The Palestinian statehood bid has opened up a Pandora’s Box of possibilities and dangers which has led to differing opinions, even from eminent lawyers, about whether such a bid will benefit the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom and independence.
The primary obstacle to peace is not the vote at the U.N. on September 20, but rather Israel's inability to come to terms with the establishment of the state of Palestine. Here are a few reasons why.
First, ever since Israel belligerently occupied the remnants of historic Palestine in 1967 - the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem - its sole goal has been to colonise every possible skerrick of land with what now amounts to more than half a million Jews from all over the world. This has been a deliberate continuation of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that had already begun in the early 1900s.
Second, the state of Israel, supported by Diaspora Jewry sympathetic to the Zionist enterprise, have in a sustained and relentless campaign, continued to deny the crimes that lead to the creation of Israel - namely the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe) in which the majority population - over 750,000 Palestinians - were driven from their indigenous lands.
Third, while purporting that it is committed to peace, Israel's historical and present actions certainly paint a different picture. The supposed offers by Barak in 2001 and Olmert in 2008 have been disproven as mere attempts to once again paint the Palestinians as the rejectionists, when in fact those intimately involved from the Israeli side have themselves stated, on the record, that if they had been presented with what the Palestinians were offered, they too would have walked away from the shoddy deals.
Fourth, the current government of Israel, which is lead by Likud, the party of Benjamin Netanyahu, is committed to destroying any prospects of peace, despite its recent machinations claiming to support a two-state solution. A cursory analysis of Likud’s political charter offer the following interesting facts:
On Self-Rule: 'The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an Independent and sovereign state.'
On Jerusalem: 'Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only Israel.'
On Settlements: 'The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.'
The charter ends by saying that the 'declaration of a state' is a 'unilateral' act. How this can possibly be any more an act of unilateralism than the settlements, home demolitions, the illegal blockage of Gaza, land expropriation (under the guise of security), the continued construction of the apartheid wall, defiance of countless aspects of international and humanitarian law and the ongoing detention of over 300 Palestinian children (almost all without charge) is incomprehensible.
Fifth, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel has documented some 30 basic laws that deliberately discriminate between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. These laws cover employment, housing and education. Three of the most fundamental aspects of a civilised and democratic society, amongst many others, that clearly expose the institutionalised apartheid that exists in Israel today.
In principle, a sovereign Palestine is the ideal conclusion to the Palestine/Israel impasse, however, Israel’s ongoing denial of the Palestinians’ most basic human rights remains at the core of the conflict. There are no guarantees that those rights will be addressed by simply declaring a state. Yet, it seems that the number of countries required for a successful ‘yes’ vote at the U.N. has been all but reached.
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