Fez - For zionists who view all of historic Palestine as their God-given land, there is no room for a reasonable settlement to the dispute over the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza, for they believe that they are simply a biblical real estate endowment for the Jewish people, notwithstanding international law and UN resolutions. Their religiously-based argument, coupled with the ongoing Israeli onslaught on Gaza, convinces me more than ever that it will be virtually impossible to achieve peace in the Middle East and that the establishment of a Palestinian state, side by side with Israel, remains wishful thinking at best.
Fez – For zionists who view all of historic Palestine as their God-given land, there is no room for a reasonable settlement to the dispute over the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza, for they believe that they are simply a biblical real estate endowment for the Jewish people, notwithstanding international law and UN resolutions. Their religiously-based argument, coupled with the ongoing Israeli onslaught on Gaza, convinces me more than ever that it will be virtually impossible to achieve peace in the Middle East and that the establishment of a Palestinian state, side by side with Israel, remains wishful thinking at best.
How can it be otherwise when the balance of power is in favor of Israel and its Western supporters, chief of which is the United States, along with the United Kingdom and the European Union? No matter what Israeli leaders do and no matter how horrible are the crimes they commit against the Palestinian people, they know beforehand that they have an international carte blanche and the so-called international community will do nothing to compel them to abide by international law, nor by international humanitarian law, nor respect its commitments towards the Palestinians.
A dysfunctional UN that turned into a statement-making machine
Every time there is an escalation of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, people call upon the United Nations to shoulder its responsibility to preserve international peace and security and protect the Palestinians. However, the Security Council, the main UN body entrusted with preserving international peace and security, is crippled by the veto power and control by countries that show unwavering support to Israel. Is it possible that the US will ever condemn the barbaric acts committed by the Israeli army against Palestinian children, women, and the elderly?
Let’s be realistic, the meetings held every now and then by the Security Council or by other UN entities concerning the situation in Gaza or in the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, are served up at best for media consumption, and for maintaining the status quo, whuch is only beneficial to Israel and allows it more time to build more illegal settlements.
Nothing concrete is done to protect the Palestinians or to protect and preserve their inalienable rights, nor is Israel held accountable for the war crimes and war against humanity it continually perpetrates against the Palestinians.
Washington and other Western countries, don’t show any sympathy or concern for the plight of the Palestinians. Instead they keep putting the blame on Hamas and label it as the main culprit in the death of the civilians who elected it.
The cowardly and outrageous leniency of the “international community”in applying the norms of international law to Israel is based on inaccurate and erroneous propaganda that Israelis are the victims of the “extremism and terrorism of Palestinians,” and that Israelis are just “defending themselves.”
Through a powerful corporate media that virtually always sympathizes with Israel and refrains from objectively criticizing its apartheid-like policies, the world’s public opinion has been saturated with the false narrative that Israel and the Palestinians are on an equal footing as fairly matched combatants.
The Bias of Western media
In addition to ignoring the indisputable fact that Israel is not openly occupying, but colonizing a territory in violation of international law and countless UN resolutions, those influencing public opinion claim that Hamas has been inflicting significant damage on Israel. Yet notwithstanding the skewed manner in which American and European media depict this festering conflict, reinforcing the lie that Israelis are defending themselves against Palestinian “terrorists,” these claims cannot withstand objective scrutiny.
Israel has been besieging and terrorizing the Palestinian people in the Gaza for the past 7 years with total impunity, while benefiting from the complicity of an undemocratic and ineffective United Nations.
While Israel claims that Hamas is terrorizing the Jewish population, the facts on the ground prove otherwise. Since the start of the recent escalation on July 8, 2014, at least 620 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli attacks, including children, women and the elderly, while more than 4,000have been injured. 120 people, most of whom are non-combatant civilians, were killed in Shujayea just on Sunday, while more than 300 were wounded.
In spite of all the daily damage and fatalities inflicted by Israel against the Palestinian civilian population, the international community (i.e, the five permanent members of the security Council) still insist on calling on the Palestinians to resume negotiations with the Israeli occupation authorities, with the view, as they say, to reaching a two-state solution.
The biased statements in the UN Security Council by the American, the British Representatives, and the French representative or the UN Secretary General, would lead one to believe that Israel is the victim and the Palestinians are the aggressors. These same voices call on the Palestinians to resume direct talks with the Israelis, knowing very well that Israel continues, among other things, to construct illegal settlements aimed at undermining any future continuous or contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.
