Monday, March 31, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Afterword Segment 12/14
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7. Bush-Baker Diplomacy

Until 1988, the US and Israel were satisfied with the status quo, content merely to rebuff Arab and other peace initiatives while Israel extended its harsh rule over the territories with US aid. Problems arose, however, with the outbreak of the Intifada and the increased Israeli repression, which created negative images and other unwanted costs. Furthermore, PLO insistence on a political settlement was becoming more difficult to suppress. The problem was getting serious by late 1988, when the US refused to permit Yasser Arafat to address the UN in New York, causing it to convene in Geneva. By then, Secretary of State George Schultz and domestic commentators were becoming an international laughing stock with their frantic cries that Arafat had failed to repeat the "magic words" dictated to him by Washington. The wise decision was made to resort to a familiar diplomatic device, the "Trollope ploy": to pretend that Arafat had accepted US demands, welcome his invented capitulation, then impose upon him the US terms. It was assumed correctly that the media and intellectual opinion would reflexively adopt Washington's concoctions, ignoring the fact -- transparent to any literate person -- that Arafat's positions remained as far from Washington's as before, and that no Palestinian spokesperson could possibly accept the US terms. The farce was played perfectly, and entered history.36

The PLO's reward for its invented capitulation was a low-level "dialogue" to divert world attention while Israel turned to harsher measures to suppress the Intifada. Predictably, the PLO leadership played along, contributing to the success of the repression. The transcript of the first meeting was leaked and published prominently in Egypt and Israel. The US stated two conditions for "dialogue." There will be no international conference, and the PLO must call off the "riots, which we view as terrorist acts against Israel" (the Intifada). Thus Palestinians must accept the previous conditions of brutal repression and steady dispossession. The working assumptions were explained by Labor's Defense Secretary, Yitzhak Rabin, who informed Peace Now leaders in February 1989 that he welcomed the meaningless dialogue, which would offer Israel time to employ "harsh military and economic pressure"; "In the end they will be broken," and will accept Israel's terms. These plans were implemented, with much success.

In particular, the threat of democracy was overcome. The Intifada had raised a serious challenge to the quasi-feudal structure of Palestinian society,37 but the new popular committees and other initiatives of the rascal multitude were weakened and perhaps demolished by US-backed Israeli violence.

Meanwhile, Israel and the US initiated their own diplomatic track, to deflect the risk of an authentic peace process. The Likud-Labor coalition government proposed the "Shamir Plan" in May 1989, more accurately the Shamir-Peres Plan.38 The plan's "Basic Premises" are: (1) there can be no "additional Palestinian state in the Gaza district and in the area between Israel and Jordan"; (2) "Israel will not conduct negotiations with the PLO"; (3) "There will be no change in the status of Judea, Samaria and Gaza other than in accordance with the basic guidelines of the Government" of Israel, which reject Palestinian self-determination. The phrase "additional Palestinian state" reflects the US-Israel position that there already is a Palestinian state, namely, Jordan. Hence the issue of self-determination for Palestinians does not arise, contrary to what is believed by those "whose cantankerousness was reinforced by Moscow": Jordanians, Palestinians, Europeans, and others similarly misguided. The Basic Premises incorporate the "Four No's" of the official Labor Party program: No return to the 1967 borders, No removal of settlements, No negotiations with the PLO, No Palestinian state. The plan then calls for "free and democratic elections" under Israeli military occupation with the PLO excluded and the unacceptable leadership interned in Israeli prison camps.

The US endorsed this forthcoming proposal. James Baker explained that "Our goal all along has been to try to assist in the implementation of the Shamir initiative. There is no other proposal or initiative that we are working with." In December 1989, the Department of State released the Baker Plan, which stipulated that Israel would attend a "dialogue" in Cairo with Egypt and acceptable Palestinians, who would be permitted to discuss implementation of the Shamir Plan, but nothing else.39

All of this took place long before the Gulf War, and while the US-PLO "dialogue" was spinning along in its intentionally pointless way. Standard doctrine is that Arafat lost his place at the table "as a result of his support for Iraq in the gulf war," and that "the principal causes of the PLO's weakness" are PLO support for Saddam Hussein and failure to expel the perpetrators of a thwarted terrorist action in May 1990.40 This version is without merit, as inspection of dates and documents clearly demonstrates; it merely offers new pretexts for old policies.

The official "peace process" includes Camp David and Madrid, and various fables about forthcoming Israeli offers, but not the essential history, tucked safely away in the memory hole. After Camp David, mainstream US discussion has ranged between the hawks, who hold that Palestinians deserve nothing, and the doves, like Times Middle East specialist Thomas Friedman, who argue that this stand is not in Israel's interest: "only if you give the Palestinians something to lose is there a hope that they will agree to moderate their demands," Friedman observes, abandoning their hope for mutual recognition in a two-state settlement -- a "demand" that he refused to report and regularly denied while producing the "balanced and informed coverage" that won him a Pulitzer prize. "I believe that as soon as Ahmed has a seat on the bus, he will limit his demands," Friedman added. He advised Israel to run the territories on the model of South Lebanon, controlled by Israeli troops and a terrorist surrogate army, with a hideous torture chamber in Khiam where hundreds are held hostage to ensure that the population submits, and regular bombardment beyond Israeli-occupied Lebanon to prevent resistance -- called "terrorism."41

One might ask what the reaction would be if some commentator were to advise South African whites that it would be in their interest to give Sambo a seat on the bus, or to advise Syria that they should run what is now Israel as they do the Bekaa valley, though they should give Hymie a seat on the bus so that he will limit his demands. The comparison provides no little insight into Western culture.

Go to the next segment.

36 For specifics, here and below, see my articles in Z magazine, March 1989, Jan. 1990, and Necessary Illusions.

37 For discussion from Israeli sources, see my article in Z magazine, July 1988.

38 Israeli Government Election Plan, Jerusalem, 14 May 1989, Embassy of Israel.

39 Thomas Friedman, NYT, Oct. 19, 1989; U.S. Department of State press release, Dec 6, 1989.

40 Friedman, NYT, Nov. 4; Editorial, BG, Oct. 6, 1991.

41 Friedman, Yediot Ahronot, April 7; Hotam, April 15, 1988. KEYWORDS terrorist democracy elections cia mossad bnd nsa covert operation 911 mi6 inside job what really happened wtc pentagon joint chiefs of staff jcs centcom laser hologram usa mi5 undercover agent female sex exploitation perception deception power anarchy green social democratic participation japanese spy black-op false flag gladio terror.

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