FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

One and Only One Road to Peace for Israel and Palestine

On October 12, at a donors’ conference in Cairo, participants pledged US$ 5.4 billion toward the reconstruction of Gaza. However, numerous participants noted that repeatedly paying to reconstruct what had been destroyed – and was likely to be destroyed again – was an insufficient response and that the core problem must be addressed. However, no original ideas for addressing it were offered.

The core problem is the occupation, now in its 48th year. It was addressed the following night when the British House of Commons voted overwhelmingly (274-12) in favor of the United Kingdom’s extending diplomatic recognition to the State of Palestine “as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution”, implicitly while its entire territory remains under belligerent occupation and without Israel’s prior permission. On October 3, the new Swedish prime minister had announced his government’s intention to recognize the State of Palestine, thereby joining the 134 other UN member states, encompassing the vast majority of mankind, which have already done so.

Europe should not stop there. Imagine that all of the 20 European Union states which have not yet recognized the State of Palestine were to do so and that the EU were then to announce that, if Israel did not comply with international law and relevant UN resolutions by withdrawing fully from the occupied State of Palestine by a specified date, it would impose economic sanctions on Israel and intensify them until Israel did so.

Europe is not simply Israel’s principal trading partner. It is Israelis’ cultural homeland, with many Israelis viewing their country as a “European villa in the jungle”. It is even Israelis’ sports homeland, with Israeli teams competing in European football and basketball competitions. If Europe were to adopt and pursue a firm and unified position of constructive disapproval along these lines, the writing would be indelibly on the wall and the end of the occupation and the transformation of the current two-state legality under international law into a decent two-state reality on the ground would become unavoidable, a mere question of when rather than of whether.

Then, and only then, meaningful Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the practical modalities of ending the occupation and structuring future peaceful and cooperative coexistence could begin.

One may well respond that, of course, Europeans would never dream of taking such an initiative. It is true that Europe has traditionally preferred smooth and non-contentious relations with the United States and Israel, even when such subservience runs counter to its proclaimed values and interests and further fuels the multi-decade war of civilizations between the Muslim world and the West now taking shape, to applying non-violent pressure consistent with international law to achieve peace with some measure of justice in Israel and Palestine.

However, this does not mean that Europe is incapable of breaking free from the American imposed orthodoxy that a Palestinian state can and should never exist, even on a purely legal level, without Israel’s prior consent or incapable of acting wisely and in accordance with European values and interests.

Oddly, since Israel has never defined its own borders, an act which would necessarily place limits on them, a principal argument of the Israeli government and its supporters against diplomatic recognitions of the State of Palestine is that Palestine does not have defined borders. In fact, Palestine does have clearly defined borders, and they were confirmed in the overwhelming (138-9) November 29, 2012 UN General Assembly vote confirming Palestine’s “state status” as “the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967”.

Both Israel and Palestine now have “internationally recognized borders”. For Israel, they encompass all of Mandate Palestine conquered prior to 1967 – nothing more and nothing less. For Palestine, they encompass all of the remaining part of Mandate Palestine, conquered in 1967 – nothing more and nothing less. No country, not even the United States, recognizes any other borders for either state.

Of course, states are always free to redraw their borders with other states by mutual agreements feely entered into, and, if Israel is ever to agree to end its occupation, some land swaps or, in the case of Jerusalem or emotionally charged parts thereof, some sharing of undivided sovereignty over territory are likely to be agreed to.

Most of those who proclaim themselves “pro-Israel” or who genuinely care about the welfare of Israelis and non-Israeli Jews (not necessarily the same people) profess to support a “two-state solution” and realize that the perpetuation of the current one-state reality would nullify the Zionist project if transformed into a fully democratic state and make Israel a despised pariah state if perpetuated as today’s effective apartheid state.

Such people should ask and answer a simple but essential question: “Is the Israeli government more likely to negotiate seriously with a genuine desire and intention to reach a definitive peace agreement ending the occupation if most Israelis feel that such an agreement would best serve their interests and enhance the quality of life for them and their children or if most Israelis feel (as has been the case for at least 20 years) that maintaining the status quo of occupation and continuing settlement expansion is preferable to any realistically realizable agreement?”

