Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon–”the little teapot, short and stout–”is making a comeback. He ditched the outdated threads of his radical Likud to prance in the open fields of peace with favorite “doves” like Shimon Peres. The word on the street is that Sharon will be changing his last name to Gandhi before visiting with militant groups in the Occupied Territories to find out what they’re all so mad about. The people of West and the nearsighted Israeli public are biting this propaganda, hook, line and sinker, while the Palestinians are left to rummage through the trash bin of peace.
If one were to examine the mind of the Butcher of Beirut, one could see where “peace” will lead the Palestinian people. Peace will not lead the Palestinians to the internationally recognized 1967 borders (22 percent of historic Palestine) because Arik doesn’t believe in “land for peace.” What will the new “generous offer” be? A semi-autonomous Gaza Strip used as bombing practice by Israel and small non-connecting cantons in the West Bank cut off by settler roads, “security” checkpoints, and a towering “barrier” reminding Palestinians of what prison walls look like. Where do I sign?
According to the PM’s top advisor, Eyal Arad, Sharon will introduce a new equation, “security for independence.” Arad argued that the issue of land is not central to the conflict, contending that security is the real complication. Arad is correct in giving weight to security. Over the last five years Palestinians have been bombarded by Israeli gunship helicopters armed with hellfire missiles and occupied by tanks which have killed hundreds of lives and destroyed billions of dollars worth of infrastructure. We can’t forget the American made Caterpillar D-9 bulldozers that demolished thousands of Palestinian homes and helped build the insidious path of the Apartheid Wall. I wonder when the Palestinian people will feel one ounce of security from their occupiers?
Nevertheless, we must not overlook the importance of independence. The Palestinian people, as outlined in UN Resolutions 242 and 338, deserve independence from an illegal occupation. For the past 38 years Israel continuously violated the Palestinian people’s fundamental human rights. This ran concurrent to the killing of hundreds of Palestinian children by Israeli forces and the wounding of tens of thousands more. These tragedies were compounded by the annexation of Palestinian land, the instillation of curfews, checkpoints, and water deprivation, as well as the building and expansion of Israeli settlements, Israeli only roads, and military posts. While Sharon diminished the importance of land, Arad, speaking on behalf of the Palestinian people without permission, claimed that Palestinians only “really” care about independence. Arad claimed, “What the Palestinians sought was not really territories that they could control and run in the form of the Camp David proposal. What they really sought was independence.” Has Arad acquired the analytical skills to understand the Palestinian psyche or did he just take a chapter out of the South African Apartheid playbook?
The Israeli advisor claims that the 1967 borders for peace won’t work because, “If you look at the bare statistics, since the Oslo agreement terrorism has increased many many times.” What Arad curiously omits is that if you look at the “bare statistics,” illegal Israeli settlements that shatter the 1967 border have expanded “many many times” since the Oslo agreement.
The Palestinian people, including the refugees of 1948 and 1967, are well deserving of land, as stated under multiple UN resolutions. Resolution 194 explicitly states, “The refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.” The resolution continues to state, “the Governments or authorities responsible” should compensate “those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property.” In 1967, Resolution 242 called for Israel to withdraw from “territories occupied” and this call was reaffirmed in Resolution 338.
Arik bungled the equation. His military mind came up with “[Israeli] Security for [Palestinian] independence.” But now that he is training to become the new champion of peace he must realize that [Palestinian] land, security, and independence equal Israeli security. The problem with Oslo and every other “good faith” agreement is that they weren’t peaceful: they were interest-filled propaganda for the public, while the status quo was maintained on the ground. If the little teapot wants to rid himself of his disgruntled neighbor, he must revert to an equation that is fair for the Palestinian people, making the issue of security a problem of the past. History shows, however, that Mr. Short and Stout only tips one way and unfortunately it’s not in the direction towards peace.