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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Democratic occupation?

Neve Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. He explains today how Israel perfectly explains the Bush administration policy in Iraq. Gordon discusses the ideology behind colonial-minded governments offering the illusions of democratic elections while fundamentally operating to control and manage that country's natural resources:

"First, like Israel, the United States has made a distinction between the occupied inhabitants and their resources. The Bush administration's idea is to allow the Iraqis to manage themselves and in this way to cut the cost of the occupation while at the same time continuing to control the rich oil fields. The important question now is which U.S. corporations will profit most from the expected 200 percent increase in Iraqi oil production - from 2.1 million to 6 million barrels a day."

"Second, whereas Israel was certainly not the first country to stage elections in an occupied context, it was the first power to reintroduce this practice in a post-colonial age so as to legitimize an ongoing occupation. The Bush administration found this strategy useful because it fits extremely well with the narrative about "spreading freedom" to the Middle East."

Jeff Halper is the coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. "A Palestinian Prison State" explains the likely effects of the upcoming Israeli Gaza withdrawal. The Palestinians will be asked to accept Israel's generosity while seeing themselves surrounded by Jewish settlements. "It will be a new apartheid", Halper writes.


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