A UN Secretary that fails to live up its moral responsibility
I was shocked by the statement made by Ban ki-moon during the extraordinary meeting held by the Security Council on July 10th. Instead of shouldering his moral responsibility and being unequivocal in condemning the systematic crimes committed by Israel against the civilian population in Gaza, he simply treated Hamas on an equal footing with Israel, the occupying power, and called upon it to stop firing its rockets on Israel.
More still, while he expressed no condemnation whatsoever of Israeli indiscriminate air strikes against defenseless civilians, he pointed out that he had repeatedly condemned Hamas’s launching of rockets into Gaza, describing the Israeli response as “tough.”
“I have consistently condemned indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. At the same time, the excessive use of force and endangering of civilian lives are also intolerable,”Ban ki-moon said.
While adopting this position, Ki-Moon seems to have forgotten that Israel is the only country in the world that apparently is above international law, although the only aggressor that is committing war crimes against the Palestinians. These were the findings of the United Nations fact-finding mission on Gaza, which concluded that the Israeli onslaught on Palestinians in December 2008-January 2009 amounted to “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity.”
“We came to the conclusion, on the basis of the facts we found, that there was strong evidence to establish that numerous serious violations of international law, both humanitarian law and human rights law, were committed by Israel during the military operations in Gaza,”the head of the mission, Justice Richard Goldstone, told the press in September 2009. “The mission concluded that actions amounting to war crimes and possibly, in some respects, crimes against humanity, were committed by the Israel Defense Force (IDF),”he said.
Should we expect the UN to live up to its moral duty?
After nearly two decades following the Oslo Agreement and Israel’s lip service paid to establishing peace, Israel continues to pursue its settlement policies in the West Bank and continues its aggression against the civilian population. The question that every sane, honest and peace-loving individual must ask is how can we ensure the success of negotiations, if any, in light of the heinous crimes committed by Israel against unarmed Palestinian non-combatants?
We must also question the inability of the Security Council to compel Israel to comply with international law and the relevant UN Resolutions regarding peace in the Middle East. On what solid foundation can these negotiations be built? How can the negotiations bear fruit while Israel is still holding thousands of detainees and subjecting them to harsh and unfair conditions? How can one speak of building confidence between the Palestinians and Israelis when Israel continues to impose an inhumane, suffocating, and illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip?
I leave it up to the readers to wonder if we can still talk about peace talks and confidence-building with the Israelis in light of the decades long subjugation of the Palestinian people. As far as I am concerned, I am more convinced than ever that peace will not be achieved with the Israelis in the present climate of international laissez-faire, and that the two-state solution is a mirage that will never materialize into reality.
Time for Arabs to take the Peace Initiative off the table
12 years have elapsed since Arab countries presented the Arab Peace initiative, which was intended to be a tradeoff between Israel and the Arab nations. The latter showed their readiness to normalize relations with Israel, in exchange for its withdrawal from the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, and the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland.
But all they have gotten so far is more arrogance from Israel, more suffering inflicted on the Palestinians, and more illegal settlements in the occupied territory, rendering the two-state solution a chimera. The atrocities get worse and the oppression continues, but Israel is never held to account.
The time has come for Arab countries take this initiative off the table and urge the international community to put an end to its hypocrisy when it comes to Israel. On what basis can the Palestinians negotiate with a government that is above international law and acts in total disregard of the relevant United Nations resolutions?
A return to negotiations cannot bear fruit when on the other side of the table is a party that has never and, without being forced to, will never respect its commitments. None of the agreements reached since the 1993 Oslo Accord has been respected by the State of Israel. The policy of giving many concessions to the Israelis in return for insignificant gains, has led to a total failure and has only helped the Israeli governments over the years to buy time, prevent the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, and obliterate the Arab identity of Jerusalem.
This is not a war among two sovereign states. It is a war between an oppressor and the oppressed. Palestinian representative after Palestinian representative have been marginalized as “terrorist” organizations. Hamas has nothing to lose and nothing to gain under the present scenario, while the Palestinian people have run out of hope. Unless Israel is forced by the powers that are currently supporting it to live up to its commitments under international law — both humanitarian/human rights law and the law of war — nothing will change.
Arab countries have the moral duty to leverage their economic influence in many Western countries to push those governments to break away from their unconditional support of Israel and their total disregard of the plight of the Palestinian people. A ceasefire is not what the Palestinian people need, what they need is an end of the occupation, an end of the illegal settlements, and an end of the illegal and inhumane siege being inflicted right now on the Gaza population.
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