FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Clarifying the Obstacles to Peace in Palestine

by Hussein Ibish

Two events that took place Sunday illustrated perfectly the elements of the diplomatic impasse that have prevented any serious progress toward peace in the Middle East. Israel’s ruling party voted never to allow any form of Palestinian statehood whatsoever, while three key Arab leaders reaffirmed their commitment to normalize relations with Israel if it withdraws from occupied Palestinian lands.

The Central Committee of the Likud, the party that leads Israel’s coalition government, voted that “No Palestinian state will be created west of the Jordan (River).” Supporters of the resolution, led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, insisted that Israel would never permit an independent Palestinian state of any kind in any part of historical Palestine. The vote endorses permanent Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which is the cause of the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Netanyahu was no doubt attempting to undermine Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, attacking him from an extreme right-wing position and demonstrating that he, in this case at least, commanded more votes in the Likud Committee that determines party leadership. And it is certainly true that neither Netanyahu nor Likud speaks on behalf of all Israelis.

However, the fact that Israel’s governing party would slam the door so completely on the one and only chance of resolving the conflict peacefully is an indication of how radicalized Israeli society has become in recent months. What Likud was voting in favor of is a permanent state of apartheid in the occupied territories, with Israel ruling millions of Palestinians without allowing them independence but also without granting them citizenship. As Netanyahu put it, “autonomy, yes — statehood, no.”

The problem is not simply on the Israeli right. No Israeli government has ever been willing to seriously consider ending the occupation and allowing the Palestinians a completely independent state in the scraps of Palestine still not fully colonized. No Israeli government has stopped or even slowed significantly the settlement activity designed to entrench the occupation.

The most Israel has ever been willing to offer the Palestinians, as presented by Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David in 2000, was nominal independence within a greater Israeli state: a fragmented “state” that would not even have controlled its own borders.

The Likud vote simply underscores the obvious point that as long as Israel refuses to fully end its occupation, the conflict cannot end. As things stand now, 3.5 million Palestinians live under Israeli military rule as non-citizens with no legal, political or human rights whatsoever. The commitment of the Likud party to continue that situation indefinitely is not only a prescription for endless conflict, it is an excellent illustration of the extremist policies that have forced this hideous conflict on Palestinians and Israelis alike and precluded peace. The whole world, including the Bush administration, recognizes that Palestinian statehood is the key to peace, yet Israel’s leading party remains implacably opposed to it.

In stark contrast, following a meeting at Sharm el Sheik in Egypt, the leaders of Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt reaffirmed their commitment to a peace plan adopted unanimously by the Arab League which holds that all the Arab states would create normal relations with Israel in the event of an Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands occupied in the 1967 war.

The Arab League peace plan is the only serious attempt on the table at present to rethink the peace process and meet the stated needs of all parties in a fair and reasonable manner. It would create secure and recognized borders for both Israel and a Palestinian state. All that is being asked of Israel by the Arabs in general is that it bring its troops back inside its own country, and stop subjecting millions of Arabs to colonization and foreign military dictatorship. The outstretched hand is being rebuffed. Israel’s ruling party has rejected any form of Palestinian statehood whatsoever and committed itself to a future defined by more colonization and permanent inequality. That should provide clarity to all those who wonder why there is and has been no peace in the Middle East.

Hussein Ibish is communications director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

More articles by:
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
Stephanie Van Hook
The Time for Silence is Over
Ajamu Nangwaya
Toronto’s Bathhouse Raids: Racialized, Queer Solidarity and Police Violence
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
Binoy Kampmark
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
Louisa Willcox
Delisting Grizzly Bears to Save the Endangered Species Act?
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered: a Fragment (Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre)
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail