Dr. Hikmat Ajjuri
When the British government sought to terminate its mandate in Palestine, the UN, recommended a solution to the conflict between the largely immigrant Jewish communities and the indigenous Palestinian Arabs. That solution, contained in General Assembly Resolution 181, of 1947, called for the creation of two states: Israel on 56% and Palestine on 44% of historic Palestine.
Today, however, only the State of Israel exists – on 78% of historic Palestine. Consequently, Palestinians, who have suffered decades of displacement, dispossessions, and systematic denial of their national and human rights, have yet to be welcomed into the community of nations as a full member state of the United Nations.
In November 1988, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) declared the establishment of the State of Palestine in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, that is, in just 22% of our historic homeland. By limiting their national aspirations to this extent, the PLO made an historic compromise in the interest of peace.
After 65 years of misery, on the 29th of November 2012, the UN general Assembly issued Palestine with a birth certificate. However, in short of full recognition of the state of Palestine, yet I believe that recognizing Palestine, as a non-member state of The UN by 74% of its member state including Portugal is a significant step in the process of rectifying the unprecedented historical injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people since the creation of Israel in 1948.
I am certain that the Palestinians wish had this UN upgrade was a culmination of realistic negotiations between the Israelis and us. But the story of negotiations with the Israelis is a story in which one side keeps commitments that the other side ignores.
Last July the Negotiations, thanks to secretary Kerry of the US, were resumed for a limited time frame ending on the 29th of April this year. During those 9 months of negotiations, Israel as expected has done everything possible to sabotage these negotiations; Israel failed to respect its obligations of releasing the last wave of the Pre Oslo prisoners. Israel killed 67 Palestinians. Israel demolished more than two hundred Palestinian homes and increased settlement housing units by 137% of the year before.
Consequently, the question the international community should ask is not who wants negotiations but who wants solutions.
In other terms, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, views negotiations as a photo opportunity to improve his international image and as a cover and a time gaining process to steel more of the Palestinian territories. This fact was asserted by a former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir (political godfather of Netanyahu) who said in the early nineties that he would negotiate with the Palestinians for ten years without giving them anything. Another former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert said, “This government (Netanyahu´s) has, for the past four years, refused peace. It did everything possible to aggravate the moderate, peace-loving sector of the Palestinian leadership and created a situation where the extremists are encouraged, perhaps so that they can say later that there is no one to talk to”. (Haaretz, January 17, 2013).
President of the USA, Barack Obama said “Netanyahu is apolitical coward and is so thoroughly a captive of the settler lobby and so uninterested in carrying out conciliatory gestures towards the Palestinians. Obama added by saying that Netanyahu “doesn’t understand what Israel’s best interests are,” and that his conduct will drive Israel into grave international isolation. (Haaretz, 15 Jan 2013).
These American and Israeli views explain why 20 years of negotiations have failed to bring about a Palestinian state. More importantly, these – and similar European critical views of the Israeli leadership – unless transformed into deeds by forcing Israel to end its military occupation of Palestine, the current status quo of the apartheid Israeli regime in the Holy land will continue threatening stability and peace in the region and very much beyond.
Ambassador of Palestine
Article first appeared on 09.05.2014, http://www.publico.pt/mundo/noticia/as-negociacoes-uma-cortina-de-fumo-para-roubar-terra-palestiniana-1635159