What is the relation between the Middle East peace process and the ongoing negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government? In what sense, and for what purpose, can such negotiations be deliberated as a shelter for the end of the (Arab-Palestinian)-Israeli conflict? In other words, what we are talking about doesn’t make sense and has brought neither peace nor stability to the region. It is not difficult to answer this essential question. If we ask a Palestinian pupil in an elementary school, his answer will be, “nothing, they are irrelevant."
Early this month, the International Association for Political Science Students (IAPSS) invited me for its first IAPSS World Congress 2014. One panel was planned to debate the peace process and the current negotiations with an Israeli academic. Although, he was not a political expert, yet, he is a politically active and a PhD researcher in a related field.
One day before our debate, the committee called us to meet and set the agenda, in an effort to avoiding any conflict during the session, we agreed to refrain from scratching and digging back into history in the sense of who are the indigenous people of Palestine's land. I am neither a theologist nor a historian; however, I know more or less as any political scientist or expert from that region. We both accepted the agreement as academics who would stick to scientific facts and findings.
As soon as the first question from the panel's chair was placed, Ellai, the Israeli panelist, immediately started to verbalize about Jews' right to Palestine and holy land. I averted and still refrain discussing it since it has no scientific evidence other than some beliefs. Ellai speaks for what Israel has been doing for the last 20 years of the peace process; denial and nullification of any previous understandings.
Nine months ago, the failed negotiations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel started. It started in hope to find a fair solution for the Middle East conflict. According to this understanding, Israel must freeze settlement's expansion in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem and to free hundreds of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. In April 2014, the number of the Palestinian prisoners is 4224, including 183 administrative detainee, 21 woman and 210 children. However, Israel has not committed itself to that. In January 2014, Netanyahu’s government has issued tenders for the building of 1,877 settlement units in the West Bank and Jerusalem. In April, they issued another tender for new 700 settlements unit. Not only did the Israeli government continue to build settlements, but also refused to release the 29 Palestinian prisoners agreed to release on July 2013. Israel is like Dr. Ellai, has disavowed the mutual understandings with the Palestinian Authority moderated by the American administration and John Kerry, personally.
I believe that the so-called peace process is like capitalist markets. It is based on supply and demand theory. It denies the poor their rights (the 99%) and maximizes the wealth of the rich. The PA's leadership seeks international legitimacy and donor’s money, sustaining its quasi-entity, maximizing the wealth, privileges and the highly paid salaries of the political elites of PLO and the PA. Beyond, increasing the wealth of their families too, who own main businesses and private economy, which benefit from the survival of the PA.
Netanyahu, and his right-wing coalitions are keen on annex more of the West Bank territory, fostering their government’s life by gaining internal legitimacy. This whole process does not consider the genuine need of the vast majority of Palestinians. Israelis are rejoicing in their lives on the expenses of the Palestinians' lives and dignity. That’s why the PA and Israel may agree to extend the current negotiations based on this political equation, 20-years-long process.
Last July, I wrote an article, refuting any optimism or hope that may come out of resuming negotiations. I proposed that both Palestinians and Israeli must start looking for new political tools to coexist in one-state. This unfruitful process is robbing the Palestinians and illegitimating Israel on the long run. Let's admit it; Israel will not allow a viable and independent Palestinian state. What is on the ground is one state with two systems. Israel is commanding all means of life in the West Bank(including the occupied Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip.
The Gaza Strip is surrounded by Israeli military, isolating it from the rest of the world. The occupation forces must be well-informed when the Palestinian president wants to move from one city to another or travel abroad. The Palestinians and Israeli use the same currency (The Palestinians has the Palestinian Pound in pre-1948 Palestine). Israel collects taxation from the Palestinians. The Palestinian must use Israel’s ports to import or export any goods (Israel has been reducing the Palestinians exports). However, the Palestinians are not allowed to travel from Israeli airports or to use Jew-only infrastructure. Currently, there are around half-million Jews living in illegal settlements in the West Bank and more than one million and two hundred thousand indigenous Palestinians living in Israel. Israel has been segregating the two populations (also dividing the Palestinians into four categories) and infrastructure in an awful way that undermines any hope for successful two-state solutions.
So, what is the solution? How could the public possibly and not the governments (USA, EU and the rest of the world) act to force the state of Israel to stop abusing human rights and ethnically cleansing the Palestinians?
Israel is an apartheid state. Citizens of the world must regard Israel as they handled South Africa during the apartheid regime. Sanctioning and boycotting Israel is the only way to wake up the Israeli who lives in Tel Aviv on the expenses of the Palestinians' basic human rights. The cost of occupation must be expensive enough that the government of Israel cannot afford to sustain its occupation and segregation of the Palestinians.
As a Palestinian, I will never stop thinking of Jaffa, Haifa, Acre, Nazareth and the rest of the Palestinian cities. It is part of my memories and heritage. The Palestinians offered Israel the opportunity to peace in 1993, they accepted 22% of historical Palestine, in condition to have an independent state in 1999. Nowadays, nothing left from Oslo and peace process except more malaises to the Palestinians.
Therefore, as a Palestinian, I am denouncing Oslo accord, going back to the first corner; Palestine’s borders are on its pre-1948 borders. The Palestinians must negotiate Accordingly.
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