FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Holes in the Road Map

by ILAN PAPPE

The “road map” in the Middle East is leading nowhere. Even those who were still harbouring some hopes about it in recent weeks must now admit that it is dead for all intents and purposes.

This should not surprise anyone who is familiar with the history of peace-making in the Middle East. The map has all the deficiencies of the previous abortive attempts to solve the conflict, while having none of the merits included in the efforts of the past.

The previous attempts had something in common: they evaded the real issues at the heart of the matter, but at least in most cases they were born out of a genuine concern with the conflict and its victims. They were orchestrated by American and European mediators who adopted usually the Israeli and not the Palestinian point of view. According to the latter view, the conflict in Palestine began in 1967 with the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Hence, peace meant an Israeli withdrawal from these areas. The Camp David accord in 1979, and then the Oslo process in 1993, tried to persuade the Palestinians that the best they can get was establishing in these areas a Bantustan with no sovereignty, territorial integrity or a capital. Additionally, the Palestinian leaders were asked to forsake the only reason for their struggle ever since 1948–fulfilling the right of return of the refugees who had been expelled by Israel in 1948–a right recognised by the UN in 1948.

The Palestinian leader, and later president , Arafat refused to sanction such a deal as a final settlement when asked to do so in Camp David in the summer of 2000. The people under occupation rose once more when the humiliating offer was made by Clinton and Barak in that summer.

The recent road map was a brainchild of Tony Blair, who understood that global opinion found it hard to accept his and Bush’s explanations for the invasion of Iraq. The war in Iraq was presented as a precondition for peace in Palestine (this was just one station in many on the train of excuses Blair and Bush are using in order to justify the war).

Palestine is to be divided into two huge prison camps that would be called a state with no independent foreign or economic policy or territorial continuity. Anyone willing to be its leader will be the chief warden, making sure that the people do not rise again against the brutal occupation.

This occupation has not changed in nature since 1967. Long before the Palestinian suicide bombs, Israel terrorised the occupied territories: demolishing houses, starving communities with closures, expelling people and harassing them daily on roadblocks. The road map does not offer any significant change in this respect, nor did the Oslo accord before it. No wonder it is hard to find a Palestinian leader who can accept it. Sharon’s plan is to leave the Palestinians a mere fragmented 10 per cent of historical Palestine with no solution for the refugee problem. The next intifada and a next war in the Middle East can be the only result from such an offer. What is needed now is a different and more comprehensive approach. The end of the occupation is a precondition for peace. This barren truth was not recognised even by well-intentioned peace-makers in the area. For genuine peace to be achieved, Israel has to be made accountable for the expulsion of almost all the Palestinians who lived in 1948 in the areas which became the Jewish state (which constituted 78 per cent of the original Mandate Palestine). If Israel does not admit to its 1948 ethnic cleansing through the recognition of the right of the Palestinians to return, why should its leaders genuinely bother with the fate of the remaining 22 per cent of Palestine in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip?

A just solution to the heart of the matter–the refugee problem–can probably best be served by constructing a unitary or a bi-national state involving both Palestine and present-day Israel. This would be based on the principles of human and civil rights that would enable the people living in between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean to attend to other issues–women’s rights, ecology, human economy and poverty. Any other way, as the past has shown, will perpetuate the conflict in the torn land of Palestine and Israel.

Dr. ILAN PAPPE is an Israeli historian at Haifa University.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
Rob Seimetz
Measuring Manhoods
Edward Curtin
Sorry, You’re Not Invited
Vern Loomis
Winning the Lottery is a State of Mind
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway”
David Yearsley
The Ethos of Mayfest
May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail