FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Last Moment of Hope

by ILAN PAPPE

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the Palestinian uprising and may well be the last moment for making peace in Israel and Palestine. Peace is not only important for the people who live there. It will pay dividends to the world and especially to the United States.

This is because a prolonged conflict in Palestine will destabilize the Arab world and allow its leaders to continue ignoring urgent issues such as poverty and democracy. The unsolved Palestinian question means that that the age of colonialism is not over and that dealing with poverty or liberty can be described as a luxury. As long as the Palestinian refugees who were expelled by Jewish newcomers in 1948 cannot return home and as long as the military occupation of the territories conquered by Israel in 1967 persists, there will be no lasting solution. No peace proposal to date has offered a fair solution to either the Palestinian refugees or those continuing to live under a brutal military occupation.

This perception of Israel as an aggressive relic of a colonialist past is widespread in the Muslim world. And it has ominous implications for the United States. Israel could not have uprooted close to a million Palestinians in 1948 and occupied another two million for the past 38 years without American support. Indeed, American taxpayers foot the bill for a $3 billion annual grant. This financial backing, combined with unremitting diplomatic support, has enabled Israel to sustain the longest occupation of another people in modern times.

Here are the horrors inflicted on the Palestinians that are witnessed by people across the Arab and Muslim world: widespread home demolitions, the confiscation of private property for the construction of Jewish-only settlements and Jewish-only roads and the expulsion of Palestinian Christian and Muslim people. And their wrath is not always limited to protesting Israel, the occupier and expeller. They sometimes also challenge –with condemnable terror –the United States, whom they see as the superpower behind the oppressor. The US does not need to be embroiled in a tense relationship with a fifth of the world population.

And yet this is a moment of opportunity. It is unrelated to the Gaza pullout, which has turned out to be an internal Israeli ploy to substitute direct occupation with an indirect one. The opportunity is a very American one, reminiscent of the civil rights struggle fought by and behalf of African Americans.

Despite their expulsion and occupation, anyone who has visited Palestine and who has Palestinian friends would tell you that, just like other human beings, Palestinians simply wish to be treated as equals. They yearn for a normal life, next to, and with the Jews in the tiny land of Palestine and Israel. If Christian and Muslim Palestinians were offered the kind of equality with Jews in Israel that all Americans now enjoy, they would accept it with open arms.

No Israeli government in history, backed by the US, has offered equal rights to the Palestinians, either in Israel or in the occupied territories. Israel has always demanded a Jewish majority and exclusivity in the shared land, while allowing, in the latest peace proposal, an impossible Palestinian state over a fragmented 8% of historic Palestine. More generous Israelis offer a few more percent.

Snippets of Palestinian territory, reminiscent of South African Bantustans –as the failed Oslo accords have proven –is a recipe for more bloodshed. It will drag the United States even more deeply into an endless conflict –one which could be solved today by embracing the very values Americans hold dear: equal rights and justice for all.

ILAN PAPPE, a senior lecturer in political science at Haifa University, is a leading Israeli historian and equal rights advocate.

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail