Facts against illusions

Mustafa Barghouti
Wednesday 7 Jun 2017

When Israel and its apologists try to shift the ground for negotiations and extract concessions, they forget it is the Palestinian people that has the first and last say on a just peace

Negotiations became the cover for Israeli expansionism, raising the number of illegal settlers from 111,000 in 1993 to more than 700,000 now.

The facts dispel all illusions. But the US president did not mention, in all his speeches in front of the Arabs, the Israelis and the Palestinians, and even the Europeans, three things:

— He did not mention occupation, although we are just a few days from the 50th anniversary of what has become the longest occupation in modern human history.

— He did not mention settlement activity, which everyone acknowledges as the main obstacle to peace, even the main tool that prevents realising it, despite the fact that the pace of settlement activity increased by 37 percent since Trump won the elections.

— He did not mention Palestinian rights, whether in self-determination, independence or establishing their independent state.

He did not say a word concerning what’s called the "two-state solution," which is the firm standpoint of most of the world's countries towards what they call “the conflict in the Middle East.”

In return, Trump was generous with the Israelis with his time and standpoints when he pointed out the historical connection between Jerusalem and the Jews. He considered the connection eternal without distinguishing between East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem or referring to the rights that the Palestinians, whether Muslims or Christians, have in the city as their capital. He reiterated the continuous talk of his predecessors about protecting and supporting Israel.

Most important is what leaked about suggestions presented by some envoys:

First, overturning the Arab Peace Initiative, through which the principle of fulfilling Palestinian rights as a precondition for peace is transformed into normalisation between the Arabs and Israel before fulfilling Palestinian rights, which are unlikely to be fulfilled.

Second, renewing negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis without halting settlement activities.

Third, creating a regional framework for negotiations instead of the approved international one, which was based on international law and UN resolutions.

Fourth, adopting the Israeli vision built upon presenting some meagre economic facilities as a means to anaesthetise the Palestinians who are suffering enormously from occupation. This should be a substitute for the political solution that ensures terminating the occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state.

Fifth, and the most dangerous of them all, the return to the way of partitioning and separating final status issues and administering parallel instead of integrated negotiations with the aim of seizing Palestinian concessions in every file separately. Then attempts are made to postpone solutions for most issues and once again see partial solutions given legitimacy, as sufficient for full normalisation with Israel.

In other words, it is like reproducing a new Oslo with the same pattern of partitioning and postponing final status issues in a way that serves malicious Israeli intentions.

Sixth, attempting to replace an independent Palestinian state with cantons and reservations under the pretext that the “two-state solution” is unrealistic, where these reservations remain under the hegemony and control of Israel, militarily, economically and politically.

Seventh, continuing to exert pressure on the Palestinian side to corner it and put it on the “defensive”; one time practising pressure to stop allocations to captives and the martyrs’ families, another time through talking about so-called "incitement”, and a third time through demanding acknowledgement of Israel as a “Jewish state.”

Perhaps the worst of what we heard is when some officials equated between Israel and the Palestinians (ie between the oppressor and the oppressed) with the aim of showing moderation and false objectivity.

By the way, all of the “so-called” solutions do not convince anybody except their proponents among those flattering Israel. Most of the world's countries have grown to realise, even if they don’t declare it, that the only alternative to establishing an independent Palestinian sovereign state is an apartheid regime, which became entrenched, and the continuance of the occupation.

Consequently, this means the continuity of the Palestinian people’s resistance against this grave injustice.

Repeating talk about “peace” without clarifying its content asserts the suspicion that the intended “peace” is without freedom for the Palestinian people and without fulfilling their rights.

However, “peace” without freedom simply means “surrendering” and submissiveness. This wasn’t contained before and won’t be contained in the lexicon of the Palestinian people who have the first and last say.

The writer is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative.

Short link: