Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Say What You See

"What we will be looking for... is a way of putting together something that allows (Palestinian) claims and legitimate aspirations for statehood to be recognized while actually renewing the only thing that's going to produce a state, which is a negotiation directly between the two sides".
Sayeth Tony Blair, in his capacity as prime fig-leaf inadequately draped across the end of America's throbbing boner for "peace in the Middle East", by which the United States means "Realisation of its ally's maximal goals with minimal concessions".

Tony's reputation for scrupulous impartiality has been rather compromised after he presented Palestinian leaders with his most generous proposal - namely that, in exchange for dropping their bid for statehood and recognising Israel's right to do whatever the fuck it likes, they would earn the right to re-enter the same negotiations that have been so very productive these last few years.  After all, Benny Netanyahu may have built his career upon the solid bedrock of opposition to a Palestinian state, but who's to say he won't change his mind tomorrow?

Unsurprisingly, the Palestinians remained unmoved by Tony's proposal, failing as they do to share his confidence in the internationally sponsored peace process. 

Perhaps their faith in Tony's neutrality has been shaken somewhat by his unfortunate habit of touring the Holy Land telling the Israeli political class how bloody awesome they are, while their faith in the peace process is quelled by a quick glance at the evolving map of the region, which shows up its aims rather starkly in steel girders, stone and tarmac.  Perhaps Palestinian indifference to Tony's proposals is related to his habit of asking them whether they believe him, or their lyin' eyes.

The Times today advised our current Prime Minister to join with the Americans in vetoing the Palestinians' bid for statehood, on the grounds that this would "evoke the 'special relationship'" in some vague way that would confer squarely no benefits upon us, but would shower fortune and plenty upon the Obama administration.

As best I can tell, their hacks believe that the United States' lonely veto will undercut American claims to independent arbitration, leaving the casual observer with the impression that they have some kind of ulterior motive or something.  Combine that with the fact that the Israelis are threatening dire consequences, should the Palestinians ask the United Nations for the same rights that each of its member states take for granted, and you can see how this might start to look a bit suspect, from a justice angle.

The Times' editorial line on this is that, since Israel and the US have already fucked this situation beyond repair in plain view, the UK is now duty-bound to publicly fuck itself in identical fashion, thus somehow magically unfucking everything to the benefit of all.  This sounds a little like wishful thinking, to me.


Nonetheless, you do have enjoy the thought processes on display - the emphasis on appearances rather than reality, for instance.  It's as if the planet's population were contestants on 80s idiot-fodder quiz show Catchphrase, squinting at an unintelligible and partially obscured image on a giant screen.

"Just say what you see", Roy al-Walker gently encourages us, as another square disappears, revealing what appears to be a cartoon Barack Obama holding an animated Bibi Netanyahu's coat, while the latter pours concrete over half of the West Bank.

"Is it... Is it 'Another One Bites The Dust', Roy?" we ask, mystified.

"It's good", Roy says, sucking on his teeth and shaking his head, "But it's not right..." 

Well.  While it's fun watching all these statesmen proclaim that nobody could deny that the Palestinians deserve statehood from one side of their mouths while muttering that they can't have it from the other, I suggest that it would probably be better if the UK kept its own counsel.

If the Americans are intent on nailing their balls to the Wailing Wall and then trying to sprint towards a better tomorrow - and they are - I doubt whether the sight of Britain straining alongside them is going to make the spectacle any more convincing, effective or edifying.

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