Friday, July 8, 2011

Quest For Palestinian State

Peace will only come the day Israelis understand that their only chance for survival, as a state, is to live in peace with their neighbours
By Luc Debieuvre
For the first time since I resumed writing these opinions a few months ago, I am forcing myself to focus on the Palestinian drama. Why is that? Because everything, it seems, has already been said and repeated.
Everyone knows the solutions but one side doesn't want to implement them. The Israeli-American power is not willing to negotiate. US President Barack Obama declares one day that ‘the parties should resume negotiations' and to start with, ‘the Netanyahu government should stop building illegal colonies'. On the following day, the Israeli PM announces the construction of 1,600 additional housing units, including 1,000 in Occupied east Jerusalem. And gets some additional funds from the US Congress in the package.
Another day, Obama declares that ‘one should get back to the 1967 boundaries'. The day after, he says at an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) meeting that he was of course not serious about it.
As to the Israelis, they claim there is ‘nobody to discuss with', because of the split between Fatah and Hamas. Once these two representative bodies of the Palestinian people sign a truce, they say they ‘can't talk to Hamas'. Incidentally, it is not the case of former Israeli foreign affairs minister Tzipi Livni. But this lady is not in charge.
What can thus the Palestinians do? Some people go on saying that some kind of pressure should be exerted on the US, for them to pass it on the Israeli side. But the right arm of a body cannot twist its left arm. Former US President George W. Bush' policy is still on track, as evidence shows.
As for Israel, they believe they are safer with Netanyahu's secured immobility than with the uncertainties of a peace process. Meanwhile, the situation on the ground has developed as anticipated. The situation confirms that a two-state solution is fleeing away, that's what a visit on site widely confirms, unless huge transfers of lands take place — that the Israelis are not prepared to accept.
As to some Arab countries, ‘they prefer to attack their own regimes instead of Israel', a ‘historical fact', according to former Israeli Head of Military Services Amos Yadlin, cited in French daily Le Figaro on June 23. The Palestinian issue would only be good to send the people on the street, shouting against Israel and America — and better not looking elsewhere; a kind of a necessary hygienic function to some regimes. Gesticulating in Libya is indeed far less dangerous than putting pressure on the Israeli-American condominium.
September vote
So, what is left for the Palestinians? Going to the UN General Assembly next September, of course, and forcing a vote on a resolution recognising their statehood. At least things will be clear. There will finally be an official Palestinian state, 60 per cent of which has been illegally occupied for the last 42 years. Some are in the meantime trying to give Israel a last chance to re-launch a process with a peace conference. What for, since one side refuses negotiation, if not to try and derail a deeply legitimate move? "It's more than time for Palestine to benefit by the Arab revolutions," some other analysts write. That is for sure but unfortunately, did not occur so far.
Maybe such ‘genuine democratic moves', whose leaders and elites were trained in the US, have another agenda. How long will the situation last? As long as the US supremacy prevails — say another 15 to 20 years. It is a short period of time when compared to humanity's history. But it is also more comfortable to wait for such an event in the cool of spacious houses than in Lebanese or Jordanian ghettos.
Peace will only come the day Israelis themselves understand that their only chance for survival, as a state, is to live in peace with their neighbours. Some Israeli citizens seem to understand it but they are today a small minority.
 So, let's raise pressure on the international community. Let's show the whole world what is actually happening in this blessed but stolen land. Let the people walk from all over the region, as they did on May 15, towards what has become a safe-vault, a bunker — a new ghetto of their own? And let's stop shedding crocodile tears over the despair of a harassed people.
-This commentary was published in The GULF NEWS on 08/07/2011
-Luc Debieuvre is a French political analyst and an economics expert

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