By Hasan Afif El-Hasan
The passing of year 2014 must be marked by the Palestinians as another year of no state no prospects for a peace deal and no justice, only dashed dreams, broken promises and empty rhetoric. Most Palestinians recall how they were optimistic and looking for a better future a year after the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords by the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Yasser Arafat on their behalf. A year after the ceremony of signing the Oslo Agreement, Arafat crossed the border into Gaza as a triumphant hero returning to his home-land and cheered by thousands of jubilant Palestinians who hoped that life under occupation would end soon. Vast majority of the Palestinians including those who opposed the Agreement like, Haider Abdul Shafi who had been critical of the Accords, and those who did not like Arafat’s management style, welcomed his return for its symbolism. Only Hamas openly voiced its disapproval of the Chairman return. Its spokesman said, “Arafat visit is shameful and humiliating, as it occurs in the shadow of occupation and submission.”
Gaza was home of the 750,000 Palestinians who waged the seven-year first Intifada uprising that led Israel to recognize the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinians and made the return of Arafat possible. Arafat promoted the Oslo Accords as the “peace of the brave”, a great triumph that would lead to the creation of a sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital in very short time. He promised to deliver a vibrant viable state, economically prosperous no less than Singapore or Hong Kong, and many Palestinians believed him and were euphoric.
When the Accords agreements fiasco were activated and the Palestinian Authority (PA) was established, the agreements turned out to be a scam designed to recognize the State of Israel on 78% of historic Palestine and no restrictions on colonizing the remaining 22%. When Arafat and his associates discovered that the agreement they signed was a deliberate strangulation of the Palestinian national struggle, it was too late to reverse the conditions of occupation, dependency and submission.
Today and ten years after Arafat’s suspicious death, there is no Palestinian State, Gaza is besieged and in ruins, no right of return for the refugees, no removal of any settlement, no change on Israel’s position of annexing Jerusalem and its surroundings, and Israel demands recognizing Israel as a state of the Jews.
Jewish settlers are joyously loitering in the hills of the West Bank and Arab Jerusalem, attacking the Palestinians, and burning mosques, torching olive orchards, harassing farmers and travelers? Judging by the looks of the plaid-clad, gun slinging Jewish settlers walking the occupied lands, an outsider would think these are law-less gangs reminiscent of the nineteenth century European ivory trade colonialists in Africa, or the nineteenth century US wild-west outlaw settlers posing threats on the land and intimidating the Native Americans. The settlers are the product of Israel’s religious and political institutions collective behavior and its national policy of promoting the superiority of the Jewish people and the disregard for the human rights of others.
The Israeli writer Uri Avnery wrote that the Haggadah text in the Torah that tells the mythical story of the Exodus where “God” “encouraged the Ancient Israelites to steal their neighbor’s [the Canaanis] lands. The Exodus story sets the standards of the behavior of the Jewish people, and it is used by the Israelis for indoctrinating their youth to steal the Palestinians’ lands today.”
Yitzhak Ginsburg is an American-born Israeli rabbi, the president of the “Old Yosef Chai Yeshivah.” He lives in the settlement of Yitzhar in the West Bank south of the Palestinian City of Nablus. He wrote in his book ‘Kingdom of Israel’: “The Land of Israel should be settled by those who chose to become the people of God and observe his Torah. People today are too shy to say that the People of Israel is a Light unto the Nations, afraid to say that an Arab professor is less smart than a Jew.”
What kind of people who seriously believe that an idiot person that happened to be a Jew is more intelligent than a smart person who happened to be an Arab! Are we not all the children of God? Ginsburg wrote an article in 1994 praising Baruch Goldstein for murdering 29 Palestinian worshippers in the Mosque of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Many Ginsburg’s Israeli supporters and like minded elites are policy makers in the government, in the Knesset, in the military, and in the class-rooms. This is how Jonathan Garb, Chairman of the Department of Jewish Thought in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, described Ginzburg: “ Ginzbur greatly expanded his support base. His associates in different periods include writers, artists and radical political activists…”
Israel has become a lawless state and a “voodoo society” according to Avraham Burg, a previous speaker of the Knesset. It refuses to terminate its occupation of Palestinian lands as demanded by many UN resolutions. Instead of complying with international obligations as an occupying power to desist from taking any actions which would result in changing the legal status, geographical nature or demographic composition of the Palestinian territory, Israel annexed Arab Jerusalem, built hundreds of Jewish-only settlements and hundreds of road miles on confiscated Arab lands.
It deports and expels inhabitants of the occupied land and demolishes villages and houses. It denies the right of the refugees and the absent Palestinians from returning to their homes. Israel assassinates, detains and jails tens of thousands of Palestinians including children. It ill-treats and tortures many for resisting the occupation peacefully. Other forms of aggression include the siege, the genocide and starvation of Gaza, which has been devastated by so many attacks, the roadblocks that have divided the West Bank into separated cantons, the routine arrests of Palestinians in the West Bank cities and villages, the contempt for Arab life, and the practices in the city of Jerusalem where Judaisation projects are consistently under way.
The silence of the self-righteous international community hypocrites in the face of Israel’s intransigence, the ongoing occupation, the siege and starvation, the genocide and destruction of Gaza, and the constant disregard for UN resolutions and international law, allows Israel to think that it can get away with even more violations of international norms and signed conventions. Israel has no plans to recognize the Palestinians rights as long as it is getting unconditional support of the US. Based on the US experience as a British colony, its policy makers cannot provide a respectable rationale for supporting Israel’s actions to deprive the Palestinians of their natural rights. The case is simple: the Palestinians seek freedom from Israel’s tyranny and Israel seeks free land and cheap Palestinian blood.
It is time for the US policy makers to live up to their conscience and the principles of the US Declaration of Independence from England “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness.”
– Hasan Afif El-Hasan, Ph.D. is a political analyst. His latest book, Is The Two-State Solution Already Dead? (Algora Publishing, New York), now available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.