It's time Palestinians took stock and ended the charade

It's time Palestinians took stock and ended the charade
Palestinians need to put an end to this chatter people call negotiations and call Israel out for what it is: a colonial, invading, occupying foreign power that has usurped their rights.
4 min read
20 Nov, 2014
Palestinians find themselves in frustrated despair (AFP)

To cover for the brutality of the never-ending Israel occupation, many among Israel's apologists in Washington like to repeat the mantra that "the Palestinians have neither a Mandela nor a Gandhi."


True enough. Palestinians have historically been badly led. But it is the kind of truthful dictum that seeks to camouflage a huge injustice: the perpetuation of Israel's continued occupation of Palestinian lands while keeping them decimated, scattered and denied basic human and civil right in their own land.


     Nelson Mandela would never have accepted that apartheid remain thriving in 78 percent of South Africa

But let’s also get some perspective here. The late, great Nelson Mandela would never have compromised on ending apartheid. He would not have accepted that apartheid remain well and thriving in 78 percent of South Africa, for instance. Nor he would have ever accepted that millions of South Africans should forever languish uprooted from their homes.


The Palestinian leadership has. 


Nor, for that matter, would Mahatma Gandhi ever have accepted to issue a declaration of independence ceding to the British more than three quarters of India's fertile lands and majestic forests.


The Palestinians did by acceding to the 1993 Oslo accords, signed on the White House lawn, and "sealing the first agreement between Jews and Palestinians to end their conflict and share the holy land along the River Jordan that they both call home" – as they said then.


The moral of the story here, as we examine the volatility of Israel's military occupation through the latest cycle of violence in Jerusalem that is exploding beyond predictability, is that to Palestinians now, the words then of their iconic leader, Yasser Arafat – "our two peoples are awaiting today this historic hope, and they want to give peace a real chance" – ring hollow.


Worse. Twenty-one years later, Palestinians find themselves in frustrated despair. Their land is disappearing from beneath their feet, swallowed by the encroaching monstrosity of settlements and their marauding settlers that daily and with impunity to do them horrifying harm.


There can be no doubt that the trigger which lit the fuse of violence on Tuesday is dug deep in the crevasses of pain, suffering and humiliation accumulated over five decades of military occupation, checkpoints, settlements and walls.


But we need not look far back to comprehend the rage of individual Palestinians, whether a lone driver ploughing his vehicle into a crowd of Israelis, or a pair of young men at the end of their hopeless tether unleashing their fury on Jewish worshipers as we saw on Tuesday.


We only need to look to the more than 2,200 Palestinians, including more than 500 children, who were killed in Israel's Gaza assault (the 2014 edition) this past summer, or the thousands of Palestinians imprisoned by the occupation since (1,400 underage kids among them). Or the constant land grabs and the suffocating control over Palestinian daily life exercised by Israeli soldiers always brandishing their weapons; always commanding with intent to provoke.


Let's face it. The truth of the matter is that most Israeli Jews who are not within reasonable proximity to Palestinian suffering under occupation, say in Tel Aviv or Haifa or Yaffa, have conveniently forgotten not only all those Palestinians killed, imprisoned, tortured, displaced and made destitute. They have also conveniently forgotten that there is a military occupation that their governments, past and present, enforces ruthlessly in their name against the Palestinians. It seems that decades of occupation have not managed to make them take responsibility for the brutality done in their name.


So as we watch Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declare in vintage, vengeful Likudnese his promise of what comes next, and as Israeli military bulldozers move into the slain attackers' East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabal al-Mukaber to demolish the homes of their surviving relatives, Palestinians need again to take stock of their situation and pursue a course that will ensure their survival as people and their continued presence on their land in the future.


They must reassess the painful journey of the so-called peace process that allowed Israel and its benefactors the time and latitude to render peace and statehood unattainable. To do so, they must unmask Israel and call it exactly what it is: a colonial, invading, occupying foreign power that has usurped their rights. And they must do so on a global stage, holding a watching world accountable.


They most definitely must end this "chatter" people call negotiations and allow coming generations a chance for peace and dignity on their own land.