FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

All Roads Lead to Checkpoints

by REMI KANAZI

There may have been a period when all roads led to Rome, but for the Palestinian people, all roads lead to checkpoints. The latest checkpoint Palestinians find themselves at is not manned by Israel but rather the ostensible mediator of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the Quartet (which is comprised of the US, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations).

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas came to this latest checkpoint on behalf of the Palestinian people in hopes of passing through and finding an extension of the peace process on the other side. The reason Abbas wasn’t permitted through: for the first time since the passing of Yasser Arafat, he refused to leave the interests of the Palestinian people behind.

Abbas has yet to fully learn a fundamental lesson: the more willing the circus animal jumps through the ringleader’s hoops, the more hoops the ringleader will demand the animal jump through. Sidelining the needs of Palestinians is not the equivalent of flexibility. Acquiescing to the Quartet’s demands may make good headlines in the West, but it will not make life easier for the 3.8 Palestinians living in the occupied territories. The 86 million dollars the US planned to transfer to Abbas was nothing more than a bribe to sell out his people. The formation of a unity government comprised of Hamas and Fatah, known as the Mecca agreement, was the right step for the Palestinian people, and the right decision for Abbas.

The first goal of the unity government was to end the factional strife between Hamas and Fatah. The second goal was to end the policy of starvation, which was emplaced upon the Palestinian people by the West and Israel subsequent to the overwhelming election of Hamas in last year’s parliamentary elections. The Palestinian government cannot properly function if it lacks the funds to satisfy the salaries of the Palestinian population and their malnutritioned families. Given the US’ rhetoric and its initial rejection of the unity government, there is no reason to believe that there will be significant economic improvement in the occupied territories. Therefore, unrest will continue to be the status quo and, unity or not, the occupied territories will continue to fall apart at the seams.

While Abbas has been viewed as a moderate alternative to Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has found little use for him. Olmert views Abbas as someone to turn to only when the US needs it. Unfortunately, the only time the Bush administration deems it necessary for a rejuvenation of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is when a fresh debacle sparks increased debate on the Iraq war (i.e. Bush’s stunning failure to sell the troop “surge” to the American people). The other players in the Quarter have done little to exert their influence on the US or Israel. Independently, British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, asserted that there are “sensible” players in Hamas with whom the West can talk with. Convincing the US that moderate forces exist within Hamas is not simply an arduous task; it is a mission Blair is unwillingly to take on. This lack of backbone is a problem that plagues the European Union, the United Nations as well as European and Arab states in general.

The latest rekindling of the peace process was nothing more than a few photo-ops for Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice and an official reaffirmation that the Palestinians “won’t shed their terrorist ways.” What remained missing from the speeches made by Rice and Olmert as well as the news outlets that covered this week’s events were Israel’s responsibilities under the first phase of the roadmap. Phase one of the Roadmap does call upon the Palestinian people to recognize Israel and renounce violence. But it also calls upon Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including activity “needed” for natural growth. Israel, however, has done quite the opposite; it has accelerated settlement activity and has refused to tear down its illegal outposts. Furthermore, even after a dramatic decrease in Palestinian violence-and a marked increase in Israeli violence-Israel has done nothing to improve movement conditions throughout the West Bank and continues to use collective punishment against the people of the occupied territories.

Under international law and multiple UN resolutions, the conditions of phase one of the roadmap is not a lawful prerequisite to ending the Israeli occupation. The occupation is not a structure Israel has any right to. Ending the occupation is not dependent upon whether the Palestinians officially recognize Israel and its right to exist, nor is it dependent upon the Palestinian people verbally renouncing violence.

Even if one were to look at the terms of the Quartet’s demands, in principle Hamas has met the three conditions set forth. Since 2005, the group has abided by a self-imposed cease-fire and has indicated the possibilities of a long-term hudna (truce) on several occasions. While Hamas does not verbally “recognize Israel,” it has admitted that Israel exists and has not sought its destruction, a point which is reinforced by their calls for a long-term hudna. Thirdly, Hamas has repeatedly said it is willingly to negotiate with Israel through an interlocutor such as President Abbas. Both parties, Hamas and Fatah, base their political platform on the two-state solution-the internationally recognized route to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hamas is not the same organization it was in 1988 and treating it like is only serves the agendas of those who are disinterested in peace and prefer domination and the continuation of the status quo.

