Ghada Karmi: the fantasy and the reality

Karmi speaking at a ‘Stop the War Coalition’ (StWC) rally. StWC is a group organized in part by Islamist organisations such as the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB)

I would like to be able to write that Ghada Karmi’s political polemic of September 1st was exceptional. Unfortunately, advocates of the destructive one-state ‘solution’ to the Israel/Palestine conflict have become disturbingly common above the line at CiF, which obliges one to ask if this is also the official editorial line of the Guardian and if so, how many other sovereign states which are members of the UN does the Guardian advocate destroying?

Ghada Karmi is an extremist of the worst kind; one who stokes the fires of conflict in comfort from afar. She is, however, far from unique. The anti-Israel lobby, in its politically correct costume of ‘pro-Palestinian’ activism, is choc a bloc full of people who incite the Palestinians actually living in the Middle East against making the compromises necessary to put an end to a conflict with a toll of blood not paid by Karmi and others of her ilk.

Karmi is of course a known one-staterand takes part in incitements such as ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ and Al Awda conventions. She is a board member and former vice-chair of CAABU and a patron  of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign – that same organization which intimidates  shop keepers in the most thuggish of manners. She co-operates with the ISM – the same movement which harbored suicide bombers in Israel and teaches ‘conflict resolution’ (no, I’m not joking) at Exeter – a university which sees nothing wrong with taking money  from the extremist Islamist organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood.

In this latest polemic, Karmi transparently attempted to twist the reality of the long history of Israeli/Palestinian peace negotiations completely on its head in order to create a new narrative.

“There is a real danger that the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks due to starton (sic) September 2 in Washington could yield a botched deal that falls far short of the needs of international law or elemental justice, and sets back the cause of Palestine for decades, if not for ever.”

The solution to a conflict in which both sides have valid, if often juxtaposed, claims will not be found through raising the banner of ‘elemental justice’. Both parties will have to put some of their wish for justice aside in order to make compromises which will be painful, but which will enable a peaceful solution to be reached. Of course Karmi is only concerned about ‘justice’ for one party in this conflict; as an advocator of the one-state ‘solution’ she refuses to recognize the just rights of the Jewish people to self-determination. And if sharing the land available through a two-state solution is such an abhorrent prospect for Karmi, this would indicate that in her view the ‘cause of Palestine’ has nothing to do with peaceful co-existence.

“Time and again, when Israel was thrown a lifeline by Arab neighbours that could have ensured its legitimacy and security, its folly and greed lost it those opportunities.”

With this inverted version of history, Karmi of course completely brushes under the carpet numerous attempts by Israel’s neighbours to bring about its total annihilation, as well as the fact that when true opportunities for peace did present themselves, such as the treaties with Egypt and Jordan, Israel grasped them with both hands and continues to make great efforts to keep them viable, often under difficult circumstances. Karmi then goes on to whitewash the Saudi proposals which neither provide an answer to the thorny subject of refugees nor include one of Israel’s major enemies, Hamas. She also neglects to mention that during the negotiations with Egypt, the latter refused to take back the Gaza strip as part of the’ land for peace’ formula.

“When in the 1979 Camp David negotiations Egypt sought to give the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza a basis for a future independent state, Israel refused. It spurned a succession of Arab peace proposals, most recently the Saudi plan of 2002, offering Israel peace and recognition in return for a Palestinian state. And when, in the 1993 Oslo Accords, the PLO finally capitulated and accepted Israel’s occupation of Palestine’s remnants so long as it would enable the establishment of an independent state on this morsel, Israel responded by taking more land.”

The interesting use of the word ‘capitulated’ would indicate that for Karmi coming to a peace agreement is an undesirable situation – a chickening out, giving up. Obviously the welfare and wellbeing of the Palestinians do not enter into her concerns; she would rather they continued to live in poverty and in conflict than in peace and prosperity if it means that she has to abandon her dream of Greater Palestine. The throwaway phrase “[h]istoric Palestine will be partitioned” also gives an indication of just how deeply entrenched in revisionist history Karmi is.

“Despite such preliminaries, the indications are that Israel is not serious about a deal. Its moratorium on settlement building, which in any case excluded East Jerusalem, will end on 27 September.”

The freeze on building in Judea and Samaria has had one result: it has made the Palestinian leadership even more intransigent than before. During the past nine building-free months, this gesture of goodwill has not resulted in the Palestinian Authority sitting down to talks – it has kept them away from the negotiating table. There is, therefore, no point whatsoever in its continuation as the Israeli government, thanks to Mahmoud Abbas, cannot now come to the nation and say “See, we have made sacrifices, but we got something in return”.

“If some version of this scenario were to happen and the Palestinian side were bamboozled into agreeing, it would destroy the Palestinian cause and wreak havoc within Palestinian ranks.”

With this statement Karmi clearly indicates again that for her the ‘Palestinian cause’ has nothing to do with compromise in order to achieve peaceful co-existence, but is rooted solely in the fantasy of Palestine ‘from the river to the sea’.  She is in fact in this article chastising and even threatening those who do want to put an end to years of bloodshed, and realise that they are going to have to compromise in order to do so, because in her eyes they are selling her out. The bottom line is that she is quite prepared, from the comfort of her armchair several thousands of kilometers away, to sacrifice even more Palestinian and Israeli lives in order to realise her one-state fantasy. There is malevolence in that which is difficult to excuse.

Over the past few days, like most others in this country, I have given much thought to the victims of the terror attacks which Israel has suffered since the beginning of this latest round of peace talks. Many, if not all of us knew that the scenario of a new wave of terror was very likely to be the price paid by the Israeli people for just sitting down to hold these talks – even before anything is signed or agreed. We knew that because we have experienced the same scenario time and time again over the years, but that does not make the shock and anguish of the news of new victims any easier to stomach.  And yet this nation, with that terrible knowledge in its consciousness, still sent its representatives to the negotiation table for the simple reason that despite the tragedy and the pain we know will inevitably come, we still refuse to extinguish the little light of hope for peace that we all carry. I know of few other nations either willing or capable to make these impossible choices. I doubt whether most writers and commentators at ‘Comment is Free’ are able to even conceive what they entail.

The Guardian’s cynical provision of a platform for Ghada Karmi’s cowardly call for the continuation of the conflict and the perpetuation of years of suffering and bloodshed stands in sharp contrast to the bravery of the people of this region who really do seek peace through compromise.

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