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Prosecute Israel – or let the people decide

Prosecute Israel – or let the people decide

by Jamal Kanj
November 22, 2014

Following the historical recognition of Palestine as a state by the Swedish government, British legislators voted overwhelmingly on a non-binding resolution urging their government also to recognise the state of Palestine.

Ireland’s Seanad, or upper house of the legislature, and Spain’s parliament passed similar motions on 22 October and 18 November respectively.

Sweden, the home of the Nobel Peace Prize, has positioned itself in the forefront of European nations who, in time, will most likely follow in its footsteps and recognise the state of Palestine.

On the other side of the English Channel the government of David Cameron has a unique opportunity to heed British legislators and rectify in a small way Britain’s historical sin when its mandate power transformed Palestine from a nation of over 90 per cent Muslim and Christian majority into a new transplanted Jewish majority.

France’s National Assembly has scheduled a resolution to recognise the state of Palestine for 28 November. The vote will take place almost 67 years to the day when 33 countries, mostly vassal states, passed a UN resolution in 1947 to divide Palestine between its original inhabitants and Jewish immigrants.

The Israeli ambassador to Ireland protested against the European recognitions, calling them “stunt gestures” that provide an excuse to Palestinians “who hope to achieve their goals without talking directly with Israel’”.

Unless the Israeli ambassador was addressing an extraterrestrial horde, everyone on this planet knows that Palestinians have been “talking directly with Israel” for at least 23 years. Starting in 1991 at the Madrid talks and 24 years after Israel occupied the West Bank, Palestinians and Israelis have spent about one year of talking for every year of occupation.

If Israel genuinely believes that talking is the best approach, why wouldn’t it give the international community a chance to talk more with Iran instead of sanctions and the threat of war?

Iran and the P5+1 [the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany] have talked for less than one-seventh of the time Palestinians have spent talking to Israel. While negotiations with Iran were conducted under a strict sanction regime, Israel used talking to create Jewish facts on the ground, rendering it impossible to establish a viable Palestinian state.

Israeli leaders talk in vague terms about a two-state solution; however, successive Israeli governments have refused to spell out clearly the geographic location of such a state. In fact, many Israeli leaders have advocated the nation that Palestine is Jordan.

According to David Horowitz of the Times of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu had made it explicitly clear that he could “never, ever, countenance a full sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank’”.

Just days after American, Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli leaders met in Jordan to reduce current tension in Jerusalem, Israel issued new permits to build more Jews-only homes and Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister, declared: “We won’t accept any limitation on building” in occupied East Jerusalem.

Washington reiterated, academically, its “unequivocal” opposition to new colonies in East Jerusalem. Interestingly, while appeasing the Palestinian Authority (PA) with lip services, the US on the other hand provides Israel with the financial means and the political protection to do the very things it “unequivocally” condemns.

With Sweden’s domino effect, and the pending resolution before the UN Security Council to set a timetable to end the Israeli occupation, the onus remains on the PA to push further and request the International Criminal Court (ICC) to adjudicate on Israeli violations of international law.

Two years ago, the PA fumbled the UN recognition when it delayed joining the ICC and used that small victory as a cover to justify a return to the endless and aimless negotiations.

The PA should understand that recent international recognition is no cause for another pause. Small successes are effective only if they are used as part of a continuum towards achieving holistic objectives.

The PA must thrust forward to translate recognition into a reality or allow the Palestinian people to “negotiate” with Israel. There isn’t much to lose – except Israeli-issued VIP passes for PA officials.


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