New paradigm in Palestine
The only way forward is to go backwards -- to the UN's original plan -- and then to the General Assembly to implement a new one.
By Mahmoud Musa and Awni Sarrif
All roads to a meaningful settlement of the Arab Israeli conflict are at a dead end. Nevertheless, should two states be established in historic Palestine, bloody conflict will persist. Putting aside disputes over natural resources, Israel will remain a Zionist supremacist state with a clear arsenal that can turn the entire Middle East into an inferno, and the enclaved improvised Palestinian Arab entity cannot exist without aid from the outside world. There will be democracy for the Jewish people of Israel, with second and perhaps third class citizenships for all others.
The Palestinians, as the last twenty years have shown, will be ruled under an autocratic corrupt police state. The plight of the Palestinian refugees living outside the new Palestine will continue and their right to return totally forgotten. The Jordanian regime may collapse to become the alternate home leading to civil wars between the indigenous Jordanians and the Palestinians. It is also reasonable to assume that, in order to preserve the Jewish identity of Israel, another Nakba will befall the Israeli Arabs who may be relocated to areas in the West Bank.
There can only be one solution -- one state where Palestinians and Israelis alike are equal citizens in a nation that belongs indeed to the Middle East. Three conditions must be met for the new state to take hold: dissolving the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Hamas Government in Gaza, the rejection of Zionism by the Israelis, and the return of the Palestinian refugees. These can only be accomplished under the auspices of the United Nations (UN).
Whereas the defunct two state solution was proposed in 1947, when the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181 calling for dividing historic Palestine into two entities and for granting Jerusalem an international status, the reversal of this resolution by the Assembly is imperative. Although not legally binding, this resolution did grant legitimacy to the creation of the State of Israel. Ironically, since that resolution, there was no serious discussion concerning the establishment of two states in Palestine until the 1991 Madrid Conference and the signing of the Oslo Accords (Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements) in Washington in 1993. Except for a few euphoric, but short-lived moments, not the slightest progress has been made towards granting the Palestinians statehood, and all attempts to establish two states have failed.
We propose that neutral member states should ask the UN General Assembly to rescind Resolution 181 and to request a new resolution for the establishment of one state in historic Palestine. Although this responsibility falls under the Security Council, the constant exercise by the US of its veto power to protect Israel against condemnations and sanctions has proven the council's ineffectiveness in dealing objectively with the Arab-Israeli conflict.
At the General Assembly, each state has an equal voting right, thus lending legitimacy to passed resolutions. In its deliberations, the Assembly should also address international law and human rights violations committed by Israel, the PA, and neighbouring states against the Palestinian people, and set a course for a new beginning in the Middle East through major shifts in the paradigms that have crippled the region for decades.
A resolution for establishing one democratic state in historic Palestine will include as citizens all those who live there and all Palestinians in the Diaspora, reaffirming Palestinian refugees right to return, and acknowledging the special place that Palestine is for world Jewry. Such a resolution is supported by four facts: All attempts to establish two states have ended in failure; the Jewish and Palestinian populations are too intertwined to separate except forcibly which would constitute apartheid; the physical geography and natural resources such as water and natural gas in coastal waters make division a source of perpetual tension; it is imperative to eliminate the current legitimacy given to Israel's racist colonial system and to establish a just political culture for all.
The resolution's implementation would be the responsibility of the UN and Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. To succeed, representatives of world powers may have to serve as even-handed observers.
The international focus on the Goldstone Report elaborating Israel's alleged crimes in Gaza, and on its assault on the humanitarian aid flotilla uncover only the tip of the iceberg of Israel's violations of international law. The UN is within its rights to sanction Israel for its defiance of international laws and norms. However, although Israel is the primary offender, Lebanon (denying Palestinians minimum civilian rights), Jordan (withdrawing citizenship without due process of the law), and the PA (an autocratic police- state), should all be held accountable for gross human rights violations against the Palestinians.
While a new course should be set based on reconciliation and forgiveness, Israeli and Arab individuals charged with such war crimes and human rights violations must be prosecuted. The General Assembly should, therefore, establish an International Criminal Tribunal as a "subsidiary organ" under Article 22 of the UN Charter for this very purpose.
The proposed shift in the paradigms regarding the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, once implemented will contribute to three UN goals: peace and security of the West Asian/North African region as the new state relinquishes occupied Lebanese and Syrian territories and dismantles it nuclear arsenal; cultural, political, and economic development of the region; and equal rights of all people living on that land.
The new state will be diverse -- an amalgam of different nationalities and faiths, all with equal rights and opportunities. To the Abrahamic faiths, historic Palestine is the Holy Land. The majority of the Palestinians see themselves as Arabs; as such, the new state should have a special status in a more meaningful Arab League. The nationalistic feelings of the Jewish population that link them to fellow Jews worldwide must be recognised and upheld. The Jewish population will, however, have to reject Zionism, a racist and apartheid ideology based on 19th century European colonialist thinking which preyed on the Jewish national feelings long before the Palestinians became its victims.
The new state will bring fundamental changes in governance to the region. Democracy based on equal opportunities will begin to take hold with economic and military unions of the independent states of the region. An EU-like union of the new state, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon will enhance peace and reconciliation and will be a nucleus for a larger regional union.
