Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Settlement expansion - orchestration and strings

As the spurious 'peace talks' unfold, it's no real surprise that Israel's Construction Minister Uri Ariel has announced plans to extend settlement building:
"We will continue to market housing and build in the entire country...This is the right thing at the present time, for Zionism and for the economy.'
As Jonathan Cook puts it:
"Few of us – even the participants – believe that there is any hope these latest “peace” talks will lead anywhere. All the Palestinians will get from the negotiations are a handful of political prisoners, while Israel gets a quick expansion of the very settlements it is supposed to be about to dismantle as part of a peace agreement. The current exchange rate is 1,200 new settler homes for the 26 Palestinian prisoners to be released this week. Or looked at another way, about 300 Jewish settlers for each prisoner."
Behind this seeming 'trade-off', Israel and the US are orchestrating another trap for a politically desperate Abbas, who, when 'negotiations' end, will either have caved-in to Israel's settlement and other claims, or, in rejecting such impossible demands, will see the Palestinians cast as 'peace wreckers'.

In covering the story, consider these contrasting statements on the illegality of settlements (h/t Jack Evans at Twitter).

From the Tehran Times:
"The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands."
And this standard from the BBC:
"Settlements are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this."
The former gives an accurate summation of the legal situation, the latter a basic acknowledgement, but with 'balancing' qualification.

Which version offers the more instructive information? And how might that BBC 'disclaimer' look if set against the Tehran Times account?

One might say:
Settlements are considered illegal under international law, although the BBC's caveat helps refute this.
On a more uplifting note, here's something the BBC haven't, as yet, sought to cut or qualify.
Highest praise to the wonderful Nigel Kennedy who, accompanied by the Palestinian Strings (with three outstanding Palestinian playing brothers) and Orchestra of Life, performed captivating adaptations of Vivaldi's Four Seasons at the BBC Proms.

At the end, a virtuoso Kennedy humbly commended his fellow players, courageously concluding with this on-stage comment:
“Giving equality and getting rid of apartheid gives a beautiful chance for amazing things to happen.”
Marvellous. As with the beguiling beauty of this performance (his own final composition, Falling Forest, was stunning too) Nigel's brave words give some hopeful relief from the dominant orchestration, reminding us that Israel and its US 'peace composer' aren't pulling all the strings.

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