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Commentary Last Updated: May 20th, 2008 - 01:29:50

Peres�s coup
By Dr. Marwan Asmar
Online Journal Contributing Writer

May 20, 2008, 00:20

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Israel�s public relations exercise last week celebrating its 60th anniversary has to be seen as a major international coup that will be remembered for a long time to come. It was about images rather than about who is right or who is wrong.

It was their anniversary and our Palestinian Nakaba, the Catastrophe of 1948, in which around 750,000 people were driven off their land to establish the Israeli state but that didn�t really matter. The world and people like to believe in historical twists, ironies and injustices.

The Palestinian Nakba was passed as water under the bridge with the celebrations being for the strong of the world who responded cheerfully. The 60th anniversary was a coup masterminded by Shimon Peres, Israel�s crowning president who he says has been planning for such an event for the last 10 years so the high and mighty, the rich and the powerful, the brainy, the academics, and the scientists can join in a congratulatory event.

And they all came in droves with 13 heads and former heads of states and leading politicians to grace a state that has been created out of misery and on misery, led by US President George W. Bush, who spoke to the Israel Knesset with extreme fraternity and friendship, emblazoned by the Ehud Olmert hugs, the smiles, the warm handshakes and the endless commitments.

Former British Prime Minister and peace process guru Tony Blair was also there, no doubt to give the required push to the confidence of the 60-year-old democratic wonder and to pat their backs.

The occupation, the military rule, the sieges, the curfews and the stoppages, the knee-jerk reactions to the Palestinians never really counted, they were peripheral. The West was now talking to the powerful giants, not to the political dwarfs. The lots and lots of American money that fund the Zionist state was never mentioned, of course, which would have upset the mint brand -- Israel is no monster, it�s a democratic wonder, a civil state, a state based on institutions with rights and obligations to the liberal Israelis, to the left, socialist, slightly right-wing, extreme right-wing and those bordering on fascist or neo-fascist.

Of course Palestinians and Arabs Palestinians who live in, thank you kindly, Israel are either completely prohibited from such privileges or massively discriminated against, but tough, they are not good citizens!

Israel is a wonder just the same backed by none other than billionaires, capitalistic businessmen and past politicians who get a physical buzz out of the extraordinary. Mikhail Gorbachev, the great visionary, is a man who likes to be in these gatherings, as if somehow it wouldn�t do to miss the celebrations. After all, if he had stayed away, probably nobody would have missed him! He managed to end the Soviet Union and the Cold War. He was joined by the Cold War ideologue Henry Kissinger, who in his early 1970s heydays used the international system as a textbook case for practicing his theories of power-politics he dished out to his students in the 1960s, among the flag carriers.

The invitees wondered, smiled, clapped their hands and said hooray to a new marvel that kills Palestinians with bombs, jets, tanks, machine guns, provided willingly and with gratefulness, yes-sir--can-do, American money.

It was a coup for Israel because it aligned its interests with the future of the world, putting its concerns for the next decades as the concerns of the world, whilst forgetting its own backyard, as it presumably belongs to the good countries looking to the future.

Thinking strategically ahead is always good, and there's no denying Israel has it all in terms of science and technology, in terms of thinkers and hard-workers, but it's myopic and shortsighted. It's losing on the population argument with fewer and fewer Jewish families having children; it is losing on the migration argument as fewer and fewer people are coming into the country and more and more leaving.

By contrast it is the Palestinians who are once again wining the population argument although refugees in the strips of land that used to be their own country. They are producing more and more children and good for them since they need to make up for those that are shot on a daily basis.

This will surely dictate by the end of the day. However since the world is on short-term modes, Israel can afford to be myopic and think in terms of tomorrows and short-term happiness but in the end injustice will not and can not continue.

Dr. Marwan Asmar is an Amman, Jordan-based writer.

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