It's been a while since I wrote about Palestine. This is not for lack of concern at the slow near-death experience that Palestine is undergoing as a nation, under the watchful yet uncaring eyes of the rest of the world. It is partly out of a sense that there is no light to be found amidst the encircling gloom. The sadness of dying hope, represented by the spectacle of Palestinians killing each other, juxtaposed with the crowing delight of those inflicting the humiliation and torture (Dov Weisglas's hoping that the Palestinians would turn into Finns, his putting them on a diet, and other witticisms) is altogether too painful to watch.
But hang on! I know the comparison is fraught with risk of being misleading because of the very different motivations and circumstances, but what happened during the much less violent Indian independence movement? Didn't the British try and suppress it with the help of Indian policemen? Were not the Indian elite at the time - the Lords and Ladies and Sirs, never mind the Rai Bahadurs and District Magistrates and other titles and appointments of distinction - equally complicit in strengthening the sinews of empire?
So the Israelis too need their own friendly Palestinians to administer their occupation. That was the whole point of Oslo, not to give Palestinians their own state under the UN resolutions of 1967. And now in Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad , they think they have their men. If they can somehow dowse the flames of Palestinian nationalism, then they can take care of that other "existential threat" - Iran. Didn't its President already declare his determination to wipe Israel off the map? (Actually, no, but who cares, when the Goebbelsian formula of tireless repetition seems to be working so well?) That's the message of the witty Weisglas again.
But the fact that some Palestinians are disposed to run a Vichy-like government under Israeli management tells us as little about the death of Palestinian aspirations as the two hundred year collaboration of Indians with the British told us about the prospect of Indian independence. (Of course, some would say - I would - that it's precisely because of the two hundred year partnership in our own oppression have we failed to entirely disinherit ourselves of the oppressive apparatus of empire. The government of India rules the Indian people with the same institutions and laws, with the almost same sense of arrogant superiority as the British ruled us, NOT with a sense of being the servants of a democratic republic accountable to the people. But I digress.)
So once the Palestinians have been lobotomized, pacified, hunted down, and the last embers of their resistance to Israeli occupation extinguished to the satisfaction of the triumphalist Weisglases of Israel, what will Israel do? Virginia Tilley's answer to this question, written almost a year ago, is still worth reading in its entirety for its passionate denunciation of Israel's slow genocide of the Palestinians. The question with which she ends her philippic is still being ignored by the "civilized" world.