Jazeera’s correspondent on the lead boat reports that a white flag was raised, and yet the Israelis opened fire as they stormed it, without provocation. All this points to a deliberate resort as in 2008-09, to “disproportionate force;” and certainly not a case of “self-defence”.

Logical extension

The assault on the Freedom Flotilla was in fact a logical extension of the blockade of Gaza that the flotilla was protesting and challenging. Hardly a government on earth besides Israel’s has a word to say in defence of this blockade. It is clearly a blatant case of an illegal collective punishment of a civilian population. Yet there is no government on earth that seriously lifts a finger to stop it. Not that there is mass starvation today in Gaza; in spite of the arbitrary and capricious Israeli blockade, it has so far been able to avoid that degree of devastation. Yet the blockade has led to widespread malnutrition; to the traumatization of tens of thousands of children; to mass unemployment that has left 80 percent of the Gaza Strip’s 1.5 million people dependent on relief. The helpless population has to live among the ruins left by the 2008-09 Israeli aggression, as they are still denied any means of repairing.

The protests against the attack on the flotilla organized in Colombo were more than justified. The picket lines and demonstrations outside Colombo could continue in the coming weeks. These protests must make the Mahinda government positively condemn the Israeli outrages. It should break the illicit collaboration between Mahinda and the Israelis.

Bankruptcy of the “peace process”

This new Israeli crime shows the bankruptcy of the “peace process” supposedly aimed at establishing a Palestinian mini-state in the 1967 territories alongside an intact Zionist Israel. Zionism, just like its counterpart here, Sinhala chauvinism, is the biggest obstacle to any peaceful settlement. Movements for peace and solidarity should expose this fraud and stand for an alternative, heading towards true peace. Here too the only solution is to live together on the basis of equality, autonomy and the right of self determination. There should be full and unconditional right for Palestinian self-determination. Such an exercise should include the right of return for the 1948 refugees (who make up four-fifths of the Gaza Strip’s population). The dismantling of the Zionist state should take place with a political solution, in which the Palestinian and Israeli Jewish peoples can live together in full equality of rights.

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