There being only one coherent answer to this question, “friends of Israel”, whether opportunistic or genuine, should shout that answer out to all who would accuse them of being insufficiently “pro-Israel”.

One and only one road to peace with some measure of justice in Israel and Palestine exists. It is open. It remains to be seen whether European leaders have the political will, wisdom and courage to start down that road.

John V. Whitbeck is an international lawyer who has advised the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel.

More articles by:

John V. Whitbeck is an international lawyer who as advised the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel.

Weekend Edition
July 03, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Peter Linebaugh
Police and the Wealth of Nations: Déjà Vu or Unfinished Business?
Rob Urie
Class, Race and Power
John Davis
A Requiem for George Floyd
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mutiny of the Bounties!
Richard D. Wolff
Revolutionary Possibilities: Could U.S. Capitalism Turn Nationalist?
Richard Falk
When Rogue States Sanction the International Criminal Court
Louis Proyect
Smearing Black Lives Matter…From the Left
Ralph Nader
Trump and Pence – Step Aside for Professional Pandemic Scientists and Managers
Ramzy Baroud
Tearing Down the Idols of Colonialism: Why Tunisia, Africa Must Demand French Apology
Philippe Marlière
Challenging the French Republic’s Color-Blindness
Richard C. Gross
Attack, Deny
Lee Camp
Connecting the Dates – US Media Used To Stop The ‘Threat’ of Peace
Steve Martinot
The Desire to Kill
David Yearsley
The War on Kitsch
Amy Eva Alberts Warren – Rev. William Alberts
Why are Certain Christians Democratic and Others Authoritarian?
Lawrence Davidson
Covid Madness
Brian Cloughley
Britain’s Disorder and Decline
Ellen Taylor
The US Military Has Its Knee on the Throat of the World
David Rosen
White Nationalists on the Attack
Jeff Cohen
Politicians of Color Should Not be Immune From Criticism
Joseph Natoli
Drawn Away from Reality in Plain View
Frank Joyce
Give Me Liberty,  Give You Death
Jonah Raskin
My Adventures in the Matriarchy
Paul Street
The Racist Counter-Revolution of 1776
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Corruption of the Democratic Party: Talking to Ted Rall about his new book
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Trump’s Record on Foreign Policy: Lost Wars, New Conflicts and Broken Promises
Paul Edwards
A Bridge Too Far
Jennifer Joan Thompson
How to Do Things With Theses: Chile’s National Police Force Sues the Feminist Artistic Collective, Las Tesis
Shawn Fremstad
Vacations for All!
Thomas Knapp
A Modest Proposal for Compromise on “Confederate” Military Bases
Vijay Prashad, Eduardo Viloria Daboín, Ana Maldonado, and Zoe PC
Venezuela’s Borderlands Have Been Assaulted by COVID-19
Thom Hartmann
COVID Masks: The Latest Faux Conservative Outrage
Jesse Jackson
Mandatory College Football Practices in Time of Pandemic are Nuts
Nicholas Vincenzo Barney
Consensus Politics on the Fringe: The Intellectual Dishonesty of the Intellectual Dark Web
Ted Rall
The Data is Clear: Progressives Should Boycott Biden
Joshua Tartakovsky
Sergei Khrushchev: An Eulogy from His Close Student
Theresa Church
In Reconsidering ‘Normalcy’ Genetically Engineered Trees Do Not Belong
Chelsea Carrick
Let’s Not Lose Momentum
Adam Rissien
Sorry Secretary Perdue, Our National Forests are Not Crops
Paul Gilk
A Few Theoretical Percentages
Thomas S. Harrington
“New Corona Cases”:  A Phrase That’s Tells us Very Little, if Anything,  About the Actual Levels of Danger We  Face
Claire Chadwick
I Got COVID-19 at Work. I Won’t be the Last
George Wuerthner
The Upper Green River Should be a National Park, Not a Feedlot
Julian Vigo
Profiteering in the Era of COVID-19
Ravi Mangla
Policing is Not a Public Good
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail