Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lies, Lies, and More Lies


My father, who grew up in Poland, and spent his formative years as a young man serving in the Russian Army during the WW II, often told me that when eastern Europeans under communist rule were caught red handed in something they would rather not be caught at, the best tactic was to just lie bold faced that you didn't do it, and stick tenaciously to your story of innocence. And this tactic often works. Show any weakness, any sign that your accuser might have even the sliver of a point, and you are lost. Stick to your guns, and the KGB interrogators may begin to doubt their sources, and give you a break. After all half the time they were just on a paranoid fishing expedition, and they understood that their "informants" where not always that reliable. This tactic, works whether or not you are guilty as suspected. But the key is consistent protestation of innocence.

Israeli President, Shimon Peres, himself born in pre-war Poland, seems to have absorbed this lesson well. Once considered a dove, he is now apologist in chief for the Israel's expansionism and military excesses.

According to Haaretz:

President Shimon Peres said on Wednesday that Israel would never apologize for its military offensive on the Gaza Strip earlier this year, calling a damning United Nations report on its conduct there "unfair and one-sided."

The UN-commissioned investigation found the Israel Defense Forces were responsible for civilian deaths and damage to UN compounds in Gaza Strip.

"We will never accept it," Peres, after meeting with UN Secretary Genera Ban Ki-Moon in New York. "It's outrageous."

So who exactly did kill the 500+ civilians in the Gaza War? Who exactly did bomb the U.N. facilities?

If anything the U.N. report was kind to Israel, calling it "reckless", as if all the excess damage and death was just the result of some exuberant teenage boys. Still after what appears to be a thorough investigation, the UN concluded that Israel had indeed been responsible for bombing 7 of the 9 U.N facilities that where damaged during the war. You can read a more dispassionate report on the report in the Globe and Mail.

Peres despite his firm denials, did admit that Israel might have made some "mistakes" in the Gaza War. (Oops he might be slipping here.) But he refused to take responsibility for them. When challenged by the U.N. commission to admit that Israel had filed "untrue" statements about attacks against the UN's Jabalia school and another UN compound, and to express regret, he responded that Israel would not retract its statements because some of the accusations against Israel were also "untrue."

( ALSO !! I guess the octogenarian Peres is as sharp as he used to be. )

The same day Peres appeared before the AIPAC convention in Washington DC. He assured the delegate that Israel's "arms are open in peace." He assured the audience that - despite signs to the contrary including his own statements - Prime Minister Netanyahu wants peace, will move towards peace, and when the time is ripe will make concessions needed for peace.

A few days prior Peres met with Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country currently holds the European Union presidency. He reiterated Israel's previous promise (made at Annapolis and hardly kept well by the previous Israeli government) that there would be no new construction in West Bank settlements. Topolanek, in turn, promised to work to improve Israeli-European relations.

Meanwhile, Haaretz reports that:

Settlement expansion seeing biggest boost since 2003 ... A new outpost, new roads, and other building projects have raced ahead in and around the settlements, often without legal permits ...

Examples cited include: construction projects in a new illegal outpost Between Talmon and Nahliel, and another west of Ramallah; illegal construction has been carried out on private Palestinian land at the existing outposts Mitzpeh Ahiya and Adei-Ad, north of Ramallah; another mobile home has been set in an existing but illegal outpost near Susia south of Hebron; an illegal outpost that was vacated near Hebron has been reinstated. New houses have been built in the Eli settlement, Rechelim, Ma'aleh Michmash and Kochav Hashahar (north and east of Ramallah). In addition, a new neighborhood has been built in Na'ale, and there are at least 10 houses in Halamish and new houses in Talmon (all west of Ramallah). Land has been prepared for building a new neighborhood in the Kedar settlement, and 30 houses have been built in Ma'aleh Shomron. There is also a new neighborhood in both the Elkana and Zofim settlements; Road construction on Palestinean farmland: This has gone on near the Bracha settlement south of Nablus, near Tapuach, in the Eli and Shiloh area and in the Amona and Elazar settlements.

All this since February !

Meanwhile, another Ha'aretz article points out that
... this week, a Jerusalem daily promised that any Israeli factory willing to move to the settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim would benefit in three ways. First is the community's "Ideal location," ten minutes from Jerusalem. The map featured in the ad shows only Israeli communities as recommended sites for factory owners to build in - no Palestinian communities, even those next door to the settlements.

The second advantage is accessibility. ... the significance of this is that Israel has built roads for Israelis alone to use, so they can live and work in the occupied territories without having to come across Palestinians. Route 443 was paved for the sake of accessibility to Ma'aleh Adumim. The state assured the High Court of Justice that the road - built on lands expropriated from Palestinians - was intended for the benefit of the "local population." But in stark contrast to that pledge, the road is open to Israelis only.

Third, the advertisement promises the same tax deductions as in "National Priority Area A," adding: "Ma'aleh Adumim's industrial park has the largest land reserves in the Jerusalem area.

The plots are available for allocation at attractive prices." This is the same area that Israel had promised not to develop, in order to someday allow Palestinians to travel freely between the northern and southern West Bank.

... enormous notices in the Jerusalem papers testify to new construction in all the occupied territories around Jerusalem. There is, for example, a "golden opportunity" in Har Homa, but no mention is made of the Palestinians on whose land the houses are being built. Nor is there mention of the neighboring village of Nuaman, whose lands were [recently] annexed to Jerusalem but whose residents hold Palestinian identity cards, and are therefore classified as illegal residents in their own homes.

Another ad for "a project born with a silver spoon" features a model apartment, but makes no mention of nearby Sur Baher, Umm Tuba, Abu Dis and Beit Sahour. These Palestinian neighborhoods and villages,... have vanished not only from the map printed in the newspaper, but from the consciousness of the Israeli government, which has not seen fit to offer the Palestinians a zoning plan that would allow them to build, pave roads and erect schools.

So while Israeli's continue to gobble up more and more of the West Bank, extending ethnic based Jewish only development, and making any hope of peace or justice an ever more distant dreams, Shimon Peres, Nobel Peace Prize winner, has transformed himself into the Salesman-In-Chief for Netanyahu, Leiberman, and the whole Israeli occupation machine.

And like any good used car salesman, he tells us mostly lies. Like any smart prisoner in a Soviet jail, he strenuously and continuously denies any hint of guilt or bad behaviour.

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