“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” [Nelson Mandela, 1997]
When people talk about peace negotiations, you will often hear them talk about compromise. ‘Both the Palestinians and the Israelis need to compromise.’ Today I would like to explore this option.
To-date, the Human Rights Council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel alone, than it has all the other states combined. Since 1948, Israel has violated over 75 UN resolutions as well as the Fourth Geneva Convention that is a cornerstone of international humanitarian law. The US vetoes all major resolutions against Israel and so they either do not get passed or are not even brought to vote. Because of this, Israel acts as it pleases and remains unaccountable for its actions.
For more than a decade now, Israel has been running an iron fist policy to clamp down on the Palestinians, it has been actively cleansing the indigenous people of their land by illegally demolishing their homes, colonizing their land and raiding their villages; not to mention the curfews, collective punishment and ghettoization all at the expense of establishing the newly founded state of Israel for the Jews.
Israel starves the Palestinian economy dry by restricting land and water usage, access to international markets, liquidity of money supply and natural resources. It deprives the Palestinians of their legal right to any potential revenue sources. The Palestinian Ministry of National Economy recently published a report assessing the costs of the occupation on the Palestinian economy. And I quote,
“The total costs imposed by the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian economy which we have been able to measure was USD 6.897 billion. In other words, had the Palestinians not been subject to the Israeli occupation, their economy would have been almost double in size than it is today.”
If we delve deeper into the water issue alone, the World Bank published a report in 2009 stating there is 2.4 billion cubic meters of pure water available yearly in the region, of which Israel utilizes 90%. Israeli settlers consume seven times more water than Palestinians and yet pay one fifth of the price the Palestinians pay.
I have only just brushed the surface by the way, and that’s without even mentioning the Palestinians in Gaza. For anyone who is not too clued up on the situation, naturally you would think both sides need to compromise to come up with an agreement right?
Unfortunately, this is no longer the reality of the situation. Israel has squeezed the Palestinians of anything they initially had to compromise with. Actually, the only thing the Palestinians have left is the right of return of the millions of refugees, which although technically and physically is becoming impossible, it remains an understandable symbolic lynch point on the political and diplomatic front.
There is no compromise that can be done by the Palestinians. What we are witnessing day in day out is the measures Israel is putting in place to engulf the whole of the West Bank and Washington is allowing them to do so. Even the UN resolutions that do eventually get passed are often watered down for fear of being vetoed by the US.
Unfortunately we still speak of Israel’s violent crack down on any type of organised political or social action. It maintains its grip on the Palestinian people by silencing them and undermines anyone in the international community who questions Israel as a Jewish state. It maintains its iron fist policy and the commoditisation of fear as its main defence against another uprising from Palestinians from within and without.
Perhaps the best hope for the Palestinian people exists in the young Arab and Jewish Israelis; the new generations who can build the foundations to a future solution. Without major initiatives within Israel and the West Bank, no sustainable long-term solution will ever be achieved.
I wanted to finish today’s post with a quote I read recently that I could relate to.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”