Wednesday, March 31, 2010

British imperialism and Israel/Palestine

A good article at OpenDemocracy on the afterlife of British colonialism in the Israel/Palestine conflict: Forgotten lessons: Palestine and the British empire, by James Renton.

Extract:
The assumption that state-sponsored violence followed by agreements between political elites can make peace lives on to this day. It betrays the old assumptions of British colonialism — that a reputation for being firm must be maintained at all costs, that colonial state violence prevents future anti-colonial violence, and that peace can be achieved by elites re-drawing maps, and making constitutional agreements.
The British government did not understand, nor did they want to understand, the concerns of the average Palestinian. Neither did they comprehend the post-holocaust sensibilities of rank and file Zionist Jews. But suffering cannot be undone by academic agreements crafted by politicians and officials. And it is precisely the experiences and expectations of regular people, be they Palestinian or Israeli, that will make or break peace in the long-term.

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