Some history and insights; critical reviews of current situations

Palestine Update 435
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Some history and insights; critical reviews of current situations
In our first sharing for this issue of Palestine Updates, we listen to an interview with Professor Ilan Pappé which discusses the evolution of Palestinian identity throughout the last century. Illan Pappe is interviewed by Misbah Khan from Identity International.

Our second article has excerpts from an article “The “State-plus” framework: A confederal solution for Israel-Palestine”. The author describes how The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is entering a new stage. A viable diplomatic process for resolving “final-status” issues has been non-existent for several years. The Palestinian national movement is feeble and fractured, leaving it ill-equipped to face down persistent challenges and unable to exert leverage in pursuit of its goals. Israel is rapidly consolidating decades of illegal settlement activity through legislative and institutional means, positioning itself to formally incorporate vast swathes of the West Bank into the state through de jure annexation.

In a third article we read how the Abrahamic Accords have served to “sacrifice multiple American policy objectives for Israel’s benefit. Washington is strengthening repression in Bahrain, underwriting aggression by UAE, sacrificing the Sahrawi people, undermining reform in Sudan, and even abandoning justice for Americans harmed by Sudan.”

The outcome of the US elections does not leave the Palestinians too much to celebrate. “Beyond the unimaginable wreckage left behind by the Trump administration — damage that will likely outlast Biden’s presidency — those in the movement are also clear-eyed about the limitations of a centrist Democratic government.”

The central argument in the last piece shows how “the only rule consistently followed in Israeli politics is the Law of Unintended Consequences. Netanyahu doesn’t intend to reduce distrust or racism. “Besides staying in power, one of Netanyahu’s perpetual goals has been to prevent a “land for peace” deal — giving up West Bank territory to create a Palestinian state at peace with Israel. Recent normalization accords with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco — welcome in themselves — instrumentally serve both goals for Netanyahu…And yet, the agreements inject an awkward distinction into the universe of fear that Netanyahu has cultivated.

Ranjan Solomon


  ‘Palestinian: Beyond Conflict’ – You Tube featuring Ilan Pappe (Identity International)

In the latest episode of ‘Palestine beyond Conflict’, a series of interviews conducted by Identity International, Professor Ilan Pappé discusses the evolution of Palestinian identity throughout the last century with Misbah Khan.

Pappe is a social activist, historian and professor at the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter. He is also, the director of the university’s European Centre for Palestine Studies and the co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies.

He has previously served as a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa and was the chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian and Israeli Studies in Haifa. He is the author of a number of books including his renowned work ‘The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine’. Pappe was also formerly a leading member of Hadash and was a candidate on the party list in the 1996 and 1999 Knesset elections. He graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1978, and in 1984 obtained his Ph.D. in history from the University of Oxford, under the guidance of Albert Hourani and Roger Owen. He currently resides in England.

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The “State-plus” framework: A confederal solution for Israel-Palestine
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is entering a new stage. A viable diplomatic process for resolving “final-status” issues has been non-existent for several years. The Palestinian national movement is feeble and fractured, leaving it ill-equipped to face down persistent challenges and unable to exert leverage in pursuit of its goals. Israel is rapidly consolidating decades of illegal settlement activity through legislative and institutional means, positioning itself to formally incorporate vast swathes of the West Bank into the state through de jure annexation.

This latter process, in particular, has come at the direct expense of establishing an independent State of Palestine and leaves millions of Palestinians stranded under Israeli sovereignty without political rights or a horizon for achieving them in the future. Absent any intention of integrating these stateless Palestinians into its citizenry, Israel is formalizing a “two-tier system of disparate political, legal, social, cultural and economic rights based on ethnicity and nationality,” which a group of leading United Nations (U.N.) human rights experts recently characterized as “a 21st century apartheid,” and what others have simply termed a “one-state reality.”

In this context, the road to a negotiated settlement of the conflict has become impossible to envision without dramatic changes to each side’s internal socio-political dynamics, the gross imbalance of power between them, and the approach of the international community. Perhaps as important is the need for a thorough reassessment of the appropriate conceptual framework to resolve the conflict. For more than three decades, the international community has remained wedded to the paradigm of partition into two independent states, or the “two-state solution.” This despite the growing divergence between the objective of establishing a separate Palestinian state and the reality of gradual Israeli annexation on the ground, as well as eroding public support on both sides and the increasing struggle of advocates to defend the solution’s viability.

While interest in alternative frameworks has grown in recent years, there is still a significant shortfall in the examination and development of the various modalities, not to mention a lack of political traction or broad-based mobilization on behalf of any particular option. It is clear that alternatives to classic partition need to be studied with more frequency and in greater depth in order to widen the range of options available to policymakers and civil actors in the years ahead.

Given the already entrenched one-state reality, the emancipation of Palestinians through enfranchisement in a single democratic state is the most conceptually straightforward alternative to decades of failed attempts at implementing partition. Striving for the more complex model of confederation may appear unnecessarily burdensome. However, confederation is more responsive to the realities often overlooked by one-state proponents. More so, it does not preclude a single democratic state from emerging in the long run, should such a state be recognized as feasible and beneficial. Confederation has the potential to serve as a workable and mutually appealing model of governance that liberates Palestinians from the current reality of interminable oppression, halts further settler colonialism, and preserves self- determination and national expression for both sides, and addresses Israeli and Palestinian aspirations and grievances in a harmonizing and practical manner. In doing so, the confederal approach envisions a resolution to the conflict that prevents, or at least limits, further conflict down the road.

At present, the inequitable one-state reality being imposed by Israel is deeply disturbing and harmful. It also fails to offer any resolution to the underlying conflict. While that is likely cause for more instability in the near future, it also presents an opportunity to reassess how Israelis and Palestinians may one day live more equitably in a land they share. At this juncture, the development of that framework is urgently needed.
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The Hidden Cost of the Abrahamic Accords

 A new saying is making the rounds in the Middle East: Bush destroyed Iraq, Obama destroyed Syria, and now Trump is destroying what’s left. His celebrated so-called Abraham Accords is a part of that…This year Washington expanded its Israel-first approach to reward authoritarian Arab states which engaged the Netanyahu government. Under political siege in Jerusalem—and facing trial on corruption charges—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs every political advantage he can get, especially with another election looming this spring. The Middle East needs peace. However, that requires a commitment by all nations, including Israel, to treat other nations and peoples with respect. Instead of seeking to build a better and more just regional order, U.S. policy has enhanced Israel’s dominance and maintained the subjugation of millions of Palestinians, ensuring future unrest, violence, and instability. The final insult has been to sacrifice multiple American policy objectives for Israel’s benefit. Washington is strengthening repression in Bahrain, underwriting aggression by UAE, sacrificing the Sahrawi people, undermining reform in Sudan, and even abandoning justice for Americans harmed by Sudan. The administration calls this an “America first” policy?”
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PODCAST: How Palestine advocates are gearing up for the post-Trump era
There was palpable relief, and even joy, throughout the progressive movement when the U.S. presidential race was finally called for Joe Biden at the beginning of November. Four years of an administration that relentlessly attacked every minority group imaginable would finally be coming to an end, and with it, perhaps, a move away from constant firefighting.

Yet Biden’s election was by no means welcomed by progressives as an unmitigated win. Beyond the unimaginable wreckage left behind by the Trump administration — damage that will likely outlast Biden’s presidency — those in the movement are also clear-eyed about the limitations of a centrist Democratic government.

Nowhere does that assessment ring as true as in the Palestine movement, where, as Sandra Tamari, executive director of the Adalah Justice Project tells the +972 Podcast, activists have to reckon with an administration that is “no friend of Palestine”.
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How Netanyahu’s malicious fear-mongering could backfire on him
“Besides staying in power, one of Netanyahu’s perpetual goals has been to prevent a “land for peace” deal — giving up West Bank territory to create a Palestinian state at peace with Israel. Recent normalization accords with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco — welcome in themselves — instrumentally serve both goals for Netanyahu…And yet, the agreements inject an awkward distinction into the universe of fear that Netanyahu has cultivated: Faraway Arabs are now considered friends, even as local Arabs continue to be painted a threat… Netanyahu has undercut his own political strategy even more with his public flirtation with Knesset member Mansour Abbas. Abbas leads the Islamist faction within the Arab-backed Joint List. In October, Abbas cooperated in a parliamentary move to block a new investigation of possible corruption by Netanyahu.

He has hinted he might vote for a law giving Netanyahu criminal immunity, ending the prime minister’s trial before it begins. Netanyahu has since given Abbas special access to top officials. Abbas argues that by horse-trading with the prime minister, he can achieve budgets and other material gains for the Arab minority. Netanyahu’s motive is obvious: staying in power and out of jail. But Israel will again go to the polls in late March. Likud warnings against a government supported by Arabs in the Knesset might ring hollow. If, once again, the opposition wins a narrow majority, centrist parties might be less afraid of working with the Joint List. I might be too optimistic.

But the only rule consistently followed in Israeli politics is the Law of Unintended Consequences. Netanyahu doesn’t intend to reduce distrust or racism. “Besides staying in power, one of Netanyahu’s perpetual goals has been to prevent a “land for peace” deal — giving up West Bank territory to create a Palestinian state at peace with Israel. Recent normalization accords with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco — welcome in themselves — instrumentally serve both goals for Netanyahu…And yet, the agreements inject an awkward distinction into the universe of fear that Netanyahu has cultivated:

Faraway Arabs are now considered friends, even as local Arabs continue to be painted a threat… Netanyahu has undercut his own political strategy even more with his public flirtation with Knesset member Mansour Abbas.
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