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The Meaning of the Arab Spring for Palestinian Rights: An Interview With Norman Finkelstein

Middle East

The Arab Spring started out auspiciously, now its undergoing a retreat. As to its impact on Palestine, actually it completely bypassed Palestine. It has had an impact on the Israel-Palestine because of the new role being played by Egypt and Turkey: the U.S. has to take them into account in anything it does or doesn’t do. This puts limitations, checks, on what Israel can do. Concretely it means Israel could not repeat what it did in 2008-2009, Operation Cast Lead, which was just a sustained massacre of the Palestinian people and indiscriminate destruction of the civilian infrastructure. Both Turkey and Egypt conveyed to Washington that they would not stand idly by if Israel undertook another Operation Cast Lead.

An Interview With Norman Finkelstein: The Meaning of the Arab Spring for Palestinian Rights

by KEN KLIPPENSTEIN
CounterPunch
January 4-6, 2013

Ken Klippenstein: What do you think the significance of the Arab Spring was to Palestinian rights?

Norman Finkelstein: It’s still a work in progress. The results seemed more encouraging in the initial phase than they are currently. Maybe the current phase will pass into something better, but the current phase I would say that, if we can use the expression ‘democracy,’ democracy is on the retreat now. The reactionary axis of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, backed of course by the U.S., is now engaging in a successful push-back. Events in Egypt have not been encouraging or auspicious in recent months. Right now Qatar is pouring lots of money into the Muslim Brotherhood, and that’s not going to be a good thing. In Syria, what started out as a continuation of the Arab Spring with nonviolent protests, to bring down the Bashar dictatorship, has now deteriorated into what some people call a civil war. I don’t think it’s much of a civil war because I don’t think the internal population has much say any longer in what’s going on. It’s turned into a proxy war, with a large number of regional and global powers, including, regionally, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Iran having a dirty hand in what’s going on. And then Russia on one side, the U.S. on the other, having probably the most significant hand in what’s going on. And then there are of course the British and the French. So Syria as of now has no positive outcomes discernable; everything that might happen is pretty much a disaster.

The Arab Spring started out auspiciously, now its undergoing a retreat. As to its impact on Palestine, actually it completely bypassed Palestine. It has had an impact on the Israel-Palestine because of the new role being played by Egypt and Turkey: the U.S. has to take them into account in anything it does or doesn’t do. This puts limitations, checks, on what Israel can do. Concretely it means Israel could not repeat what it did in 2008-2009, Operation Cast Lead, which was just a sustained massacre of the Palestinian people and indiscriminate destruction of the civilian infrastructure. Both Turkey and Egypt conveyed to Washington that they would not stand idly by if Israel undertook another Operation Cast Lead. And so this new Israeli “operation” was more limited and in they end they weren’t able to prevail militarily, and effectively the Palestinians, or in this case the people of Gaza, defeated the aims of the Israeli operation. So in that respect the Arab Spring has had a positive impact on the Israel-Palestine conflict. But in terms of actually ending the occupation, mobilizing the Palestinian people to engage in mass actions such as what happened in Egypt, the Arab Spring passed them by. There are a combination of reasons: mostly because of the despondency and despair of Palestinians to be able to collectively change or improve their situation; also because of the repressive security that Israel has instituted via the Palestinian Authority; and that combined with what’s probably the most salient factor, that there’s no unified leadership of the Palestinians, and in fact there’s no leadership whatever of the Palestinians.

KK: What role do you think the Postwar United States played in the establishment of the Israeli state? What do you think the U.S. planners’ motives might have been?

NF: There’s a huge amount of scholarly literature on the matter. I went through that scholarly literature when I wrote the book Knowing Too Much, and I devote a significant amount of space to try to disabuse people of illusions in that score.

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The Meaning of the Arab Spring for Palestinian Rights: An Interview With Norman Finkelstein | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
The Meaning of the Arab Spring for Palestinian Rights: An Interview With Norman Finkelstein
Authored by: nali on Monday, January 07 2013 @ 05:22 AM CST

 I wonder why infoshop.org distribute the "wisdom" of radical Zionists. If you are not sure what creature is the "radical Zionists" you can concider they are not a principal opponent of the Zionist settler colonialist project that robbed in 1948 75% of Palestine and made millions of refugees. 
Such radical Zionists are only for a poor compromise with the Palestinian political elite so the Zionism will not be defeated or have to share the spoils acummulated so far equally with the Palestinian people.

The Meaning of the Arab Spring for Palestinian Rights: An Interview With Norman Finkelstein
Authored by: ArchStanton on Saturday, January 12 2013 @ 02:39 PM CST

Okay, I'll bite. How is Finkelstein a "radical zionist?" Like exactly?

The Meaning of the Arab Spring for Palestinian Rights: An Interview With Norman Finkelstein
Authored by: Admin on Monday, January 14 2013 @ 11:33 PM CST

I've read one of Finkelstein's books and quite a few of his articles. He's one of the last people I'd characterize as a Zionist of any kind.

Chuck