Sweden set to punish Israel’s Palestinian victims

Swedish Israeli friendship

By Nureddin Sabir Editor, Redress Information & Analysis

Few reasonably informed and fair-minded people would argue with the fact that the reason for the failure – no, the stillbirth – of the so-called “Middle East peace process” is Israel’s ongoing programme of land theft and colonization of Palestinian territories, its Judaization of East Jerusalem and its refusal to negotiate over the right of return or compensation for the Palestinians who have been ethnically cleansed to make way for foreign Jewish squatters.

Even fewer people would conclude that to turn this moribund process into a real roadmap to peace and justice, it is necessary to put unbearable pressure on Israel, a state which to this moment refuses to define its borders so as to leave the door open to further territorial expansion.

Fewer people still would dispute the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a massively asymmetrical struggle in which Israel, which boasts the world’s fourth largest army and is equipped with the best that US taxpayer money can buy from the US military-industrial complex, is pitted against largely unarmed Palestinian civilians and miniscule, disparate, disorganized and effectively leaderless factions armed with assault rifles and garden-shed rockets.

It is like putting an armed burglar with his defenceless victim in a room and asking them to “negotiate” a solution to the “dispute” resulting from the burglary and, when they fail to agree on how to divide the victim’s property, imposing a fine on the victim.

Yet, reason and logic are often conspicuously absent from the minds of European politicians when it comes to dealing with Israel.

So, rather than put pressure on Israel to force it to abandon its policies of aggression, land theft, colonization, ethnic cleansing and general contempt for international law, on 14 June Sweden – hitherto considered one of the more enlightened European nations – announced that it is considering slashing its aid to the Palestinians because of the lack of progress in achieving a two-state solution.

Speaking to Swedish Radio, the Swedish minister for international development cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson, asked: “Is it worth it for us to continue helping them [the Palestinians] create the conditions necessary for a two-state solution if Israel and the Palestinians themselves don’t want to sit down at the negotiating table?”

It is like putting an armed burglar with his defenceless victim in a room and asking them to “negotiate” a solution to the “dispute” resulting from the burglary and, when they fail to agree on how to divide the victim’s property, imposing a fine on the victim. As the Economist said back in 2011,

the negotiations have been going nowhere – and Mr Netanyahu has been the biggest stumbling-block. Since his grudging acceptance… of the two-state principle, Israel’s prime minister has shown no eagerness or flexibility in his purported pursuit of a deal. Settlement-building on the West Bank, which he has refused to stop… is no mere side issue; the Palestinians accurately liken it to the spectacle of two people negotiating over how to share a pizza while one of them continues to eat it.

Of course, since that article was written the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories has deteriorated significantly, with the Israeli watchdog Peace Now reporting this month that settlement-building in 2013 had reached a seven-year high.

Surely, the common-sense response to this daylight robbery from “enlightened” Sweden should be to push for comprehensive sanctions against the aggressor, Israel, not to punish the Palestinian victims.

But, as always, when it comes to Israel common sense takes a back seat in deference to the chosen ones, even in “enlightened” Sweden.

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