Palestinian leaders recognized Israel on 78% of the land of Palestine as part of the defunct Oslo accords. Now they are asked to recognize Israel not simply as a state but as a “Jewish state” and forfeit the most elemental of their people’s human rights. What this means is that the victims of Israeli colonialism are expected to certify that it is OK for Israel to remain the only country in the world that identifies its lands as belonging not to its citizens but to “Jewish people everywhere”. This means that the Palestinians accept that Israel which caused the largest remaining refugee problem in the world can break international law and basic human rights and refuse to allow refugees to return to their farms, businesses, homes and lands (all simply because they are not Jewish). The Palestinians must recognize that Israel can remain the only country in the world that gives members of a particular religion (including converts) automatic rights (citizenship, land, homes, subsidies) that supersede and mostly replace those of “citizens” and native people who belong to other religions. Israel grants automatic citizenship to any individual who has one Jewish grandparent while denying citizenship to native Christians and Muslims simply for being of the wrong religion.
Israel is the only country in the world whose legitimacy does not flow from rights of self determination of natives but Zionist claim of biblical authority. Of course there was a UN general assembly resolution in 1947 which called for partition of a native land to give 55% of the land to a colonial people who at the time represented 30% of the population and owned 7% of the land. Yet, this same resolution, while unfair and accomplished by much arm-twisting by the US, rejected any population transfer and insisted on Internationalizing Jerusalem, on an economic union, and on free movement of people (all these provisions where unacceptable to the Zionist movement).
Armed and supported by the British Empire and then the US (today’s Empire?), the Zionist movement grew to become a dominant political/military ideology. In the process, this movement succeeded in removing over 70% of the native inhabitants of the land of Palestine and precipitate unrest and violence that is now engulfing many other areas of the world. The majority of Palestinians were made refugees or displaced persons and the remaining are losing their lands daily.
The foreign policy of the only remaining superpower was hijacked by Sharon’s Zionist cronies in DC (Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Wurmser and their cabal of “neoconservatives”). They are content to lead us into endless “preemptive” wars for “securing the [Israeli] realm” (as Perle and company put it in a 1996 document submitted to the Israeli government). CNN/MSNBC/Fox and US politicians beholden to special interest money help perpetuate this historic injustice and shield the public from the truth.
Israel violated over 70 UN Security Council resolutions and was protected from 35 others by US veto. Israel is also in direct violations of International law including the 4th Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and yet receives aid in direct violations of US law. Sharon and Bush speak of “eventually” having a Palestinian “state” but this is analogous to South Africa speaking about having states for blacks (what became known as Bantustans or large Ghettos). The only difference is that South Africa never insisted that the appointed rulers of those bantustans recognize South Africa as a “white state.” But no native people have ever succumbed to their oppressors, however ruthless, unless natives are annihilated, a difficult task in the 21st century. That is Israel is the only country in the world with members of the cabinet who openly support transferring (read expelling) the remaining natives to neighboring countries.
This ethnic cleansing was already done partially in 1947-1949 and in 1967 but it only made Palestinians more attached to their homeland and more determined than ever to return. So isn’t it time to think outside the box? Isn’t it time to think of a one state for all its people? Isn’t it time for Israel to abolish its racist laws? If we want democracy in that part of the world, we should start with our own client states. So cut off US massive taxpayer subsidy to Israeli apartheid and boycott it until it evolves into a democracy for all (Jews and non-Jews alike) and implements international law. Everything else has been tried before and is a proven sham.
(Dr. Mazin B. Qumsiyeh is Chair of the Media Committee, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition.)