The Center for Middle East Policy, a U.S. foreign policy think tank under the Brookings Institution, hosted the 11th annual Saban Forum from Friday to Sunday. Under the banner of “Stormy Seas: The United States and Israel in a Tumultuous Middle East,” participants in the Zionist propaganda event included U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Israeli Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett, and the Israeli Chair of the Labour Party Isaac Herzog.
In an August interview with The Atlantic, Clinton expressed staunch support for Israel’s July massacre of Palestinians, known as Operation Protective Edge. Drawing accurate, albeit misrepresented, comparisons between Israel and the U.S., Clinton referred to Israel and the U.S. as democratic countries which have unintentionally inflicted harm upon targeted populations, rather than two powerful entities seeking political dominance.
In her discussion of Israel’s targeting of Palestinian civilians during the massacre on Gaza in July, Clinton stated: “Just as we try to do in the United States and be as careful as possible in going after targets to avoid civilians, mistakes are made.”
She also noted that “democratic nations” are also prone to error, despite their alleged “values.”
Clinton’s error was labelling the U.S. and Israel as democratic. In reality, the U.S. is an imperialist power supporting Israel, a colonizing power, to expand its stronghold in the Middle East. Operation Protective Edge left over 2,000 civilians dead, most of which were women and children, and over 500,000 people internally displaced.
Clinton’s discourse at the Saban Forum was also replete with references to U.S. military support for Israel. A brief overview of Clinton’s remarks published in the Times of Israel mentions ongoing U.S. efforts to fund Israel’s military capabilities in order to enable the Zionist state to progress with its colonial expansion, a process that began in the late 19th century, when the Zionist movement in Europe started to actively infiltrate Palestine.
For the benefit of mainstream media and the less discerning, broad audience it targets, the rhetoric is juxtaposed against exhausting talk of negotiations, the need to “achieve a resolution between Israel and the Palestinians,” as well as the perpetually evoked “two-state solution.”
Described by Haim Saban, the founder, as an individual who “embodies support for Israel,” Clinton’s contribution to the so-called “weekend of dialogue” — in reality: a weekend of interactions between speakers and an audience that are limited solely to Zionist parameters — covered Russia, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and U.S.–Israel relations. The discussion of U.S.-Israel relations departed from a brief overview of the Oslo Accords as a process deemed still relevant.
“I think they remain relevant, and I believe that there is a necessary imperative to continue to try to achieve a resolution between Israel and the Palestinians,” Clinton asserted.
“The two-state solution which has been the hallmark of not just the Clinton parameters but, you know, the work under President Bush, the work under President Obama, remains an important and, I would argue, essential concept to bring people together around.”
Reinforcing colonization, eroding Palestine
Relevance, however, does not equal a resolution. Far from providing Palestinians with autonomy, the Oslo Accords reinforce colonization, particularly through the requirement of the Palestine Liberation Organization — the Palestinian organization founded in 1964 with the aim of liberating Palestine — to recognize the state of Israel. Palestinian governance through the establishment of the Palestinian Authority has been limited and compromised. The Oslo Accords have also allowed Israel further dominance, especially through the failure of the accords to prohibit the continuation of settlement expansion, thus resulting in further deterioration of Palestinian territory in the West Bank.
In concordance with the knowledge of the increasing erosion of Palestine funded by U.S. support for Israel, Clinton also attempted to draw a comparison between negotiations and the misrepresentation of Hamas — described by Clinton as the entity which persists in “the continuing aggressive behavior coming out of Gaza.” The absence of negotiations, she said, results in a “vacuum” that is primarily “not good for Israel” and, as an afterthought, also harmful to Palestinians.
The emphasis on negotiations and relinquishing resistance has compromised the struggle for Palestinian liberation. Armed resistance was historically endorsed by all Palestinian factions, as recently expressed in an interview with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Yet there is a discrepancy between the official endorsements of armed resistance as a Palestinian right and the actual application of armed resistance against Israel’s colonization, which is fragmented and requires ideological and strategic planning in order for an appropriate reconciliation to be devised based upon agreement to resistance between all factions.
The deterioration of resistance, partly due to the strengthening of the Zionist colonial process and the ensuing Palestinian attempts to be recognized and granted legitimacy by their oppressors, was thrown into sharp prominence through the negotiations constantly hailed by the U.S. as a necessity.
As diplomacy appeared to consolidate its position over resistance, thus also creating a new discourse in which armed struggle was labelled as terrorism, Palestinians suffered the indignity of their internationally-recognized leaders bequeathing Israel with additional swathes of Palestinian territory.
Meanwhile, Israel’s colonial violence — a process perfected since the Zionist paramilitary aggression detailed in the Plan Dalet during the Nakba in 1948 — has continued to assert itself in settlement expansion, forced displacement, incarceration of Palestinian resistance fighters, and massacres of the civilian population in Gaza. All of this is carried out, it’s important to note, with the support of the U.S., which continues to assert Israel’s “right to defend itself.”
Security demands — Israel’s response to Palestinian resistance — have become a concept that the West, through Israeli and U.S. rhetoric, incorporates into biased discussions of peace in relation to the two-state compromise. At last week’s forum, Clinton emphasized U.S. funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, calling U.S. security cooperation Israel “quite extraordinary.”
Within the wider context of colonization in theory and in practice, what Clinton deemed extraordinary is, for Palestinians, a historical reality that has been manipulated — a reality that will continue to be manipulated until Palestine itself disappears from the international consciousness.
Meanwhile, the remnants of Palestine are overshadowed by the dominant narrative that expects complete subjugation from Palestinians in the name of “peace.” This concept of “peace” amounts to a two-state conspiracy that allows Israel to maintain its oppressive policies against Palestinians so it can continue to hold onto its strategic position as a colonial and imperialist base in the Middle East.