The besiegement of a people can only erode moderation, foment hatred, and bring Palestinians and Israelis back to darker times. This may be the plan for many in the Israeli administration and it surely bodes well for many in the US administration, but it does nothing for peace, and only dims the prospects of a future that must be met with an end to occupation, an end to economic sanctions, and a beginning of reconciliation based on justice for both peoples.

REMI KANAZI is the co-founder of the political website www.PoeticInjustice.net. He is the editor of the forthcoming book of poetry, Poets for Palestine, for more information visit Poetic Injustice. He can reached via email at remroum@gmail.com.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 01, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Fictitious Economy: Hiding How the Economy Really Works
Joseph Natoli
The Fourth Estate vs. the Trump Regime
Kim C. Domenico
A Deconstruction of Whiteness: Unsafe Among My Own Kind
Yoav Litvin
American Dystopia – A Future of Racists, Snitches and Outcasts
Dan Glazebrook
From Kissinger’s Playbook: Flynn is Gone, His Russia Policy Lives On
Peter Mayo
Storming “Fortress Europe” in Search of a Social World
Sam Gordon
The Audacity of Sacrilege
Arnold August
Fidel, Political Power and the New Culture of Communication
Linn Washington Jr.
Black History in Cyberspace: British 3D App Game Features Forgotten Facts
Norman Pollack
Trump’s Neo-Fascist Discourse: CPAC Revisited
Nyla Ali Khan
Women in Conflict Zones: Escaping Masculine Socialization and Generating a Transformative Vision
Sam Husseini
Questioning Pelosi and Schumer
Jesse Jackson
Private Prisons Slam the Door on Justice
February 28, 2017
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
A Paradigm Shift in the Middle East: Iran as the Solution, Not the Problem
Paul Street
Big Brother Capitalism Strikes Back
Stephen Cooper
Trump’s Pusillanimous Immigration Policy Imperils the Public and the Police
Vincent Emanuele
The Madness of U.S. Empire
Michael Sainato and Chelsea Skojec
We Need the Endangered Species Act Now More Than Ever
David Underhill
Oops, They Did It Again: Crowd Bowls Over Rep in Beery Alley
John Eskow
Jimmy Kimmel is a Total Dick and Other Reflections on the Oscars
Steve Horn
Trump’s Top Energy Aide, Mike Catanzaro Peddled Climate Change Denial
Jack Random
The Trump Diaries: Week Five
Robert Fisk
The Education of Marine Le Pen
Pauline Murphy
Felicia Browne’s Fight Against Fascism
Mary Lynn Cramer
Fearing the Trump Impeachment
Mel Gurtov
While Our Attention is Elsewhere, Climate Change Worsens
Dan Bacher
Extinction 2017: California Edition
Abel Cohen
The Trojan President: America Never Saw It Coming
February 27, 2017
Anthony DiMaggio
Media Ban! Making Sense of the War Between Trump and the Press
Dave Lindorff
Resume Inflation at the NSC: Lt. General McMaster’s Silver Star Was Essentially Earned for Target Practice
Conn Hallinan
Is Trump Moderating US Foreign Policy? Hardly
Norman Pollack
Political Castration of State: Militarization of Government
Kenneth Surin
Inside Dharavi, a Mumbai Slum
Lawrence Davidson
Truth vs. Trump
Binoy Kampmark
The Extradition Saga of Kim Dotcom
Robert Fisk
Why a Victory Over ISIS in Mosul Might Spell Defeat in Deir Ezzor
David Swanson
Open Guantanamo!
Ted Rall
The Republicans May Impeach Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Why Should Trump―or Anyone―Be Able to Launch a Nuclear War?
Andrew Stewart
Down with Obamacare, Up with Single Payer!
Colin Todhunter
Message to John Beddington and the Oxford Martin Commission
David Macaray
UFOs: The Myth That Won’t Die?
Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail