As we also reported strong>here on our other blog, South Africa’s Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu has said at a literary conference in England that it was urgent to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “If we don’t solve that problem, you can give up on all other problems. You can give up on nuclear disarmament, you can give up on ever winning a war against terror, you can give it up. You can give up any hope of our faiths ever working clearly amicably and in a friendly way together. This, this, this is THE problem, and it is in our hands”. The full report was posted on The Guardian website here.
Juan Cole wrote on his Informed Comment blog on Monday (11 May) that “In my view, the central problems in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are the statelessness of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and in their diaspora, the continued military occupation or blockade by the Israelis, and the rapid expansion of Israeli colonies, which are usurping Palestinian land and rights. Until the statelessness of the Palestinians is understood and seen as the central problem that it is, there can be no real progress on the issues. Statelessness was an attribute of slaves in premodern times. The Jews of Europe in the 1930s and 1940s were the primary victims of the crime of stripping people of their citizenship in a state. It is monstrous that Palestinians should be stateless all these decades after 1948. Make no mistake; it is Israel that deprived them of statehood, which the 1939 British White Paper pledged to them, and which other League of Nations Mandates, such as French Syria and Lebanon and British Iraq, achieved. A stateless person ultimately has no rights, since it is states that guarantee rights. A stateless person may be robbed, raped, and sometimes even killed with impunity. Stateless children are often deprived of schooling. Since the property of the stateless is ambiguous with regard to its legal status, the stateless are at risk for extreme poverty. The contemporary world is a world of states, and falling between the cracks because you lack citizenship in any state is a guarantee of marginality and oppression. Apologists try to shift the blame for Palestinian statelessness from Israel to someone else. But it won’t work. The original tort of derailing Palestinian independence was Israel’s, and Israel has been the main force preventing the declaration of a Palestinian state, so it is Israel that must step up here. Other countries cannot be expected to solve a problem created by the Israelis, nor do most of the countries in the region have the economic efflorescence or governmental stability to do so. It seems obvious what needs to be done to end Palestinian statelessness. If a Palestinian state isn’t created in short order, the world is in for decades of Apartheid and political decay and consequent trouble, including terrorism and further wars. At the end of this process likely Israel will be forced to absorb the Palestinians as its own citizens, i.e. you end up with a one-state solution. The reason that there is more talk about the latter now is that it does at least resolve the central problem, of Palestinian statelessness, a problem that cannot be solved in any other way once a Palestinian state is forestalled by the massive Israeli colonization of the West Bank. (Actually I should say ‘Israeli and American’, since a third of the Israeli squatters in the West Bank are Americans)”.
Juan Cole’s post can be read in full under the 11 May date here
The Jerusalem Post’s correspondent at the United Nations, Allison Hoffman, reported this evening that “The United Nations Security Council unanimously endorsed a statement Monday calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state and pushing for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in Moscow this year under the auspices of the UN’s Middle East Quartet … ‘The outcome reflects our common interest that talks resume as soon as possible’, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters after the meeting. He added that future talks between the Palestinians and the new Israeli government should be resumed ‘not from square one’. [But] Israeli officials did not attend the Security Council meeting, citing an internal policy review by the new government ahead of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s scheduled meetings with US President Barack Obama next week in Washington. Israeli UN envoy Gabriela Shalev added in a statement that Israel also objects to Security Council involvement in the peace process. ‘This process should be bilateral and left to the parties themselves’, Shalev said in a statement”. This JPost report can be read in full
In his latest weekly article, distributed by email and to a number of media outlets, veteran Israeli peace campaigner Uri Avnery takes on Benyamin Netanyahu’s lack of bustle and vigor during his first 100 days in office. Avnery wrote there are “No plans, no assistants, no team, no nothing. To this very minute, Netanyahu has not succeeded in putting together his personal team – a fundamental precondition for any effective action. He does not have a chief of staff, a most important position. In his office, chaos reigns supreme”.
On Netanyahu’s choice of ministers, Avnery wrote that “All these appointments look like the desperate efforts of a cynical politician who does not care about anything other than returning to power, and then quickly putting together a cabinet, whatever its composition, paying any price to any party prepared to join him, sacrificing even the most vital interests of the state”.
The worst problem, Avnery stated, is in the political field, “Because there the unpreparedness of Netanyahu meets the overpreparedness of Obama. Obama has a plan for the restructuring of the Middle East, and one of its elements is an Israeli-Palestinian peace based on ‘Two States for Two Peoples’. Netanyahu argues that he is not in a position to respond, because he has no plan of his own yet. After all, he is quite new in office. Now he is working on such a plan. Very soon, in a week, or a month, or a year, he will have a plan, a real plan, and he will present it to Obama. Or course, Netanyahu has a plan. It consists of one word, which he learned from his mentor, Yitzhak Shamir: ‘NO’. Or, more precisely, NO NO NO – the three no’s of the Israeli Khartoum: No peace, No withdrawal, No negotiations. (It will be remembered that the 1967 Arab summit conference in Khartoum, right after the Six-day War, adopted a similar resolution.) The ‘plan’ which he is working on does not really concern the essence of this policy, but only the packaging. How to present to Obama something that will not sound like ‘no’, but rather like ‘yes, but’ … As a taster for the ‘plan’, Netanyahu has already presented one of its ingredients: the demand that the Palestinians and other Arabs must recognize Israel as ‘the State of the Jewish People’.”