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Gareth Evans Peddling a Zionist Ticket to Nowhere

It’s hard to figure out what helpful strategies  Evans offered the Australian Friends of  Palestine (AFOPA) apart from shutting up about Israeli Apartheid and terminating its BDS actions.

Vacy Vlazna

Daily, the gorgeous and saintly Tony Blair looks fondly into his mirror and asks ( a rhetorical question), “Magic mirror on the wall who is the fairest and greatest and goodest of them all?”

Automatically, it replies, “You, my Tony, are the most moral leadership exemplar of all.”

But, on 1 November the mirror replied, “Tony, you are full fair blah blah, it is true, but the The Grand Lord Gareth is more erudite, more arrogant, and a more moral peacemaker than you”

After reading Gareth Evan’s speech, Buying a Ticket for Peace’ (ie buying tickets on himself) one could be forgiven for thinking the priggish Evans was primping himself (note the name dropping -Yitzhak Rabin, Kofi Annan, Vaclav Havel, Bob Hawke, Kofi Annan and Kofi Annan) for the position of Special Envoy of the Middle East Quartet, given, as he states that Blair’s contributions “can reasonably be described as having been about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.”

While true,

Evans’ speech is flawless hasbara and a preening pontification on his qualifications for the job: the sine qua non loyalties to the Zionist status quo; urging Israel’s right to exist and defend itself, sympathising with Israel the holocaust victim, promoting the fictional 2 state solution and future Israeli annexation of the illegal settlements, opposing the Palestinian right of return, denouncing accusations of Israeli apartheid, advocating the evils of BDS and Iran.

Addressing mesmerised fans from Australian Palestine solidarity at a gala dinner in Adelaide, Evans, former Attorney-General and Foreign Minister of Australia, former Head of the International Crisis Group (ICG) and Chancellor of the  Australian University, offered a grandiose crumb of righteous insistence that Australia should be on the right side of history by supporting Palestine’s bid for statehood recognition in the  UN General Assembly.

However, from this point the reasonableness of the speech deteriorated into exquisite Israeli normalisation and misinformation as in this sanitised and censored version of Palestinian history;

“THE INTENTION OF THE UN IN 1947, which was defensible in the circumstances of the time but never likely to win easy Arab support, was to accommodate both Jewish and Palestinian nationalist aspirations by creating Jewish and Arab states side by side, with new sovereign boundaries but no one physically dispossessed and full citizenship rights for the minorities that would be left in each new state. That fell apart with the terrible war of 1948 and the conflict which continued through the intervening years to erupt again in 1967.”

Nakba
Nakba

As a self-proclaimed expert on international law, Evans knows that the UN had and has no legal mandate to partition any foreign lands. Hence Arab opposition. Furthermore, it had a responsibility to fulfil its obligations to grant Palestine full independence under the still binding  Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. Evans made no mention of the Palestinian Nakba during the ‘terrible war of 1948’  wherein 750,000 Palestinians were systematically ethnically cleansed by Jewish militia nor  mentions the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Israel in the intervening years that overflow to this very day.

As for the illegal occupation and Israel’s flaunting of UN resolutions since the 1967  war preempted by Israel, Evans  didn’t hold Israel accountable. According to him, it was the  blanketing vagueness of the ‘tragedy of all the years since 1967 is that it has proved simply impossible to deliver on that [land for peace] deal.’

To counter the peace process impasse, Our Action Man energetically shook the mothballs from the 2003 Geneva Accords, a rehash of  previous unsatisfactory negotiations, partly crafted by the government and corporate funded ICG which he  headed. He would have been wiser to distance himself from it as 10 days after the signing,

More than 500 academics, civil society activists, writers, and journalists signed up to a public statement “The Reality of the ‘Geneva Accord’ ” expressing their opposition to the document that was recently signed by Israeli and Palestinian figures. The undersigned, consider this initiative as “inconsistent with the prerequisites of a just and durable peace”. (EI link below)

Evans is aware that the never-ending proliferation of Israeli colonial settlements on stolen Palestinian land breaches ‘not only of international law but of multiple agreements or agreed strategies’, so he offered a generous accommodating solution – for Israel -via the Geneva Accords:

“It is entirely possible to draw a border that allows most of the Israeli settlers to stay and gives the Palestinians a contiguous and viable state that has the same territory as that occupied in 1967.” 

Typical zionist illegal settlement
Typical zionist illegal settlement

Ever dogged, in line with Israel and its PA lackey, the speech energetically promoted the 2 state solution which sustains the defunct peace process which in turn fuels illegal settlement expansion on Palestinian land. He argued this solution has Palestinian  backing by pointing to his mate, Annan who ‘says of Yasser Arafat: “he was the leader who had brought his people to accept the idea of a two-state solution, relinquishing their claim to 78 per cent of mandate Palestine, and had signed the Oslo Accords, which recognised Israel” plus mentioning polls that show  ‘half and two thirds’ support overlooking polls like Palestine Center for Public Opinion, poll number 169, published February 1st, 2010 that showed 62% favoured a one state solution based on equality for all.

