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JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Israel plays this prisoner-release game every time the U.S. manages to push it, once again, into negotiations. I’m amazed people don’t yawn en masse at the announcements.

Each time they play the game, mainline news media give Israel endless positive coverage, as though something significant or hopeful were happening.

But Israel holds many thousands of Palestinians in prisons, including some very young people and people guilty of no crime, so the release of a couple of dozen is virtually meaningless.

And since these particular prisoners are ones convicted of crimes but nearing the end of long sentences, a slightly early release is truly meaningless: it is what happens in the prison system of every Western nation.

The amount of publicity garnered by this paltry act – day after day in all the big-name papers – couldn’t be bought for a billion dollars.

So why do we hear endlessly about nothing as though it were something?

It is only one more stark proof of the inordinate influence of Israel and its apologists have over our sources of information.

These “peace talks” will go nowhere, just as countless others in the past have gone nowhere.

Why is that?

The obvious harsh truth is that Israel does not want, and never has wanted, peace as anyone outside Israel understands it.

Israel wants more land, minus its undesirable Arabic people, and it has had a long, slow process of ethnic-cleansing going on for decades. Just look at the announcement of still more settlements in the West Bank and the ugly manipulations underway in East Jerusalem to separate people from property they’ve owned for centuries. None of it anything less than legalized theft of the property of others who are forced to live under Israeli rule with absolutely no rights.

There is a fundamental truth to human history, and that is that tyranny and abuse ultimately fail. They succeed for a while – the Soviet Union had a run of ninety years – but it is impossible to maintain such a repressive regime indefinitely.

Here is Israel going through the motions yet again of negotiating, only this time it negotiates with an unelected Palestinian, Abbas, the U.S. has propped up in office because of his compliant nature, one moreover who does not even pretend to rule the Palestinians of Gaza.

Peace will come only when the U.S. gets tough with Israel and stops subsidizing and protecting its brutality, and I suspect that will never happen.

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Note that a new law has been proposed in Israel. This law would allow Israel to seize the property of all “non-resident” Palestinians who own land in East Jerusalem (Arabic in population for centuries), Palestinians who happen to have their primary residence in the West Bank or Gaza.

It is the equivalent of the state of Florida proposing a law to seize all the condos and vacation properties of people who live in the other forty-nine states. It is actually worse than that because Israel as illegal occupier has no right in international law to legislate such matters over the heads of Palestinians.

Apart from the bitter irony of such a law – after all, Jews are supposed to have left what was Israel two thousand years ago, and you cannot get more “absentee” than that – it is extremely difficult to understand how property-worshipping Americans can stomach such rigged legislation.

Of course, the American mainline press carries virtually no mention of the proposal.

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