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George Orwell in Israeli-Palestinian Confrontation

Hamas Leader Khaled Mashal Arrives in Gaza Claiming Victory In Recent Battle With Israel, While Likud Leaders Claim New Settlement Building Was Proper Response To Palestinian Violation Of Oslo Accords

Khaled Mashal

 George Orwell can best cast light on the persistent claims of Hamas and by Israeli officials in the current confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians. Hamas leaders Khaled Mashal and Ismail Haniya claim an historic Palestinian victory over Israel in the recent eight day battle with Israel – nothing could be further from the truth. Hamas rocket teams and their weapons arsenals were clobbered in Gaza and they know it. On the other hand, after 138 nations in the UN General Assembly voted in favor of recognizing Palestine as a non- member observer state, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu adopted the old Arab adage of 'cutting off your nose to spite your face' by announcing plans to build 3,000 housing units linking Jerusalem with the Israeli town of Maale Adumim in Judea & Samaria (West Bank). This construction plan was condemned instantly by nearly one and all including Israel's closest allies, even Canada. Yet Netanyahu and his Likud cabinet ministers stand by the settlement decision as a fitting response to the flagrant violation of the Oslo Accord by West Bank Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

 George Orwell insights can help elucidate the current reality and fantasy conundrum.

'Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind'. This explains how both Hamas and Israeli leaders are both blowing 'pure wind' with their mutually preposterous claims.

Here's another Orwellian thought that applies:

'People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome'.

Here again people tend to accept what they believe in spite of the facts and this is what Hamas and Israeli leaders are banking on. Arriving in Gaza to a hero's welcome, Khaled Mashal declared that after the recent victory against the Zionists, Hamas would march on to Ramallah, (the Abbas seat of power on the West Bank) and then to Haifa, Jaffa and Tel Aviv! This is the Palestinian partner that moderate Mahmoud Abbas has joined in partnership.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Netanyahu did some shooting from the hip by announcing the settlement building; his tit-for-tat response for the Abbas gambit in the General Assembly has backfired against Israel. Nearly all the fifty UN members who either voted against or abstained in the GA vote for Palestine have now rejected Netanyahu's building decision. (Netanyahu apparently did not consult with his nine member security cabinet that conducted skillfully the recent 'Pillar of Defense' military operation to suppress Hamas rocketing from Gaza.) Bear in mind the international community, by and large supported Israel's right of self-defense against Gaza. But this time, the universal reaction was that Israel was guilty of diplomatic overkill in announcing the latest settlement building which, rightly or wrongly, could put paid to a two-state solution.

Netanyahu has contended that Israel is 'more sinned against than sinning' – it is Abbas who has refused to negotiate and the Palestinian cannot be allowed to pull a fast one at the U.N. by violating the Oslo peace agreement. But someone once said: 'If you find yourself in a situation where you stand alone against everyone else, you're absolutely right or you're absolutely wrong!' In this case, Israel is pitted against almost the entire world. How can that serve Israel's national interest? But behind the scenes, official sources have been quietly leaking to political commentators that Netanyahu will not actually follow through by sending in the bull-dozers.

It was a political ruse, solely a verbal payback for the Palestinians' duplicity in pulling a fast one by going to the General Assembly, instead of the negotiating table. This sounds plausible because if the government ever did start the construction, Israel might even lose the support of Micronesia! And of course, this is election season in Israel and Netanyahu had to protect his electoral flank from the rising ultra- Right winger Naftali Bennet. He appears to be drawing some voters away from the Likud. Therefore the Likud leader had to punish the Palestinians or else look soft in the eyes of potential Bennet voters.

The latest poll taken by Channel 1 TV indicates that Likud-Lieberman are still far ahead of the pack with 36 seats, followed by 19 for Labor, and 12 for Tzipi Livni. The poll was taken immediately after Amir Peretz defected from Labor to Livni and indicates the Right-wing bloc, that includes the ultra- Orthodox parties such as Shas, still commands a 67 seat majority in the 120 member Knesset.

David Essing

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