Evans, the Man with All the Answers, set out reasons for the failure to date of the  peace process including  “ the failure to support Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) in 2005, after he had won in a landslide, was the uncontested leader of all Palestinians, and in a position to sell difficult compromises;”

This is pure hasbara. Since 2006, the unelected Abbas suffered no failure of support propped up, as he is, by US and EU aid,  and his security forces that arrest, imprison and torture fellow Palestinians not of Fatah ilk are armed and trained by American military experts in Jordan. Evans, of course, would bless  Abbas’ ‘difficult compromises’, which in real terms are the attempted ‘back door deals with Israel’ exposed in the Palestine Papers;  to concede all Israeli settlements in and around East Jerusalem except Bar Homa,  giving up Sheik Jarrah, a mere 5-10,000 refugees picked by Israel  out of 5 million given the right of return, a joint committee to take over the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Another failure was the West’s refusal to engage with Hamas after it won free and fair elections in 2006. Evans implied that Hamas gave the West no choice to do other wise because  “we [ICG] summarised the Hamas response, as we found it, to be ‘let us govern or watch us fight’. This is followed by pure Evans hasbara, “Events since then have done nothing but reinforce the accuracy of that assessment” that deftly ignored the fact that the ceasefires were broken by Israel especially the one that led to Israel’s apocalyptic assault on defenceless Gazan families in 2008/9.

In the speech you cannot find one instance of true human compassion for the 64 years of suffering of the Palestinian people, yet Evans, friend of Israel, loudly beat the drum of Israeli victimhood:

If friends of Palestine really want to be helpful in finally realising the dream of a genuinely independent and viable Palestinian state, I think it is very important to cast the arguments in a way which recognises and accepts that Israel, for all the unacceptability of so much of its behaviour [what a glorious understatement!], does have legitimate interests which it is entitled to defend [oy vey poor Israel] that it does also have psychological needs, [oy vey poor Israel] born of the terrible history of the Jewish people, [oy vey poor Israel] which must be understood and somehow recognised if progress is to be made; and also that Israelis are presently feeling a little more insecure [oy vey poor Israel] now than they have for a long time in the context of the Arab Spring, with Islamists of one kind or another having a bigger role in government in a number of key regional countries [oy vey poor Israel], and the steady progress of Iran toward nuclear weapons capability (if not necessarily actual weapon manufacture). [oy vey poor Israel that hasn’t signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty]

It’s hard to figure out what helpful strategies  Evans offered the Australian Friends of  Palestine (AFOPA) apart from shutting up about Israeli Apartheid and terminating its BDS actions:

For all the frustration generated by inaction for so long, and for all that some friends of Palestine will find this unpalatable, I strongly believe and urge you to accept that just as physical violence has proved both totally unproductive, and indeed counterproductive, so too is head on political assault of the kind involved in the Zionism as Racism resolution in the UN, and the current sporadic campaign to boycott Israeli-connected businesses. [oy vey poor Israel] 

AFOPA has, for more than two years, faithfully maintained a weekly boycott campaign and protest against  the Israeli Seacret cosmetics manufactured illegally by L’Oreal’ from stolen Palestinian mineral resources in the Dead Sea.

AFOPA BDS
AFOPA BDS

Just as Blair will never shake off the IRAQ gorilla clinging to his back, Evans will always be the Indonesian Apologist who helped steal  East Timor’s oil resources. On 11 December 1989, in a plane above suffering Timor, the Australian and Indonesian foreign ministers, Gareth Evans and Ali Alitas  swilled  champagne to celebrate the signing of the  obscene Timor Gap Treaty dividing the stolen Timor gas and oil between their shameless nations.

Gareth Evans and Indonesian FM, Ali Alatas sign Timor Gap Treaty
Gareth Evans and Indonesian FM, Ali Alatas sign Timor Gap Treaty

Far below, in a death net of Indonesian military camps, outposts and checkpoints and closed to the outside world, lay what John Pilger aptly called  ‘A Land of Crosses‘  because Timor’s cemeteries  were burdened with bodies of one third of its population. The Timorese, the most impoverished people in Asia, struggled to  survive physically as well as barely surviving the daily brutalities of the genocidal occupation with its  systematic intimidation, killings, and terror.

11 months after the  signing of the treaty, over 400 young  students from high school and university were brutally massacred in Dili simply for  attending  the funeral procession of  a murdered fellow student. Evans, ever the Indonesian apologist, announced publicly the Santa Cruz Massacre  was not state policy but  an ‘aberration’ ( like calling the Deir Yassin massacre an Israeli aberration).

The aspiring peacemaker, in March 2012, at an academic conference  at the University of Melbourne, ripped the badge off a fellow  plenary speaker, Professor Stephen Zunes, cursed and threatened to punch him in the face for ‘ raising the issue of his support for the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia during its savage repression in the occupied island nation of East Timor’. (See Zunes below)

poison appleAll in all, Evans’ speech is the poisoned apple offered to the Palestinians and their supporters; seemingly rosy but laced with the bitter taste of Zionism probably concocted in Israel’s Foreign Ministry’s department of hasbara.

 

 

 

Gareth Evans, Buying A Ticket For Peace http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/buying-a-ticket-for-peace/456/

Academics, activists and writers oppose “Geneva Accord”

http://electronicintifada.net/content/academics-activists-and-writers-oppose-geneva-accord/325

Zunes, Why One of the World’s Leading Peace Advocates Threatened to Punch Me in the Face: http://www.alternet.org/story/154807/why_one_of_the_world’s_leading_peace_advocates_threatened_to_punch_me_in_the_face/?page=1

First published in Intifada Palestine  Countercurrents  Palestine Chronicle

Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters and editor of a volume of Palestinian poetry, I remember my name. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was convenor of  Australia East Timor Association and coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

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