Saturday,18 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1153, 20 - 26 June 2013
Saturday,18 August, 2018
Issue 1153, 20 - 26 June 2013

Ahram Weekly

Palestine game-changers

While Israel’s crushing occupation of Palestine can appear inexorable, any number of factors could — and likely will — change the whole situation around, writes Vacy Vlazna

Al-Ahram Weekly

Swaggering precariously on his defunct divine right as peace-broker at the American Jewish Committee annual love-fest for Israel, US Secretary of State John Kerry regurgitated with braggart aplomb the tiresome ultimatum on the Palestinian/Israel peace process: “If we do not succeed now, we may never get another chance.”

Seems Kerry is the last to know that the US stint as “honest broker” is beyond passé, as is his ultimatum. We know that there are many game-changers that can set in motion a genuine peace process with just outcomes for Palestinians and Israelis.


PALESTINIAN UNITY: A major game-changer will come the day the majority of Palestinians shed the 65-year-old debilitating tribal mindset and swap party loyalties for absolute loyalty to Palestine’s sovereign independence.

Unity would not mean reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas governments, for both are pawns in Israel’s divide and rule stratagem. Both maintain their illusory power bases mainly through tyranny that propagates further divisions and suffering in Palestinian society.

For unity to challenge the might of Israel and its US, Canadian, UK, Australian, EU and Arab League minions, unity would entail the coming together of all Palestinians in the State of Palestine, in the Diaspora and in Israel.

Such unity would be Israel’s nemesis and the birth of Palestinian democracy with the onset of extraordinary elections of the best of the best, irrespective of parties, to govern the State of Palestine and her people.


NEW NEGOTIATORS AND PEACE BROKER: Consequently, a new Palestine Liberation Organisation/Palestinian Legislative Council (PLO/PLC) and a new negotiating team would be stripped of the old collaborators: Mahmoud Abbas, Saeb Ereikat, et al, had insanely agreed to demilitarisation (what nation in the world waives its right to have a military, particularly when bordered by a warmongering neighbour?), had agreed to surrender its sovereign air space, had agreed to strictly limit the right of return and, according to Israeli chief negotiator, Tzepi Livni, had agreed that “the major Jewish settlements on the West Bank, which occupy a small percentage of land, would remain Israeli.”

What outrageous hasbara! Small percentage indeed! On 2 June, the Lands Research Centre published data that shows Palestinians now own just eight per cent of historic Palestine and claims the decline “is due to Israel’s ethnic cleansing, expulsion of Palestinians and confiscation of their land followed by its colonisation by Jewish settlers.” This alarming colonist lebensraum accelerated during Yasser Arafat and Abbas’s watch.

As for the role of peace broker, Palestinian journalist Nicola Nasser points out that Obama’s commitment to the “unbreakable alliance” between the US and Israel, which he inherited from a long lineage of unethical presidents, disqualifies the US as peace broker.

Other super-nations like China, India and Brazil, which have few vested Israeli interests, would be far more honest brokers. Recently China stated that as a friend to both Israel and Palestine it wants to mediate peace between them. The Chinese approach to winning hearts and minds is through economic development, investment and lifting living standards while, in contrast, Yankee gung-ho foreign policy literally kills hearts and minds.

Ultimately, whichever nation succeeds in securing real stability and peace between Palestinians and Israelis will wield immeasurable political and economic influence in the Middle East.


SHIFT TO THE ONE-STATE SOLUTION: Apart from the thousands upon thousands of Palestinian martyrs slaughtered by Israel, ironically there are two other victims of Zionist hubris: “Eretz Israel” (Greater Israel) and the two-state solution. There will never be an Eretz Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates and the two-state solution is dead, dead, dead.

Generation D (dinosaurs) remnants still worship the rotten two-state relic. However, Generations X and Y (baby-boomers’ offspring and the millennians) have breathed life and dignity into the integrity of historic Palestine’s right to independence under international law going back to the Mandate granted to Britain as “a sacred trust of civilisation” that at its end, “the temporary limitations on the sovereignty of Palestine would be removed and the people of Palestine would emerge as fully independent (Article 22).” The Mandate also provided that power and control of the territory of Palestine would be transferred to “the Government of Palestine (Article 28).” (See Adel Safty, Might over Right, p.163)

“The UN is still bound by the articles of the Covenant of the League of Nations and furthermore the UN had no legal mandate to partition Palestine.” On 6 February 1948, the Arab Higher Committee again communicated to the UN secretary general its position that the partition plan was “contrary to the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter”. The UN “has no jurisdiction to order or recommend the partition of Palestine. There is nothing in the Charter to warrant such authority, consequently the recommendation of partition is ultra vires and therefore null and void.” (See Jeremy Hammond, “The Myth of the UN Creation of Israel,” Foreign Policy Journal, 26 October 2010)

No wonder Israel incessantly screeches for its right to exist to be recognised when its existence rests on shaky legal grounds and the one state solution is Israel’s demographic bête noire.

The energised one-state solution is in line with the original Arab vision of an independent Palestine that promised to respect the rights of the Jewish minority. Ali Abunimah’s book, One Country: A bold proposal to end the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, sets out comprehensive stratagems for a state shared by two peoples.


SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL: Sanctions against Israel would dramatically change Israel’s brutal game. In November 2012, 138 nations voted for Palestine’s non-member observer state status in the UN. While UN sanctions wouldn’t get past a US veto, each of these 138 nations has the power to impose unilateral or multilateral diplomatic, economic, sport and military sanctions against Israel for its war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated daily on Palestinian men, women and children, and to force Israel to comply with international law.

Alongside the successful BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaigns, concerted sanctions pressure on governments by supporters for Palestinian justice in all the 138 nations would undermine Israel’s belligerent obstruction of Palestinian political and human rights and undermine Israel’s demented destabilisation of the Middle East.


ISRAELI GLOBAL REPUTATION ON THE NOSE: Without help from anyone, and for all its hasbara (pro-Zionist propaganda) and Western media backing, Israel is destroying its reputation and diplomatic standing, and ipso facto promoting support for Palestine. The BBC’s 2013 Country Rating Poll places Israel squarely amongst North Korea and Pakistan as the world’s most negatively viewed nations.

The truth of Israel’s brutal occupation, its state terrorism and war crimes, its inhumane siege on Gaza, its apartheid policy, its savage settler extremism, its war mongering against Iran while possessing its own undisclosed nuclear arsenal, the worldwide criticism of its provocative settlement expansion, its Gaza Flotilla attacks, Netanyahu’s arrogant humiliation of the US, is accelerating Israel’s unprecedented isolation.

Yerida, emigration from Israel, is increasing as the cost of the occupation rises, impacting negatively on Israel’s standard of living. Aliyah, the immigration of Jews, has shrunk two per cent overall with a four per cent decrease from the US.


ENDING US MILITARY AID TO ISRAEL: Despite America’s unsustainable national debt, with the annual current rate of interest of $400 billion, despite austere budget cuts, despite the increasing demand for emergency food and shelter by impoverished, unemployed and hungry Americans, despite the magnitude of the human suffering of its own people, the US government continues to borrow its annual $3.5 billion military aid for Israel that costs the US tax payer another $100 million in interest per annum. On 11 June, Washington approved to grant an extra $448 million in 2014.

It is time the American people realise that the Israel Lobby is behind Congress’s siphoning off of their hard-earned tax dollars from their domestic needs, such as “veteran rehabilitation and care, education, job creation, social security, housing, environmental clean-up and prevention, roads, bridges, healthcare, and scientific and health research.” (

It is time Americans grasp Israel’s disregard for American security borne out by Israel’s terrorist attack on the USS Liberty, and even worse, Israeli weapons “buttress the arsenals of nations such as China that the United States considers strategic competitors, alarming US military planners,” the Associated Press reports. “[In 2001] US surveillance planes flying along China’s coast were threatened by Chinese fighter jets armed with Israeli missiles… Had Chinese fighter pilots been given the order to fire, they could have brought down the US planes with Israeli Python III missiles… US defence chiefs say Israel sold China the missiles without informing the United States.” (

It is way past time that the American people compel their government to end its irresponsible, profligate aid to Israel.


END ARAB LEAGUE BETRAYAL OF PALESTINE: To understand Palestine’s isolation in its region, replace the myth that Palestinians are part of a unified homogenous Arab family with the reality of the betrayal, lethargy and silence of the majority of Arab governments on Palestinian rights, particularly those who willingly barter Arab dignity, ihsan, infaq, zakah, sadaqah and Khayrat for American aid and arms hand outs.

When Arab states deem to speak up for Palestine its usually empty talk backed by unprincipled inaction and continued discrimination. You can see how for decades, Palestinian refugees who barely survive the squalor and poverty in camps in Arab states have been denied political and basic rights in their countries of asylum.

Marwan Bargouthi’s scathing criticism was reported 28 May by Al-Monitor: “The Arab Peace Initiative is the lowest the Arabs have gone in terms of a historical settlement with Israel. The statements of the Arab ministerial delegation to Washington in regards to amending the 1967 borders and accepting the land-swap inflict great damage on the Arab stance and Palestinian rights, and stimulate the appetite of Israel for more concessions.”

Palestine’s hope lies not with fossilised Arab governments but with the youth of the Arab Spring who stand fast with the struggle of their Palestinian sisters and brothers for justice and freedom.


SOCIAL MEDIA REVOLUTION: More than half the world’s population is under 45. And well beyond Israel’s influence and power is the phenomenal influence and power of Generations X and Y’s social media revolution, which is the impetus driving the Arab Spring and now Turkey’s thrust for real democracy.

The tsunami of young cyber and street warriors who are risking their lives for the ideals of freedom, justice and democracy has caused a seismic shift of power and role reversal. It is the young who are the role models for courage and for upholding the principles of political, economic and human rights.

Significantly, social media sans frontières is facilitating dialogue and bridges of friendship between young Palestinians and Israelis and building on the robust Jewish and Israeli solidarity with Palestine.

So much for the legions of pundits who are adamant that there will never be peace between Palestinians and Israelis. These naysayers are clueless about the power of the human spirit, which generates myriad game-changers in its quest to respect, protect, and champion justice, peace and freedom for all humanity.


The writer is a coordinator for Justice for Palestine Matters.

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