There are numerous challenges ahead. They range from developing trust to rebuilding the infrastructure, the judicial, educational and social institutions; from disposing of the nuclear arsenal to dealing with the issues of confiscated lands, demolished homes and erased towns and villages. The first step, however, is to go to the UN General Assembly.
Professor Musa teaches global politics at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Internationales in Paris, and Dr Sarrif is a researcher in Middle East studies.
Abbas: A September Palestinian State or Lose World Support
by Mohamed Khodr
"Unfortunately, given Abbas’ past history of buckling under American pressure, the submission of the resolution to recognize a Palestinian State is not certain. For whatever personal, political, or financial considerations he may have, he has constantly surrendered to the decade’s long Israeli/American lie that only direct negotiations between the two parties can lead to a peace settlement, i.e. the road map to nowhere but whose ultimate aim is to buy time to completely expel all Palestinians from Palestine."
“On the 29th November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel; the General Assembly required the inhabitants of Eretz-Israel to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable.”
-- Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, May 14, 1948
“Believers are those to whom people said, "The people have gathered against you, so fear them." But that merely increased their faith and they said, "Allah is enough for us and how excellent a Guardian is He.”
-- Qur'an: 3:173
The Palestinian Authority, under Mahmoud Abbas, must immediately stop the limping and lackluster effort and present their resolution this September to the U.N. General Assembly to recognize a Palestinian State. This will be the only worthy initiative that the PA has ever adopted since its founding in which the far majority of the world is supportive.
However Abbas must first and foremost find the courage and will to sacrifice his status and future much like every Palestinian child living under the daily brutality of occupation who fearlessly faces an Israeli tank or bulldozer ready to kill him, his family, or demolish their home and farm.
Since 1967 all the Palestinians have ever asked is for a State, albeit divided between the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as their capitol, a mere 22% of their original homeland. Given the never ending “peace process” they now live on only 14% of their homeland, which is shrinking rapidly every day.
Time is of the essence for Abbas to quickly submit the resolution to the U.N. to recognize a Palestinian States regardless of the threatened Obama need Jewish re-election money Veto.
If Abbas succumbs to fear of failure and fear of American consequences than Abba Eban’s (late former Israeli Foreign Minister), dictum that the “Palestinians never lose an opportunity to lose an opportunity”, will once again prove right.
Unfortunately, given Abbas’ past history of buckling under American pressure, the submission of the resolution to recognize a Palestinian State is not certain. For whatever personal, political, or financial considerations he may have, he has constantly surrendered to the decade’s long Israeli/American lie that only direct negotiations between the two parties can lead to a peace settlement, i.e. the road map to nowhere but whose ultimate aim is to buy time to completely expel all Palestinians from Palestine.
Case in point: Abbas has previously dropped the endorsement of the Goldstone Report at the U.N. Human Rights Council that accused Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity shocking his people and the entire world. The leaked “Palestinian Papers” revealed that his government was willing to concede to all of Israel’s demands including the surrender of East Jerusalem.
How can anyone in the entire world still believe that Israel with its dominance of the U.S. Government and foreign policy actually seeks or wants peace with the Palestinians? What it seeks is all of Palestine without any Palestinians.
While the majority of the world is eager, supportive, and sympathetic to the plight of the occupied Palestinians and is willing to support such a resolution, it is the Palestinians themselves who are as of yet squabbling internally on the issue while the clock ticks down to ground zero, a point of no return for the Palestinians.
For Abbas and Palestine’s future submitting the Resolution to the General Assembly for a recognized state this September is the single most important moment of truth regarding the destiny of his people. There must be no choice, no hesitancy, and no fear of failure but to forcefully and resolutely proceed with the resolution to the U.N. to recognize a Palestinian State
(Please, consider signing this petition to urge President Obama to
recognize a Palestinian State at the United Nations. )
However if Abbas’ lives up to his usual puppetry to U.S. and Israeli pressure and forgoes this historical opportunity at the U.N., then two things will and should happen.
1. World support for the Palestinians may seriously be diminished long term with the logic that if Palestinians don’t care about their own plight and future, why should the world? Palestinian fatigue is already setting in many quarters of the western world.
1. A mass uprising of the Palestinian people must occur against their incompetent leaders in the West Bank and Gaza and hold them accountable for crimes against humanity against their own people.
What can Israel do to the Palestinians that it already hasn’t and continues to do?
Palestine’s destiny is up to its people and not for debate, discussion, and decision by foreign powers. In due time and God willing with a region wide Arab uprising overthrowing the rule of America’s tyrants it will be Israel that will sue for peace with the Arab world; having missed the opportunity for more decades.
The American philosopher William Irwin Thompson said it best when he wrote:
“If you do not create your destiny, you will have your fate inflicted upon you”
Mr. Abbas and Mr. Meshaal of Hamas, when we all meet our maker on Judgment Day, how will you explain your failure to seize this historical moment and seek recognition of a State for your people and the eventual freedom of an Independent Palestine?
Will you say you feared an American veto or another illegal settlement?
Or will Palestine remain:
“A land without leadership, for a leadership without a land.”