So As Not To Freeze Peace Negotiations in Closed Rooms

Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman

The international community has increasingly become convinced that the Israeli government under the leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu is responsible for blocking the path of a political settlement as a result of the expansion of colonial settlements and its refusal to negotiate based on the 1967 lines, a position which rendered the establishment of a Palestinian state an act of futility. When adding the daily humiliations of the Palestinian population at the countless Israeli checkpoints, the haphazard killings and detentions of Palestinian political activists and the frequent violations of Islamic holy sanctuaries by the colonial settlers, the required peaceful coexistence between Jews on one side and Muslim and Christian Palestinians on the other, becomes a dream impossible.

Along these lines, Nikolaos Van Dam, a former Dutch ambassador to Iraq and Egypt and an author on the Middle East eloquently said:”let us not be very naïve to expect Israel to withdraw from the Arab territories occupied in 1967 without huge pressures from the international community. Israel intended all of Palestine in order to establish a Jewish state with the least number of Palestinians in it and now the Arab Palestinians who managed to stay in 48 have become a problem in the Israeli state hindering the Jewish exclusivity in it”. He continues to say that “Israel in the early days failed to purify Palestine from its Palestinian natives who have been living there for a long time and the outside world expected a peaceful settlement between the two sides”. Van Dam then sums up the current situation saying “we have on one side Israeli negotiators, who are the occupiers, holding all the cards in their hands and the Palestinian side who has absolutely nothing to even protect their basic human rights which makes a just settlement unattainable.”

In light of the above, the necessity for a huge pressure from the international community, especially from the USA side becomes extremely vital to make Israel respect international law and to fulfill all its obligations under signed agreements. Israeli ambassador Ilan Baruch who served in South Africa said: “Diplomatic pressures applied by America and economic pressures from the European community together with the Arab Initiative would bring about a balance between the two sides to successfully conclude a long awaited peaceful settlement”. Yet, Israel has so far has been stalling, hiding behind the guise of ‘peace negotiations’ without end, in order to build more colonial settlements in the Palestinian occupied territories, thus, negating any possibility of an independent Palestinian state. Indeed, Israel has actually destroyed all bridges of confidence with the Palestinians openly revealing its colonial and racist designs to take over all of historical Palestine. The Israeli government has, so far, planted 650 thousand colonizers/’settlers’ in the West Bank including Arab Jerusalem, and built roads and railways through Palestinian lands. Prolonging negotiations that go nowhere is the present Israeli policy to fulfill its real agenda not for peace, but for a ‘piece by piece’ of annexed Palestinian lands!!!

In light of all this, it has become absolutely incumbent upon the Palestinians to develop a clear and practical strategy to defend and protect their survival on their ancestral land. The priorities cannot be missed and should start with a direct national popular peaceful resistance after careful planning and hopefully, within a Palestinian unity. Such an action is bound to enhance Palestinian steadfastness in the face of the brutal Israeli occupation which in effect intends to eliminate any Palestinian presence in historical Palestine rather than opting for a peaceful coexistence in a two-state solution. Also, Palestinians should return to the arena of the United Nations and the Security Council to seek the negotiation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, according to international legality that was crowned with countless United Nations resolutions. The Palestinian leadership can arm itself again with UN resolution No. 181 in which Palestinians rights are explicitly upheld and protected. UN resolution No. 194 which recognizes “the right of return of the Palestinians” and UN resolution No. 237 that established East Jerusalem as a Palestinian occupied territory are all resolutions which made their fulfillment by Israel  a condition for its recognition as a legitimate state member of the United Nations. In other words, the negation of Israel of all these UN resolutions will in effect negate its own legitimacy as a state as well, and Palestinians have no choice but to insist on adherence to international legality to force Israel to recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

Keeping the present peace negotiations in ‘closed rooms’ while the world is busy with other problems weakens the Palestinian side. Addressing the United Nations various organs to fulfill these UN resolutions while the negotiations take place will strengthen the Palestinian side. The current peace negotiations have been imposed by the USA on the Palestinian leadership, yet the Palestinian leaders need to do more to gain strength. While the negotiators sit as ‘observers’ or ‘enhancers’, Palestinians are losing more land in the midst of the vastest Israeli colonial expansion. Once more, without a mass popular Palestinian resistance that is well planned and financially supported, without an international Palestinian strategy utilizing international legality and in the absence of Palestinian unity, the negotiating Palestinian side will always be under the mercy of the Israeli side which in reality they lack. The Judaization of all historical Palestine is the intended Zionist state agenda Israel seeks to accomplish even through peace negotiations having no end!!