As'ad Abdul Rahman
Gulf News (Opinion)
August 6, 2011 - 12:00am

It is almost a reality now that neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis see any possibility of resuming peace negotiations following recent speeches by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the US Congress and the Jewish lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac). With a clear voice and determination, Netanyahu annihilated all possibilities of establishing two independent states; Israel and a Palestinian state peacefully co-existing and equally thriving together.

All that Netanyahu did deliver in his two speeches was an ultimatum to the Palestinians to accept a "Jewish state" that is only for Jews and that makes 20 per cent of Israeli citizens of Palestinian descent aliens in their national land. Other ‘facts' that he wanted Palestinians and the world to accept were the annexation of more than 40 per cent of the Occupied Territories as well as occupied Jerusalem, in addition to maintaining an Israeli military presence along the eastern bank of the Jordan River. To add insult to injury, Netanyahu called his ‘take it or leave it' offer one of "extreme generosity".

A number of Israeli writers warned of the consequences of Netanyahu's hard-line, indeed extremist policies. Nahum Barnea wrote in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot that "Netanyahu is the best spokesman for Israel in the United states. All Israelis love America and all members of Congress love Israel; but I am sorry to say that members of Congress do not have to face the problems which Israel will be facing in the future."

Describing their degree of participation in forming American foreign policy as marginal, he went on to say that "definitely they [US Congress members] are not the ones who have to come up with enough underground shelters to protect the Israeli population from rockets coming from Hamas in case the conflict is resumed". On his part, Ben Caspit said in the Israeli Maariv newspaper that the conditions Netanyahu had set "do not represent a starting point for any real negotiations". He wrote that "they will never be accepted by any Palestinian and will never by supported by any Arab country" or "seriously taken by any European member of the European Union". Commenting on Netanyahu's speeches in Washington D.C, Caspit said, "They did not provide any real plan for peace which makes the realisation of peace in the Middle East an absolute impossibility". In another Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Ari Shavit spoke of a dead-end road saying "Netanyahu made peace with the [US] Congress, but turned his back to the entire world". Emanuel Rosen, a commentator on Israel's channel 2 said, "After the repeated clapping in Congress, we deserve a big and lethal explosion next September!"

Practical plan

In light of, or rather in the dark shadow cast by the Israeli stand opposing peace, we, Palestinians have to prepare a practical plan where the Palestinian masses move to support the Palestine Liberation Organisation/ and Palestinian National Authority plan to go to the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council to attain official recognition of an independent Palestinian state on the territories of 1967. Rules of confronting colonial occupation have been set since the Palestinian uprising (intifada). With the current "Arab awakening" sweeping the region, the spirit of the first Palestinian uprising 1987-1993, should be brought to life again. We need to see a move towards freedom every Friday. If current uprisings in the Arab world are being considered by the international community as legitimate, seeking freedom and democracy, a Palestinian uprising in the same peaceful manner seeking to end the Israeli colonial occupation must similarly be considered as legitimate. A Palestinian ‘intifada' holding candles instead of bullets (or even stones) on a daily basis facing Israeli checkpoints would galvanise not only Arab support, but that of the entire world, without any exception! It is a well-known fact that 97 per cent of Palestinians are politically ‘independent' and do not belong to any Palestinian political organisation.

But that does not relieve the various Palestinian organisations of the responsibility to seek unity and close cooperation among them to focus on the national security of Palestinians instead of looking for narrow egotistical gains here and there in the Palestinian arena. Palestinians truly need PLO coordination efforts united with those of the civil society organisations that played a major role in aiding the population during ‘Al Aqsa intifada'. We are witnessing the very worst of the Israeli occupation and its apartheid policy which always depended on their myth that "the old die and the young forget" which they created and believed. But Palestinians have proved that they will never, ever forget! The only way to prove that would be the launch of a third ‘intifada' that would be peaceful, silmiya, raising candles and leaving aside tears shed over the ruins of our towns and villages that were destroyed to erase Palestinian history etched on the stones of the Holy Land in a span of thousands of years. A poll conducted recently by Dr Nabeel Kokali and published by the Palestinian Centre for Public Opinion Polls showed that 70.5 per cent of Palestinians supported a third ‘intifada'. Let us all work towards releasing the energy of the Palestinian people in a peaceful way, in the face of the Israeli colonial occupation in Palestine and let the world watch Palestinians refusing to forget by seeking liberation and human dignity in an independent Palestinian state.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017