RANJAN SOLOMON | 18 OCTOBER, 2017
Palestinian Unity Jolts Israel Into Desperate Measures
NEW DELHI: Palestinian reconciliation has left Israel’s ‘tunnel-vision cabinet’ running helter-skelter with desperate moves. It is obvious that Likud and its partners had never, even in their wildest dreams, expected that PA-Hamas would find unity. Hamas has demonstrated political pragmatism that put the people of Gaza and their welfare above political egotism. The PA may have made the choice out of sheer political compulsions. All the same the deal is now here to stay- whether fragile or robust, time will tell.
This unity is something beyond the capacity of Israel’s racist colonialist political mind-set. For Israel, a fragile and disjointed Palestine is one they can dominate and divide to their advantage. Ending the occupation and ushering in peace is not their intent or hope. Never has been. The stealth of more land and dispossession of more people is their agenda forward. In one word, ethnic-cleansing!
Israel's security cabinet has been hurriedly convened to thrash out the implications of Palestinian Reconciliation. Senior Ministers are calling for Israeli sanctions on the Palestinian Authority following the deal. Netanyahu is in a quandary. He can reject the move, but what will he tell the world?
Every statement from Hamas after the reconciliation suggests that the reconciliation is not about uniting to crush Israel. It IS about being a united front in future peace talks. Nor has Hamas abandoned agreed to give up its weapons and fighting capacities. An Israel that is armed to the teeth, nuclearised, and rabidly war-mongering in intent, must know that Palestinians have the right and means to resistance. This is political theory from way back in the 16th century when the New Hampshire Bill of Rights, written in 1784, declared:
“The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.” In modern parlance: “Protesting, however, is not necessarily violent or a threat to the interests of national security or public safety. Nor is it necessarily civil disobedience, because most protest does not involve violating the laws of the state. Protests, even campaigns of nonviolent resistance or civil resistance, can often have the character (in addition to using nonviolent methods) of positively supporting a democratic and constitutional order.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_protest)
A just peace in Palestine Israel demands key steps that Israel must take as a pre-condition. First, the military occupation must end because it is illegal, has lasted far too long, and is cruel and vicious. It robs Palestinians off their dignity and right to live as people with equal human rights. The settlements must be dismantled in haste because it is around these settlements and, because of them that Israel’s violence thrives as a colonialist entity.
The borders between the two states must be drawn so that the two states will have continuity. The land will be divided 78% to 22%, allowing for swaps of land along the “Green Line.” The arrangements satisfying contiguity between Gaza and the West Bank must guarantee the free flow of people and goods within both Israel and Palestine, so that it will not entail crossing a border.
Jerusalem will be the capital of both Israel and Palestine and administration arrangements mutually accepted. An agreed and fair solution to the refugee problem must address both the individual claims and the collective considerations of the two sides. On the one hand, the Palestinian refugees should be able to choose a permanent place of residency with compensation scheme for the refugees and with refugee status changed to that of citizens.
Israel is at fault on all these counts unwilling to surrender rights it snatched away from the Palestinians first in 1948, and then again in 1967. Worse, it manipulated the Oslo accords and had rendered it a mere piece of trivia. This is why Israel is threatened by the Palestinian unity. It is not a document that endangers peace. It can serve to advance peace if only Israel views it thus.