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Issue #1908      March 23, 2020

OP-ED:

PALESTINIANS DESERVE BETTER

Last month, Seamus Carey wrote an insightful and spot-on article on Trump’s “Peace Plan” (Guardian #1902) that got me thinking. The Trump “Deal of the Century” is just another attempt to crush the Palestinian Resistance, to force the Palestinians to accept further oppression, occupation. It’s an attempt to coerce them to submit to a sham US/Israeli imposed “peace deal” which will only result in further loss of land and rights.

Palestinians have admirably and bravely responded with defiance to Trump’s plan to defeat their righteous resistance. The Palestinians have already lost over seventy-eight per cent of historical Palestine to Israel. The remaining twenty-two per cent of the Palestinian territories consists of the Israeli blockaded Gaza Strip and fragmented segments of the Israeli occupied West Bank, with Israeli settlements, forts, walls, fences, roads, and other infrastructure surrounding them, under the control of the Israeli army, settlers and police.

It seems the only issue to discuss in “peace” talks is what small morsels of land Israel will allow the Palestinians to have for their illusory state. Why illusory? Because Israel and the US will accept no peace deal without strict controls and fixed conditions on the establishment of a Palestinian state. With such demands, what is there really to discuss in Trump’s plan or any “peace” talks?

More than 775,000 Israelis now live in Jewish settlements beyond Israel’s 1967 borders, on Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem captured during that war. Israel intends to continue to expand its illegal West Bank settlements and keep building in the major settlement blocs. Israel is adamant that it intends to keep them and Jerusalem in any future peace agreement.

What sort of future Palestinian state is possible considering the fact that Israel has created in the occupied territory? On the West Bank, Israeli rule is pervasive, with bits and pieces of Palestinian territory encircled by Israeli settlements and military bases. The West Bank has been described appropriately as a portion of Swiss cheese, the Palestinian areas being the small holes, surrounded by the larger Israeli part. Israeli military forts and positions sit on the hilltops; Israel controls the road network and checkpoints, aquifers and other resources. Daily life, movement, the economy, everything is dependent on the whim of Israel’s repressive military rule, its laws, regulations, and curfews.

The Israeli government also wants any future Palestinian state to have only limited independence, have no military forces, with Israel’s army retaining control of the state’s borders, airspace, and the fertile Jordan Valley. Israel also wants its military forces to have free reign to operate in the Palestinian areas. These are precisely the policies that Trump’s Plan supports. These and the continued settlement construction are precisely the main obstacles to peace and a lasting solution to the Palestinian problem.

Given this stark situation, a viable Palestinian state cannot be built on such a minuscule area. Trump and Israel’s “peace deal” would only create a micro, mini-state lacking any actual political, social, military, economic independence, and any real resources – exactly the kind of Palestinian state they want to establish.

This is not an independent, genuine Palestinian state, nor is it a just, legitimate solution to the Palestinian problem.

Since the publication of this Trump “Peace Plan” the mainstream media in Australia have been full of opinion pieces by various pro-Israeli and Zionist writers promoting this US and Israeli plan. The reason for this is that it is an excellent deal for Israel, strengthening and entrenching the colonial settler state’s dispossession of and rule over the Palestinians. And the Israeli lobby is relentlessly trying to rally public backing for it and in doing so to pressure the Palestinians to give in.

Israel’s image is not what it once was though, as many more people see the real face of Israeli repression and its callousness, making it challenging to attain support even in Australia. So instead of a diversity of opinion on this question that presents readers with different views of the issues involved we only get various pro-Israeli and Zionist commentators pushing the Israeli position on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, with almost total neglect of the Palestinian side of the story.

There is usually no attempt to allow the Palestinian narrative or voice to be heard on the question. Indeed, it is as if the outlook of one of the central participants in the conflict that has gone on for over 60 years is almost completely missing from the dialogue. There are of course in Australia and elsewhere many articulate and eloquent Palestinian voices that exist and are worthy of space in our media. And hearing them speak would permit Australians to be better informed and get another stance on the conflict.

The resolution of such conflicts begins with an understanding of the viewpoint of both parties, not by ignoring one side. Palestinians deserve to be listened to, as there can be no peace or just resolution to this tragic situation without attention to their point of view and recognizing that Palestinians do have rights. History shows this is the key to settling such disputes. In a society that says it encourages democratic values and free speech, it would be a more persuasive statement if those in power allowed more balanced news coverage on the Palestine struggle and a diversity of information and views on this vital matter.

Next article – Letter

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