Wednesday, August 17, 2005

UNDP slammed for paying for poster

Leading Jewish groups, prompted by an earlier report from the disgraceful Fox news channel, are complaining that the UNDP paid for Palestinian produced posters in Gaza that read: "Gaza Today. The West Bank and Jerusalem Tomorrow." Ambassador John Bolton was Johnny on the spot to protest the "unacceptable" payments. Of course, one wonders what the Palestinians should be expected to write? Perhaps they could write, "Gaza Today, Tomorrow Israel Consolidates its hold on the West Bank."

Of course, the argument is that the fate of the West Bank and Jerusalem remain to be negotiated, but this illustrates how contorted the situation has become, in large measure because of relentless Israeli policies, and in equally large measure because of America's weak kneed responses to Israeli actions. UN Resolution 242 indicates quite clearly--in the understanding of those who crafted the document in 1967, and legions of diplomats who followed, that the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem were to be returned to the Palestinians with only "minor border rectifications."

A generation ago U.S. adminstrations refused to embrace Israeli settlement policy and emphasized the core meaning of 242. The U.S. policy slipped dramatically during the adminstration, when it began to be acceptable to talk about the occupied territories as "contested territory", as though 242 had lost meaning (which was precisely what Israel wished). So the situation has now deteriorated to the point that the Palestinians are expected to negotiate from a position that accepts that Israel has equal rights to the territories. You must admit it is a remarkable accomplishment for Israel.

It is going to be quite a trick for the Bushies to walk the cat all the way back, which seems a doubtful prospect.

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