NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY


  November 22, 2012

Ceasefire: Egypt Manages the Crisis; More US Arms for Israel


Vijay Prashad: Egypt brokers Gaza crisis working with US; Palestinians won't give up their struggle; There will be no accountability for Israel's illegal war
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   


Audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



Because news is only as honest as the intentions of those who report it. - Joel L.
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


biography

Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College. He is the author of sixteen books, including The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013), Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK, 2012), (co-edited with Paul Amar) Dispatches from the Arab Spring (2013), and No Free Left: The Futures of Indian Communism (Leftward Press, 2015). Vijay's latest book is Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation. Vijay is the chief editor at Leftward Press, and writes regularly for The Hindu, Frontline, Jadaliyya, Counterpunch, Himal and Bol.


transcript

Ceasefire: Egypt Manages the Crisis; More US Arms for IsraelVIJAY PRASHAD, PROF. INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, TRINITY COLLEGE: Welcome to The Real News Network. This is Vijay Prashad.

It is now 5:30 a.m. in Gaza, and the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has come into effect. The ceasefire agreement was inked in Cairo, Egypt, under the aegis of the Egyptian government, with the United States government overseeing the final wording.

It's a very strange moment that after eight days of sustained bombardment, with over 100 people dead and counting in Gaza, with untold millions of dollars of infrastructural destruction, on the surface it appears that a ceasefire that was there eight days ago is now once more back. It's not clear on the surface if anybody has made any gains. What's very clear is that Gaza is destroyed, that vast amounts of the civilian infrastructure are no longer useable, and even the UN properties have been very badly struck by the Israeli air strikes.

But underneath the surface, there are some interesting things to keep in mind. The first thing that's very interesting is that it has revealed that despite the attempts by the Israeli government to bomb Gaza into submission, that there has been a resilient spirit in Gaza, which came out in the very strong statement made by Hamas leader Khaled Mashal in Cairo, where he said, essentially, that the spirit of the Palestinian people could not be broken. This is true to one important extent. The first draft of the Israeli ceasefire agreement asks for a 15-year hudna, or 15-year truce. That did not make the final version. In other words, despite taking eight days of very hard bombing, the Palestinians did not accept a 15-year ceasefire. The ceasefire that they have accepted is essentially a rolling ceasefire. That's a symbolic thing, but it says something.

A second important thing about the statement that was signed was that it tacitly criticizes the embargo or the blockade of Gaza. It talks about the importance of free movement of people. It talks about the importance of opening up Gaza to the outside world. Now, this is all written very vaguely. It can mean really just about anything. But at least there is an indication here that Gaza has been suffocated, you know, at least over the last five years. So that is the second thing that's important.

The third very important thing is the role that Egypt has played here. And, you know, the fourth is Hamas's own role, which I'll come to, but they're related.

The role of Egypt is important. At the signing ceremony, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal said that essentially the blood of the Egyptian martyrs is all over the ceasefire agreement. And I think what Mashal was indicating was that the Egyptian leadership would not have been able to, you know, deal with its own contradictions if it had not had this strong pressure from the Arab street, from the Egyptian street, on Mohamed Morsi. You know, the Egyptian military is still very close to the United States. The Morsi government on economic terms has just signed a big IMF treaty. So there's no direct surface indication of major differences in Egypt's power establishment. On the other hand, that big pressure from below, on the one side the Tahrir pressure, as it were, secondly the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood, which has ties to Hamas, is in government, put a different kind of pressure on Mr. Morsi's government. You know, this deal was not signed in Doha, Qatar. It was not signed in Washington, D.C. It was not signed, you know, in some out-of-the-way Midwestern town. It was signed in Egypt. And I think that's very important.

Coming to the question of Hamas, you know, every time Israel has bombed Gaza, whether it's Cast Lead in 2009 or just now this Operation Pillar of Defense, every time it's bombed Gaza, Hamas has come out of the other end strengthened, not weakened. You know, in a sense the Palestinian resistance has gone behind Hamas and not away from it. The illustration of that comes in the ceasefire agreement.

After Operation Cast Lead in 2009, the ceasefire agreement came with the provision that aid to Gaza would go through the Palestinian Authority. In other words, the Palestinian Authority was to be the privileged interlocutor for the international community vis-à-vis Gaza.

