Thursday, February 3, 2011

The World's Short Memory is Israel's Green Light

 January 31 2011
Dear Supporters,

1948 Lest We Forget: these words which stand for the campaign we have launched in June 2006 were not chosen lightly. In fact, a similar campaign was started by the writer in New York City back in June 1968 during the heyday of the Vietnam War protests which engulfed many great capitals around the world at that time. Those protests lead eventually to the end of the Vietnam War.

Only one year earlier, in June 1967, Israel had launched a pre-meditated invasion of its neighbours and illegally occupied (until this very day) all of historic Palestine including the city of Jerusalem. Invaded, occupied, annexed, ethnically cleansed - words that have one common meaning or denominator: the zionist aim, declared in 1897 by the founding father of Zionism Theodor Herzl, to turn Palestine into a home for the Jewish People within 50 years. That goal was achieved 51 years later with the establishment of Israel in 1948 on 52% of historic Palestine. That 52% of historic Palestine was awarded to the Jews of Europe less than 6 months earlier in November 1947 by the newly established United Nations which felt no guilt whatsoever in chopping up a land of one indigenous people to award it to a people of many lands.

That Partition Plan was formalised under UNRES 181 and gave, by default, the green light to the zionist forces to move initially against Palestinian towns and villages located within the half of the country granted to the Jews and, immediately afterwards, to invade the half allocated to the Palestinians until they were forced to halt their aggression in 1949 with the establishment of the Armistice Lines (the Green Line). By then, the Zionist forces had ethnically cleansed more than 550 Palestinian villages and driven out more than 800,000 Palestinians out of their homes and into miserable refugee camps inside Palestine and in the neighbouring Arab countries.

We mention this well-know fact again and again because we believe that zionism will never rest until it achieves its main goal: that all of historic Palestine is exclusively theirs and ethnically Jewish. All the so-called negotiations which have taken place ever since have been but a mirage, a farce and a fig-leaf for zionism's persistent aim to militarily achieve an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine.

Fast forward to the recent day and the news of the massive leaks, by Al Jazeera Television Network (and serialised by the London Guardian newspaper) of over 1670 secret papers (called The Palestine Papers) documenting in minute details what went on in secret negotiations between the o-called Palestinian Authority (the PA) and Israeli negotiators. The revelations confirm once more Israel's ultimate aim to occupy and keep the whole of Palestine. This is evident in the rejection by the Israeli negotiators of one offer after another from the PA. The most humiliating and disgraceful offer made by the PA, the secret papers reveal, is how easily they bargained with the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes which they were forced to leave back in 1948. Of the millions of refugees living a miserable life in these camps, the PA would ask the zionists to allow only 100,000 to return. One wonders how such a selection process can be conducted, if at all. The other disgraceful offer by the PA is that all but one of the hundreds of illegal colonies built by Israel on confiscated Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem can remain intact in any final status agreement.

In all of these negotiations, the PA had never had the mandate or the authority from the Palestinian people whether those within the occupied territories or the millions living in the Diaspora. In that sense, the Palestine Papers are irrelevant since the PA negotiators conducting the negotiations are un-elected and do not have the mandate from the Palestinian masses. But the importance of the Papers lies in their portrayal of the PA negotiators as weak and irrelevant to both the Palestinian people they claim to speak for and also the Israelis who dismissed their offers out of hand.

What does all this mean? If negotiations are to make a meaningful sense, Palestinian negotiators must be true representatives of the Palestinian nation and this can only be achieved through fair and transparent elections which must first be freely held with the participation of all Palestinians throughout the refugee camps wherever they are located, throughout the West Bank (Areas A, B and C), throughout Gaza and Jerusalem and, equally important, with the participation of the millions of Palestinians in the Diaspora. Palestine belongs to all of them. The present PA does not.

Finally and lest we forget it, this means that 1948 remains the core issue. 1948 remains the bottom line for the Palestinians. 1948 cannot be negotiated away. 1948 remains alive in our memories. 1948 cannot be forgotten by simply wishing it away.

The world may have a short memory, but the Palestinians continually live theirs.

Antoine Raffoul



No comments:

Post a Comment