Thursday, September 29, 2011

Occupier and occupied can never negotiate peace

Muslehuddin Ahmad
The Daily Star
Publication Date : 29-09-2011

It was surprising that President Obama was suggesting abandonment of the UN route and asking the Palestinians to go for negotiations with Israel, which he himself failed to implement because of the refusal of Israel to freeze settlements. He said UN resolutions and statements could not bring peace, thus undermining the UN itself. This will undoubtedly encourage Israel to continue to flout all UN resolutions as it has been doing with all impunity.

It was President Obama's proposal to go for "two-state solution within 1967 borders with agreed swaps." President Abbas was simply proposing in the UN to help implement what President Obama desired and declared. President Abbas' proposals received standing ovations in the UNGA, signifying the approval of most of the member states of the UN. If the UNSC agrees, the framework for "Two State" would be set and this would fulfill President Obama's first point of establishment of the Palestinian state.

President Obama was suggesting immediate resumption of the peace negotiations with Israel for establishment of a Palestinian state. Israel is an occupier and Palestin-ians are under occupation and it is meaningless to ask these feuding parties to settle their affairs, which they could not do in about half a century. The occupiers never give up occupation. President Obama himself asked Israel to stop building of settlements which was rejected by Netanyahu because he knew he had support of the Republicans and many Democrats, which was evident from Netanyahu's last address to the Joint session of the Congress. Expansion of settlements continued and that led to the collapse of peace process.

Why pursue the same strategy again? Israel will never stop building settlements as it considers this holy land as the "Land promised by God" to the people of Jewish faith. It must be accepted that Almighty God never promised any piece of land to any religious or ethnic group. There is no such case in God's planet.

Occupiers and people under occupation can never agree on anything. This has to be recognised by the sensible community of the world. This is why the UN unfortunately happens to be the most undemocratic institution of the most "democratic" countries of the world.

Israel itself came into existence through unilateral declaration and UNSC never met to consider UN resolution 181, which was made in principle only to divide Palestine. The same resolution authorised division of Palestine into two states -- one with 56% of Palestinian land as a state for Israelis and the other 42 % a state for the Arabs, i.e. Palestinians (now Palestinians cannot even get 22% of the land). If Israelis could unilaterally declare their state of Israel without the approval of the UNSC, Palestinians should also be allowed to do the same. However, Palestinians chose to go through the normal UN process, asking all countries of the world to recognise a Palestinian state. Palestinians must have a state of their own in their own land.

Netanyahu's speech in the UN reflected his own position as an occupier. He said Palestinians should have peace first with Israel and then a state. What a wonderful suggestion! This means no state ever for the Palestinians. Israel will never say it is at peace with Palestinians. This is the historical truth.

Netanyahu gave wrong information to the UNGA. He said President Truman recognised Israel as a Jewish state. President Truman himself cut out the word "Jewish" and recognised Israel as the state of Israel.

President Obama of course said Jewish state in some speeches, though he knows his country does not recognise Israel as a Jewish state. At the same time he said Palestinians were not required to recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

French President Sarkozy at least talked about upgrading the Palestinian status by making it a non-member state of the UN. This is what will possibly happen if US applies veto in the UNSC.

The US has been blocking Palestinian statehood proposal for decades. This has immensely harmed the US position in the Middle East (ME). This has been due to blind support to Israel at the cost of US' own strategic interest in the ME. It's high time for the US to go for a change. If President Obama fails to help the peace process, for which he was awarded Nobel Peace Prize, he will not only fail the Nobel Committee, but will also put the ME in an uncertain path that may cause huge damage to the US' position in the ME.

The best course for President Obama would be to allow the proposal to be adopted in the UNSC. This change in US stand is absolutely necessary to bring peace in the region. As Obama had said: "Yes we can." He did it in the last election and let him do it this time for the most deprived people on earth. This is the reward he can give to all who showed tremendous enthusiasm on his winning of the US presidency. If necessary, Obama can ask the US delegation to abstain.

This would not adversely affect Obama's election position. Many people of Jewish faith in the USA, including members of J Street and Naturei Karta, have started to realise that Israel is doing too much, which has started to demean their position in the USA. Moreover, Obama is certain to get full support of the Arabs and Muslims in the USA. So he should think seriously before using the veto. The whole world has been watching him. He should, however, obtain promise from the Palestinians to kick-start the peace negotiation immediately after UN sessions on the basis of 1967 borders with agreed swaps and with Quartet Road Map as the model to follow.

Any deviation may lead to an extremely volatile situation in the region. Arab Spring (President Abbas said"Palestinian Spring") may spread, make Israel a target and ultimately engulf it. This makes Israel's present position really shaky. Israel has its own "Israeli Spring," which, together with Arab Spring -- expected to be huge ones from all sides of Israel -- may turn it into "Israeli Hot Summer," leading to widespread violence which Israel would not be able to control. Weapons cannot control popular movements for freedom; Arab Spring has already proven this before the world.

Occupier and occupied can never negotiate peace