No longer is that the case. You know, now there is an understanding that Hamas, as a legitimate organization, has to be dealt with legitimately. And this comes out as well when the Israeli government said that we don't negotiate with Hamas; we negotiate with the Egyptians. Well, you know, Hamas is right there inking the agreement with you. You can make as many, you know, comments like that, rhetorical comments about not talking to Hamas, but they are in fact directly engaging with Hamas.

To finally come to the point of Hamas's own strength, again, you know, Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) was isolated in the West Bank. He was unable to create big protests in solidarity with what was going on in Gaza. You know. And the piece of the cake for him was when Hillary Clinton came and stood beside him. You know, that's the kiss of death for a Palestinian leader. He looked very much like a weakened leader, not like Khalid Mashal, who yoked himself with the Tahrir uprising, with the Arab Spring, had a much more forceful speech in Cairo than Mahmoud Abbas standing next to Hillary Clinton, essentially putting the anger of the Palestinians at mute.

The tragedy of the ceasefire agreement is that it repeats one of the cardinal errors of Cast Lead, which is that despite the fact that the Israelis bombed so ferociously, despite the fact that there was such damage to the infrastructure, there will be no calling to account of anybody in Israel for this bombardment, and there will be no call for reparations, to rebuild Gaza from Israel.

You know, after Cast Lead, Navi Pillay at the UN Human Rights Council created the Goldstone Commission. They produced the Goldstone Report in 2010. It's very unlikely that she will be allowed to have any kind of report this time, and it's very unlikely, therefore, that the Israelis will be brought to any account for their actions.

Well, finally, what does one say to the Israelis themselves? You know, on the one hand, we have Mr. Netanyahu making a speech to the Israeli people where he moans for the loss of Israeli life, where he thanks his military, he thanks his cabinet. But he doesn't say anything at all about the grave loss of life in Palestine, the injuries, the destruction of the life world of Gaza. But the same thing comes from the United States. The Obama administration essentially thanked Netanyahu for coming to the ceasefire, very little about the destruction of the Palestinian life world, and finally, a tacit agreement between the United States and Israel that the U.S. is going to, you know, essentially re-up the Iron Dome missile defense system and is going to increase the arms sales to Israel.

So instead of any sanctions on Israel for an illegal war, we're going to see in fact Israel rewarded. There'll be no calling to account, and there'll be new arms deals. This is really going to damage the credibility not only of Israel, which has a credibility at a very—all-time low. It damages greatly the credibility of the Obama administration.

This is Vijay Prashad for The Real News Network.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

Growing Labor Protests Paralyzing France
Refugees Dehumanized, Impoverished, and Trapped in Europe: What can we do about it?
Clinton's Candidacy Will Unite the Corporate World
Rising Up Against Empire: Jeremy Scahill and the Easter Uprising
Tapes Reveal Coup Plot Against Rousseff, Weakening Temer Government
Koch Funded Free Market Universities in Arizona
'We've Become Accustomed to the System Doing Nothing for the Killing of Black People'
IMF-Eurozone Deal Hailed as a Breakthrough, But No Relief for Greeks
Why Austrians Nearly Elected a Far Right Candidate as President
Unions and the Sanders/Clinton Split (2/2)
Democratic Nomination Battle is Not Over Yet
Will Sanders Appointees Shake Up the Convention?
'The Law Has Always Been in the Favor of Law Enforcement'
Officer Edward Nero Found Not Guilty of All Charges Over Death of Freddie Gray
Unions and the Sanders/Clinton Split (1/2)
Bernie Sanders and the Widening Political Spectrum
Austria Narrowly Elects Former Green Party Leader as President, Avoids Far-Right Candidate
The Empire Files: 100 Years of US Troops as Lab Rats
By Ignoring Fossil Fuel Extraction, the Paris Agreement is Doomed to Failure
The Occupation of the American Mind - RAI with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters (3/3)
Erdogan Targeting the 59 Pro-Kurdish HDP Parliamentarians with 445 Police Investigations
Climate Change-Fueled Droughts Pushing Africa to the Brink
The Financial Invasion of Greece
The Occupation of the American Mind - RAI with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters (2/3)
Judge to Hand Down First Verdict in Freddie Gray Case on Monday
Move to Amend and the Fight to Remove Corporate Money From U.S. Elections
Baltimore Activists Defend Tubman House Against Threats of Demolition
The Occupation of the American Mind - RAI with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters (1/3)
Ultra-Nationalist Avigdor Lieberman Accepts Post as Defense Minister of Israel
Sanders and Class Struggle in the Democratic Party

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting