Will Palestine squarely face the threat of annexation?

Palestine Update 370


Will Palestine squarely face the threat of annexation?
There is skepticism about whether President Abbas will actually bite the bullet this time around, if and when Israel makes good on the annexation plan. From the sense of things, both Abbas and Netanyahu may fulfill their vows. Israel’s confidence in implementing annexation is because Israel thinks that with the backing of the USA it can do just as it wills. Under the Trump regime, impossible is nothing- or so he believes. Israel is a hurry to get the annexation pushed through before Trump’s ear comes to an end. After all, if one takes the pools seriously, Trump is losing and Biden is winning. Not that Biden will make a qualitative change in America’s stance on Israel-Palestine. He has once argued that “If there had been no Israel, The USA would have to create one”.

What about the rest of the world? The EU has declared its opposition to the annexation plan. It has even threatened sanctions- that word which rarely ever got to find usage in the political lexicon until very recently. Of course, the EU’s threat may end up being just that – a warning because on matters pertaining to foreign policy, the EU can make policy only when there is unanimity. Already, a handful of countries from Eastern Europe have signaled their intent to vote in favor of Israel’s plans on annexation.

The PA has all but withdrawn from all agreements with Israel and the USA. If this sticks, Israel will have a new dilemma on their hands. They will have a single State and a huge population of Arabs within it to politically cope with. Given their policies and practices, most notably the Nation State Law, Israel would be a de jure apartheid state. It is unthinkable that the rest of the world will fall in line with Israel’s decision and offer it political approval. Israel would turn out to be an international ‘reject ‘in the global political arena. It is Israel’s most aspired for law in the history of the State of Israel but devoid of politically morals because the law says that everyone has human rights, but national rights in Israel belong only to the Jewish people. It is a straight out declaration of an apartheid state with a rather huge population of Arabs.

The international community would have the legitimate and moral right to Boycott-Divest-Sanction Israel; to isolate it from the rest of the world leaving it pushed to the margins bit by bit. This will not be an overnight happening but the lessons of how BDS worked in South Africa are not lost to the memory of those who fought apartheid and won.

Of course, South Africa had its armed struggle to accompany BDS and a mighty, influential solidarity movement which included churches, trade unions, student campuses, governments, inter-governmental bodies, sporting bodies, academicians, and cultural artists. Palestinians also have their militant groups, not all seriously armed except for Hamas. Annexation will arouse anger and growing militancy within Palestine. So too, streets around the world especially the Arab Street, where people are fed up of Israel’s cumulative punitive measures on innocent people and/or those who are reclaiming stolen land and water and heritage.

Governments, by themselves, are not going to wake up from their apathy and political machinations after the annexation and abruptly realize that they must accept. That’s the nature of power. It acts when there is pressure, not on its political conscience.

Ranjan Solomon

Null and Void:
Mahmoud Abbas withdraws from all agreements with Israel, US

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict explainedPalestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced his leadership will be ceasing all arrangements with Israel and the US in light of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s annexation plans.“The Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones,” the president said at a leadership meeting in Ramallah.

The announcement comes in response to plans by Netanyahu to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank, that were outlined in the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ proposed by US President Donald Trump and announced in January. “The Israeli Occupation Authority must now carry all its obligations as an occupying power of Palestinian lands. It must bear all the consequences, and international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention also impose on the Occupying Authority the responsibility of caring for residents under occupation,” Abbas said.

Using Trump’s “Vision” to break free of past frameworks
Many mainstream political ideas about the future of Palestine are primarily concerned with the containment of indigenous Palestinians and security for the Israeli settler state. The most recent manifestation of this was the Trump administration’s “Vision for Peace, Prosperity and a Brighter Future for Israel and the Palestinian People.” This “vision” proposed nothing less than Palestinian capitulation in which Palestinians in the West Bank would be encased in a series of Bantustans and the Gaza Strip would remain a besieged enclave while the rights of Palestinians in exile, including those of refugees, would be forsaken.

Trump’s vision – effectively dictated by the Israeli right – does not radically break from what has previously been presented to Palestinians as possible futures. Rather, it follows a tradition of peace proposals over the past decades in which Palestinian futures are not premised on fundamental rights and Palestinian aspirations of sovereignty are disregarded. Some argue that the Trump vision is more candid than prior peace efforts in that it blatantly depicts what the US and Israel consider an acceptable form of Palestinian statehood: The map proposed by the vision document provides an accurate reflection of the current geopolitical reality on the ground.

Marking the Nakba:
From Betrayals and Warnings to Future Visions

To mark the 72nd year of the Nakba – the catastrophe when Zionist forces evicted the majority of Palestinians from their homes and lands, occupying 78% of Palestine – Al-Shabaka reissues this insightful compilation of essays by its engaged scholars and analysts.  These timely pieces dissect the betrayal of Palestine, the struggle of the refugees, the warning signs during the decades of seeking Palestinian-Israeli peace without justice, and strategies for the future. They give us strength at a time of looming annexation and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oslo Accords and Palestinian Sports: One Step Forward, Three Back

Though Palestinian sports had made remarkable progress (especially internationally) since the Oslo Accords in 1993 until now, however, this progress was on the account of many national values accumulated throughout the period 1950s – 1980s. Regardless of the successes Palestinian sport recently achieved at local, regional, and international levels, it has turned from a social-patriotic-democratic means that sought to achieve national goals into an institution whose survival depends on its legitimacy in the eyes of the international community rather than its popularity among the Palestinian people.

In 1948, the Nakba (‘Catastrophe’) made three-quarters of a million Palestinians homeless, leading to the creation of refugee camps across Palestine, as well as Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Later, Palestinian sports had been launched from clubs in cities in Gaza and the West Bank and these in the refugee camps. Since the late 1960s until 1993 sports in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and the Gulf States were under the supervision of the PLO. After the Oslo Accords, most of the Diaspora political elite became centralized in the West Bank and Sector Gaza. The dissolving of the PLO as the only and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people by the PA after the Oslo Accords had its negative impacts on the course of the sports movement; on its credibility as part of the Palestinian national movement.

Hundreds of international artists call for end to Gaza blockade

Some of the prominent names pressuring for an end to the blockade include Peter Gabriel, British filmmaker Ken Loach, and Hollywood actor Viggo Mortensen.

Hundreds of international artists call for end to Gaza blockade ...“More than 250 artists and writers from around the world called on Israel to end its blockade of Gaza in an online letter late last week, which has been enforced by Israel and Egypt since 2007 following Hamas’s take over the Strip, according to a report by AlJazeera. Some of the prominent names pressuring for an end to the blockade include Peter Gabriel, British filmmaker Ken Loach, and Hollywood actor Viggo Mortensen, who called on Israel to end its ‘siege’ of the Gaza Strip, while also saying that the coronavirus pandemic will have disastrous results in ‘the world’s largest open-air prison’. Other famous signatories include poet Taha Adnan, Jewish-Canadian writer Naomi Klein, and the British Trip-hop group Massive Attack.”

Vatican Expresses ‘Concern’ Regarding Israel’s Annexation Plans

Vatican Foreign Minister Paul Gallagher and
his  Palestinian counterpart, Riad al-Malki

Israel’s possible annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank is concerning and could further compromise peace talks, the Vatican said on Wednesday following talks with Palestinian officials. Respect for international law and UN resolutions was an “indispensable element for the two peoples to live side by side”, the Vatican said following talks between chief foreign policy official Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

“The Holy See is following the situation closely, and expresses concern about any future actions that could further compromise dialogue,” the Vatican said in a statement. It added that it hoped a resolution could soon be found through direct talks “so that peace may finally reign in the Holy Land, so beloved by Jews and Christians and Muslims”.