By Rima Najjar
There is no doubt that Israel and its allies want the world to believe that Palestine is a lost cause. Richard Falk, who served as the United Nation’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, recounts a conversation he had with the French ambassador to the United Nations at the end of his tenure as rapporteur:
“Let’s face it: the conflict is over, Israel has won, the Palestinians have been defeated, and there is nothing more to be done or said. I am not happy about this, but this is the reality. We should move on.”
Falk’s response to the defeatist, hopeless statement of the French ambassador is a deeply insightful one:
“Palestine is not a lost cause, and that even if it were a lost cause from the perspective of realism, a continued commitment to it is greatly preferable to defeatist resignation and indifference toward such a grossly unjust outcome of such an epic struggle.
“My deeper conviction is that the appearance of Palestinian defeat is an optical illusion that hides the probability of eventual Israeli defeat—that while Israel is winning one war due to its military dominance and continuous establishment of “facts on the ground,” Palestine is winning what in the end is the more important war, the struggle for legitimacy, which is most likely to determine the political outcome.”
In as far as the struggle for legitimacy is concerned, Israel today is losing that struggle.
With the end of the so-called “peace process” and the exposure of Israel’s true settler-colonial goals in Palestine, the assault by activists on the legitimacy of Israel’s existence as a Jewish state is now in the open as never before.
First, Israel’s veneer as a “democratic state” came crashing down with evidence mounting (and often coming from the mouths of Israeli politicians themselves) about the degree in which Israel continues to discriminate against its Palestinian Arab citizens.
In his book Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide, Ben white highlighted Israel’s Apartheid from within. The UN report titled Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid goes a step further and defines Israel’s Apartheid as a crime perpetrated against the Palestinian people as a whole.
And although such delegitimization remains marginal where Western politics is concerned, in the public arena it makes headway by pointing to the international laws and values the West itself has put in place.
In question also is the legitimacy of the establishment of Israel and the partitioning of Palestine. The real story keeps surfacing despite Israel’s propaganda over the decades on how it was created.
The common representation of Israel’s birth is that the UN created Israel, that the world was in favor of this move, and that the US governmental establishment supported it. All these assumptions are demonstrably incorrect.
In reality, while the UN General Assembly recommended the creation of a Jewish state in part of Palestine, that recommendation was non-binding and never implemented by the Security Council.
Second, the General Assembly passed that recommendation only after Israel proponents threatened and bribed numerous countries in order to gain a required two-thirds of votes.
At the same time as Israel is dramatizing its own delegitimization in the media by brutally pushing back against Palestinian protesters, the legitimate claims of Palestinians are finding voice in the world arena as never before through the increasingly successful campaign of BDS, which is being amplified by the support of Jewish groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Jews for Palestinian Right of Return.
But most of all, Palestinian legitimate claims are pushing through into the world’s consciousness by virtue of their indomitable steadfastness, heartbreaking sacrifice, and courage, decade after miserable decade that no “facts on the ground” have shaken or are likely to shake.
Israel is a rogue state on track to be internationally isolated as a pariah state.
-Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.