FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Clarifying the Obstacles to Peace in Palestine

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:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
August 16, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Uncle Sam was Born Lethal
Jennifer Matsui
La Danse Mossad: Robert Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein
Rob Urie
Neoliberalism and Environmental Calamity
Stuart A. Newman
The Biotech-Industrial Complex Gets Ready to Define What is Human
Nick Alexandrov
Prevention Through Deterrence: The Strategy Shared by the El Paso Shooter and the U.S. Border Patrol
Jeffrey St. Clair
The First Dambuster: a Coyote Tale
Eric Draitser
“Bernie is Trump” (and other Corporate Media Bullsh*t)
Nick Pemberton
Is White Supremacism a Mental Illness?
Jim Kavanagh
Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit
Andrew Levine
Have They No Decency?
David Yearsley
Kind of Blue at 60
Ramzy Baroud
Manifestos of Hate: What White Terrorists Have in Common
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The War on Nature
Martha Rosenberg
Catch and Hang Live Chickens for Slaughter: $11 an Hour Possible!
Yoav Litvin
Israel Fears a Visit by Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib
Neve Gordon
It’s No Wonder the Military likes Violent Video Games, They Can Help Train Civilians to Become Warriors
Susan Miller
That Debacle at the Border is Genocide
Ralph Nader
With the Boeing 737 MAX Grounded, Top Boeing Bosses Must Testify Before Congress Now
Victor Grossman
Warnings, Ancient and Modern
Meena Miriam Yust - Arshad Khan
The Microplastic Threat
Kavitha Muralidharan
‘Today We Seek Those Fish in Discovery Channel’
Louis Proyect
The Vanity Cinema of Quentin Tarantino
Bob Scofield
Tit For Tat: Baltimore Takes Another Hit, This Time From Uruguay
Nozomi Hayase
The Prosecution of Julian Assange Affects Us All
Ron Jacobs
People’s Music for the Soul
John Feffer
Is America Crazy?
Jonathan Power
Russia and China are Growing Closer Again
John W. Whitehead
Who Inflicts the Most Gun Violence in America? The U.S. Government and Its Police Forces
Justin Vest
ICE: You’re Not Welcome in the South
Jill Richardson
Race is a Social Construct, But It Still Matters
Dean Baker
The NYT Gets the Story on Automation and Inequality Completely Wrong
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Retains Political Control After New US Coercive Measures
Gary Leupp
MSNBC and the Next Election: Racism is the Issue (and Don’t Talk about Socialism)
R. G. Davis
Paul Krassner: Investigative Satirist
Negin Owliaei
Red State Rip Off: Cutting Worker Pay by $1.5 Billion
Christopher Brauchli
The Side of Trump We Rarely See
Curtis Johnson
The Unbroken Line: From Slavery to the El Paso Shooting
Jesse Jackson
End Endless War and Bring Peace to Korea
Adolf Alzuphar
Diary: What About a New City Center?
Tracey L. Rogers
Candidates Need a Moral Vision
Nicky Reid
I Was a Red Flag Kid
John Kendall Hawkins
The Sixties Victory Lap in an Empty Arena
Stephen Cooper
Tony Chin’s Unstoppable, Historic Career in Music
Charles R. Larson
Review: Bruno Latour’s Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime
Elizabeth Keyes
Haiku Fighting
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail