Who will mediate the ‘Question of Palestine’

Opinion
Palestine Update  99

Who will mediate the ‘Question of Palestine’

The US not only sounded the death-knell of the peace process when it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It also blew its own credibility as honest broker- which, in any case, it never was. So what’s ahead for peace between Palestine and Israel? There is little that Palestinians can surrender to appease Israeli insatiability and hegemonic designs. Israel wants everything and more. It deems Palestinians as non-people. Israel does not merely discriminate, dispossess,  and oppress. Israel’s political behavior is abhorrent and has no place in any political lexicon. How else can one describe the detestable behaviour of Oren Hazan, a provocative figure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, who boarded a bus of Palestinians allowed to exit the Gaza Strip to see family members held in an Israeli jail? Hazan said to a woman from Gaza: “Your son is a dog.” Hazan has been rewarded and now holds special security for his obscene misdemeanor.In short mediation is going to be difficult because Palestinians, not Israel, has no partner for peace. On the other side of the Palestinian are a dangerously armed and an untamed political and military authority. Not a normal nation that should as a rule be finding ways to live as neighbours with Palestinians and other Arabs in the region.The Pope has called for prayers, for peaceful dialogue and negotiations leading to a just and permanent settlement. Israel is deaf to this appeal. It is blind to its own carnage dealt on Palestinians day in and day out and, in fact, it rationalizes on untenable grounds.Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox church, Atallah Hanna, called the US move offensive to “Christians and Muslims around the world who consider Jerusalem as an incubator of their most sacred, spiritual and national heritage…The US gave the occupation what it does not deserve.” Israel not only carries out a crime-a-minute. It gets them condoned by a complicit US administration and a scared-like-hell and rather impotent EU. Tragically, the world imagines that the rich and powerful can get Israel to bend. This is a possibility but requires extraordinary political courage in both US and Europe. Europe harps on its many, many decades of Holocaust guilt which one suspects is a mere pretext. The US has the powerful Zionist lobby which has bought out virtually every Senator and Congressman and controls the corporate sector through economic clout.

In Jerusalem the Islamic-Christian Council in Jerusalem represented by Father Manuel Mosallam asked of the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: “Where are the international legitimacy, UN Security Council resolutions and the Oslo Accord?” He declared: “The US has trampled on all these resolutions and international covenants.” Mosallam voiced what many Palestinians also state: “The project (Peace process) was over long time ago.” He bluntly declared: “Palestinians have no faith in anyone. They only trust in their weapons, resistance, and their blood…the only solution is the resistance and civil disobedience.

In everyday clashes, Palestinians face the brunt of Israeli military mayhem. Over 600 Palestinians have been detained since Washington’s move to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli capital. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society on Tuesday, 610 Palestinians, including 170 minors, 12 women and three injured people have been arrested during the last three weeks. The UN is busy passing resolutions that find Israel’s storage space – the waste paper dump.

A South African leader speaking at an international conference alerted the Palestinians from his own experience in the liberation struggle against apartheid in South Africa: ‘Until you combine militant struggle with Boycott-sanctions-divestment (BDS), justice will never reach your people’. Mahatma Gandhi strikes a variation. He affirmed how non-violence is not a negative concept but a positive sense of love. He talked of loving the wrong-doers, but not the wrong. He believed that the wrong-doers can be resisted only through the severance of all relations with them. Timidity would only embolden the perpetrator of injustice.

The Kairos Palestine document which now has the virtual status of a manifesto for justice and peace in the struggle for liberation echoes these powerful ideas from a singularly different context.  The authors of the Kairos document also call for ‘loving resistance’ and isolation of the occupier- BDS. The isolation of Israel may be the one tool that will be the difference in an otherwise asymmetric situation.

In the face of Israel’s everyday barbaric assaults, resistance should include heightened civil disobedience and seclusion of Israel as happened in the First Intifada especially. It was impatience with peaceful methods that gave way to the First and Second Intifada, and, more recently, to the Knife Intifada. Violent conflict is not desirable, but may well end up being the only available option to a Palestinian polity that fails to gain justice through negotiations.  No one wishes more weapons, resistance, and blood. But weapons and blood have been Israel’s chosen methods of suppressing freedom and justice. Western partners have armed and abetted this with a free supply of sophisticated armory, bringing huge benefits to their home-grown military-industrial-complex and enhancing Israel’s stranglehold over the Palestinian people. An arms embargo would be necessary to enforce restrained on a heavily armed and  nuclear- capable Israel. But isolation, social-cultural-economic, is the only guarantee is the only way Israel will come to terms for talks that lead to a just peace. Many churches in the USA, Canada, and Europe are on board with BDS measures. Some world church bodies have dodged this stratagem for want of courage and conviction. History will judge them as among those who chose the side of the oppressor.

Will 2018 be the year when the balance of power in the international community shifts in favour of justice for the Palestinians? But not just them – For the Rohingya, the Dalits, the indigenous, the working class, the farmers, the urban poor – all those who experience denial of fundamental human rights. Mediation for justice will need fresh ideas and new blood. Meanwhile, the US is clearly not the trusted go-between.  It has proved to be the ultimate war monger and rogue state.

Ranjan Solomon
Editor


In Christmas address Pope rejects US decisions on Jerusalem

Pope Francis dealt a sharp rebuke to President Donald Trump in his annual Christmas message on Monday, hitting the U.S. leader on immigration and calling for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In his “Urbi et Orbi” speech (“to the city and the world” in Latin), the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics took aim at Trump’s controversial decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and lay the groundwork to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city. “Let us pray that the will to resume dialog may prevail between the parties and that a negotiated solution can finally be reached, one that would allow the peaceful coexistence of two states within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders,” Francis said from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.Governed by Israel since 1967, Jerusalem is considered an independent city under international law, and no country currently maintains an embassy in the city. Many Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, while Israel’s far-right nationalist government contends that the city is Israel’s capital. Under the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, the U.S. embassy must be relocated to the city or risk losing State Department funding – unless the president opts to waive the requirement due to security concerns, as every president has done since.
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Palestinian Christian leaders defy Trump’s decision

Palestinian Christian leaders have rejected United States’ President Donald Trump’s decision which endorsed the ancient city of Jerusalem calling it “dangerous” and “insulting.” The archbishop of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox church, Atallah Hanna, called the US move is offensive to “Christians and Muslims around the world who consider Jerusalem as an incubator of their most sacred, spiritual and national heritage… The US gave the occupation what it does not deserve.”

Many Muslims in Bethlehem attended Christmas events in a show of solidarity against Trump’s decision. A member of Bethlehem Local Council, Maher Canavati, asserted that the celebrations are intended to deliver “messages of peace, love and understanding. Bethlehem, normally brimming with tourists at this time of year, has been almost empty of visitors in recent days due to nearby confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters in the wake of the US decision. “But we are here are celebrating, welcoming everybody – it is very important for us that all of the Christians coming to Bethlehem supporting the Muslim and Christian community here are taken care of.”
In the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Christians held a vigil to express their support for Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital. A Christian still living Gaza, Rosette Saygh, said “Life is very difficult in Gaza, we live under siege and we cannot move anywhere … We have witnessed many wars, during the bombing we had to sleep in the church for safety,” she said

A cry to liberate Palestine through armed struggle – Father Manuel MosallamJerusalem is the Palestinian people’s eternal homeland and capital, the member of the Islamic-Christian Council in Jerusalem, Father Manuel Mosallam, has stressed. Mosallam said that “the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital of has made the world collapse…Where are the international legitimacy, UN Security Council resolutions and the Oslo Accord,” he wondered, denouncing the “the US has trampled on all these resolutions and international covenants”On the two-state solution, Mosallam noted that “this project was over long time ago.” “Palestinians have no faith in anyone. They only trust in their weapons, resistance, and their blood,” he said.  “The Palestinian people are the decision makers,” the Palestinian official pointed out, stressing “the only solution is the resistance and civil disobedience…Al Aqsa is part of our Islamic faith,” Mosallam reiterated.

He called on the Muslim countries to provide what he described as the Palestinians with the weapons that “would help them liberate Al-Aqsa.” He also urged the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas to launch a compulsory military service scheme the Palestinian youth in order to establish a Palestinian army
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600 Palestinians detained since al-Quds declared as Israel capital
Over 600 Palestinians have been detained by the Tel Aviv regime forces since Washington’s move to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli capital. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society on Tuesday, 610 Palestinians, including 170 minors, 12 women and three injured people have been arrested during the three weeks since US President Donald Trump made his announcement.

The group noted that on Tuesday alone at least 24 Palestinians were arrested during pre-dawn raids across the West Bank. It added that according to official UN figures, between December 5 and the 18, Israeli forces engaged in 162 search and arrest operations throughout the occupied Palestinian territories. The Israeli regime has long been conducting daily incursions into Gaza and in the vicinity of the so-called buffer zone, which is located on both land and sea sides of the Gaza Strip.
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