By William A. Cook
‘Our goal is two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security,’ (President Obama) such is the illusion that resurfaces to restart the peace negotiations that will stabilize the mid-east. For 63 years that “goal” has been the carrot held before the people of the United States and Britain as the ultimate resolution for the Israeli/Palestinian crisis. In reality there is nothing in the statement that is true.
The Israeli government, from its inception in May of 1948 to now, has never had as its “goal” two peoples in two states living in peace and security. Indeed, the opposite has been true: “What should be obvious now, after the carefully researched and scholarly work of Dr. Pappe (The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine) and …Dr Morris (Righteous Victims), …complemented now with the materials preserved by Sir Richard C. Catling, is the truth about the creation of the State of Israel: the acceptance of UN Resolution 181 by the Jewish Agency Provisional Government as the designated Jewish State was not done with intent to abide by the goal of the UN General Assembly—to provide a state for two peoples in the land of Palestine—but rather to use it as a means to gain eventual control of all the land and cleanse that land of its indigenous people to whatever extent possible.” (The Plight of the Palestinians 6). In truth the Jewish Agency, from 1939 to the Declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel, acted as a colonial power taking by force the land of the indigenous peoples and maintains that policy to the present day. Jeff Halper tracks over nineteen illusory “peace proposals” aborted by the Israeli government in his detailed article “The Problem with Israel” (11-23-2006 in The Plight of the Palestinians).
If the Israeli government never had as a “goal” peace with the indigenous people, the facts on the ground today clearly establish the consequences of the Israeli intent to eradicate the possibility of a Palestinian State. A cursory look at a map of what remains to the Palestinians now demonstrates the impossibility of a viable state.
1. Close to 500,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements throughout the West Bank linked by a series of highways traversing Palestinian land serving Israelis only. This means that citizens of another state populate major segments of the proposed Palestinian state and use highways that interconnect to Israel but are not useable by the state that owns the land.
2. The eastern border of the West Bank, the Jordan River, is no longer the eastern border since Israel has determined unilaterally that it needs a second border for security purposes lest enemies fire rockets or gain access to Israel from Jordan. The land theft here confiscates the richest agricultural land in Palestine as well as major water resources thus denying the Palestinian people necessary subsistence resources for the proposed state.
3. The entire West Bank is surrounded by an imprisoning wall, a 400 mile barrier of cement and steel that locks the people of Palestine inside with all egress and ingress controlled by the Israeli military. While the Palestinians have welcomed the possibility of UN Peace Keepers along the border of the green line, Israel refuses to relinquish its control.
4. The Israelis have successfully divided the West Bank into three subareas surrounded by the IDF and the wall making a contiguous state impossible without the complete compliance of the Israeli government. The 500 checkpoints within the West Bank would be removed one assumes should a state be proposed in time; but that has not been determined even now.
5. Finally, Gaza sits isolated from the West Bank on the edge of the Mediterranean surrounded by the IDF with Egyptian support on the south. The Israeli navy ensures Israeli control in international waters.
A future state for the Palestinians is a mirage; the peace pretense is in fact a delaying tactic to ensure that such a state never exists. No state can be viable without borders that it controls unhindered by another state. No state can exist that does not control the continuity of access to its land, its water, including the sea, and the airspace over it. No state has the right to take by force another people’s land, to confiscate its most productive arable areas, to steal its aquifers, to deny it the right to self-defense, to dictate what laws it will live by, to build on land within the borders of another and transfer its people to those settlements, and no state has the right to imprison another state with walls of cement and steel determining thereby the borders of that state. It should be clear by now that a state for the Palestinians cannot exist and the peace talks brokered by the United States is a farce.
But if the future state of the Palestinians is a mirage, the present Israeli State mocks the definition of a nation State; a true state has jurisdiction over a given territory. The state of Israel refuses the demarcation of its borders and refuses to abide by the United Nations resolutions that demand it return the land it has illegally occupied to the people of Palestine. Given this defiance, the possibility of establishing “two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side” can be construed as nothing less than hypocrisy.
Let’s be absolutely clear about “peace in Palestine.” There cannot be a resolution of the crisis between Israel and Palestine unless the United Nations wrests total control of negotiations from the United States. Obama must realize by now that Israel is determining what will be negotiated, when it will be negotiated, with whom it will be negotiated, and at what time it will cease to be negotiated. He must also realize that Israel is using him as a patsy to delay resolution so that Israel can leverage more military ordinance and more billions from the United States knowing full well that nothing will result from these meaningless talks. And, finally, Obama must understand by now that he can achieve nothing from Israel because the Congress of the United States is owned by Israel, virtually every one of them, more than two thirds in the House and 100% in the Senate. As a result, nothing he might hope to accomplish by way of equity of resolution can be brought into the open without the Congress crying foul against the victimized Israelis. He is literally a slave in the office of the Presidency, shackled to the demands of Israel; his only option is defiance.
Defiance means publically recognizing the hypocrisy of America pretending to serve as an objective broker for peace when in fact Israel speaks for America. As matters stand now in Palestine, Israel occupies virtually the entire land area of Mandate Palestine and controls the little that remains to the Palestinians. For Obama to bargain a delay in further construction of illegal settlements when the real issue is the removal of all settlements from Palestinian land if there is to be a distinct state of Palestine is the height of hypocrisy to say nothing of ridiculousness. To bargain with a man, Mahmoud Abbas, who does not legally hold office or speak for all Palestinians, leaving the justly elected Hamas party out of the room, is equally hypocritical and ridiculous. To bargain a just settlement from this reality is nothing less than a sham.
Peace cannot exist unless justice exists. That means a return to the premises that the UN in 1947 used to create “two states living side by side in peace and security.” How ironic, but how true. Based on UN resolutions since that date, Israel must be forced to relinquish all illegally obtained land by action of the Security Council with America abstaining. By this one act, Obama can free himself from Israeli control, free America to act justly toward both Palestinians and Jews, and show the world that it is no longer tethered to the defiant state of Israel. Allowing the UN resolutions to be acted upon by the world’s communities enables that body to reclaim its purpose as a union created to resolve disputes and foster equity among its members. For Obama, his defiance will bring him everlasting rewards as a man of principle, of morals, and of compassion, a man who wields only the banner of justice against entrenched power thereby freeing the American flag to unfurl above the White House unencumbered by the chains that have secured it to the will of a few at the expense of the many.
– William A. Cook is Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His most recent book, The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction is now available at Macmillan publishing or through Amazon and other book sellers. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.drwilliamacook.com.