Monday, May 23, 2011

Richard Falk: Obama’s Flawed Approach to the Israel/Palestine Conflict

Richard Falk,, May 21, 2011

  There is no world leader that is more skilled at speechmaking than Barack Obama, especially when it comes to inspiring rhetoric that resonates with deep and widely held human aspirations. And his speech on Middle East policy, symbolically delivered to a Washington audience gathered at the State Department, was no exception, and it contained certain welcome reassurances about American intentions in the region.  I would point to his overall endorsement of the Arab Spring as a demonstration that the shaping of political order ultimately is a prerogative of the people. Further that populist outrage if mobilized is capable of liberating an oppressed people from the yoke of brutal and corrupt dictatorships, and amazingly to do so without recourse to violence. Obama also was honest enough to acknowledge that the national strategic interests of the United States sometimes take precedence over this preferential option for democracy and respect for human rights. Finally, his proposed $1 billion in debt relief for Egypt was a concrete expression of support for the completion of its revolutionary process, although the further $1 billion tied to an opening to outside investment and a free trade framework was far more ambiguous, threatening the enfeebled Egyptian economy with the sort of competitive intrusions that have been so devastating for indigenous agriculture and industry throughout the African continent.

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1 comment:

Dr Nasir Khan said...

In his usual clear and upright manner, Richard Falk points to President Obama's flawed approach to the Israel/Palestine issues and his policy which in no way can lead to any positive results because what the American political establishment and the powerful pro-Israel forces in the United States stand for is to provide all political and military muscle to Israel to expand its settlements and virtually make it impossible for the Palestinians to have a viable, independent state. Obama's empty rhetoric is part of that game; in substance it is nothing more than that.

For a state to exist it should have sufficient land. In 1948, Israel was given 78 percent of the land and the remainder 22 percent was for the Arab population of Palestine. Through its illegal settlements and territorial expansion Israel has taken away almost one-third of the 22 percent of the Palestinian land. This fact alone shows that any possibility to create a viable independent Palestinian state is zero. But if such an entity will ever come into existence then the first condition is that Israel gives back all the stolen land since 1967 and wipes out all the illegal settlements in the occupied territories. All such stolen Palestinian land belongs to the Palestinians; Israeli theft and expropriation of such land are crimes under international law, which cannot be used to justify  as 'new facts on the ground'.