What will change for Palestinians after Israeli elections?

Haitham Ahmed , Tuesday 17 Sep 2019

Palestinians see Israeli politicians of all stripes racing against time to end their cause. The only solution is Palestinian national unity, writes Haitham Ahmed

 Israeli election
Traffic drives past an Israeli election billboard for the Likud party, showing US President Donald Trump (L) shaking hands with Likud chairman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on September 16, 2019 AFP

Palestinian analysts argue — and claim the fact is known on all sides — that whoever comes to power in Israel shares the same goals, albeit their methods, timing and priorities might differ. They say all Israeli politicians believe in a Jewish state and expanding settlements, and argue that tomorrow will be just as bleak for Palestinians as today.

They add that the noose is tightening around the Palestinian cause. Also, that the occupation state, represented by the radical racist right, has diffused into most if not all of Israeli society, and aims to obliterate the cause of the Palestinian people and realise the Zionist dream of a “Greater Israel” from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Alaa Rimawi, an analyst, said the agencies of the occupation state will continue to plot to annex settlements, the Jordan Valley region, the north of the Dead Sea, continue Judaicisation of Jerusalem, demolish the homes of Palestinians, confiscate their land and legitimise settlement outposts built on Palestinian land in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

“The US administration under President Donald Trump and his entourage of Zionists claim that annexing the valley and north of the Dead Sea, and giving Israel sovereignty over settlements, will not hinder the process they call peace,” Rimawi said. “It has also taken decisions prior and since recognising Jerusalem as the capital of the occupation state, moved the US embassy there, cracked down on UNRWA to dismantle it, and sabotaged the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes from which they were expelled in 1948 and 1967.”

He explained that these measures, decisions and actions aim to dissolve the cause of the Palestinian people and take advantage of internal Palestinian rifts, as well as the Arab and Islamic condition. “They are in a race against time to implement their plot which is as clear as daylight for the youngest of Palestinians to the greatest of world powers that do nothing more than issue worthless statements of condemnation and protest. The occupation state could care less about these statements since the world community deals with Israel as if it were above international law.”

Rimawi continued that while the Palestinian cause is under serious threat, the Palestinian domestic scene is abysmal and plays into the hands of the occupation and its supporters. “The national duty of the Palestinian leadership and all factions is to move quickly on all fronts to confront this assault led by the occupation state supported by the US,” Rimawi declared.

He noted that the first item on the agenda should be to end serious internal divisions that the occupation is taking advantage of and is working to deepen further, as stated by several Israeli officials, most notably Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who has repeatedly said that he is not only interested in continuing inter-Palestinian division but is fanning its flames to arrive to a full separation of Gaza from the West Bank. That would prevent the creation of a Palestinian state that the Palestinians and world governments are calling for based on a two-state solution for two peoples.

Ibrahim Daebes, a writer, said: “For 20 years our rhetoric has not changed, but they have expanded settlements and said there is no return to the 1967 borders. They are not only plotting to keep settlements where they are, but also to expand them and annex them to Israel with the [Jordan] Valley and north Dead Sea. As Palestinians, all we do is repeat and regurgitate rhetoric while they are transforming their words into action. We are losing land every day and the rights of the Palestinian people are diminishing with time. Jerusalem is surrounded by settlements, Judaicisation, confiscation of land, displacing citizens, while settlements increase and expand. Threats to annex the land are gaining momentum, while we continue to merely repeat the same phrases and warnings.”

Daebesnoted that leaders are sitting on the ruins of what they have created as division dominates politics, and the people continue to suffer despite their resilience and persistence in holding onto their land and rights. He urged leaders from across the political spectrum to awaken and re-evaluate the situation clearly and honestly, and take the necessary decisions.

“Israel’s expansionist ambitions have destroyed everything,” he said. “When [Yitzhak] Rabin was assassinated, the Oslo dream was shattered and the radical right-wing in Israel took traction. We demanded a two-state solution beginning with “Gaza and Jericho First”, but today it may be appropriate and even necessary to return to a one-state option for both of us, because that is what they are working towards. Nothing is stopping them except the presence of our population and the millions who remain on the land, and our population is increasing faster than theirs.”

Daebesargued that if it wasn’t for the large Palestinian population in the West Bank, Israel would have annexed it some time ago. A fast-growing Palestinian population was one of Ariel Sharon’s concerns, which is why he withdrew from Gaza and focused on separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. “It is happening today, but not at the hands of Sharon and his proteges, but by our own hands and decisions,” Daebes said.

Daebesasserted if Gaza and the West Bank united and raised the banner of a single state this would be a real threat to Israel that it cannot ignore. “As long as the status quo continues among Palestinians, we will be easy prey to their ambitions and expansionist dreams,” he said. “We see this as Israeli elections draw near and their statements become more arrogant and daring.”

Another writer, Awad Abdel-Fattah, stated: “Under all circumstances, we are facing a blatant colonial settlement regime implementing a vicious policy from behind a sly and malicious mask. We must reassess the situation based on the classic colonialism model, and derive relevant concepts, mechanisms of action, change and influence.”

Abdel-Fattah believes that real strategic political impact could come from an official announcement about reorganising the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, including amending the constitution and decision making so it rests on a simple majority. Also, immediately creating a National Fund which is the foundation for the construction strategy. He also suggested confronting the bloodthirsty campaigns of incitement against Arabs, and pragmatically opposing policies of destroying Arab homes, usurping their land, impoverishing them, imposing school curricula on Arab schools and seizing back their daily and national rights. Also, budgeting for developing an economy of production while fighting occupation, settlements, Judaicisation, the siege on Gaza, the racist walls, oppression and wars.

“This means replacing the lame slogan of ‘co-existence’ with ‘joint resistance’ for the sake of co-existence based on equality, justice and value of liberty,” he said.

Abdel-Fattah added that the Palestinian Authority and PLO, the only legitimate representatives of the Palestinians led by President Mahmoud Abbas, have and continue to extend their hand for a just peace that meets the national and legitimate rights of Palestinians based on international resolutions, so that Palestinians and Israelis can live in peace and mutual respect. “To be clear, we are not calling for the obliteration of the Jewish people, and the Jewish people cannot obliterate the Palestinian people,” he said.

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