Cheers for a Palestine by Name, Forget the Rights
As a result of the nascent and historical UN acceptance of Palestine as a “non-member” state which holds the equivalence of the Vatican’s status, there has been a sensation which needs to receive a reverberation of reality. This sensation is an over-emotionalism absent of the recognition with the implications that lay beneath the UN approval, this sensationalism purports in Facebook posts and screams for liberation that Palestine has been born and that this is a huge step toward future peace.
These are sadly false and exaggerated.
Although the symbolic significance of how the international community has distributed the blame on the laps of Israel and the US is more apparent despite uncountable warnings to the US and Israel over its current policies, the US and UK backing of Israel still allows it to act with impunity. The power of the UN has always been meaningless. For example, the UN condemned the US invasion of Iraq, yet it occurred and we still have Iraqi refugees without adequate rights. These refugees have a land whether it is Iraq or the nation they currently reside in, but they struggle for RIGHTS and security. Nevertheless, it does comfort the wounds already suffered by Palestinians in the moral realm. It is also a “last chance” to save the two state solution as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stated.
The truth is that Palestine has “non member” prominence which means it is atrophied from full recognition as a state in the United Nations, an attempt which failed prior to the recent acceptance by the Untied Nations of Palestine as the equivalent as the Vatican’s eminence. It can participate in certain instruments of the United Nations, but in a limited manner which I admit gives the Palestinians a modicum of political leverage. Palestine must also seek “member states” to represent it in the UN. It does not have EQUAL RIGHTS as other constituents.
I have seen many comments which have been arising over the claim that Palestine can use the International Criminal Courts to press charges against Israel. Though theoretically POSSIBLE, realistically this will not occur and even if it does, neither Israel or the US are bound to its decisions. It holds more symbolism than what others like myself desire, meaningful actions but most importantly, RIGHTS.
One of the biggest problems Palestinians and everyone else intimately and indirectly involved with the conflict seem to have is discerning the differences between a name, land, and rights. You can call the entire land of Palestine/Israel, Palestine, and even fly the beautiful Palestinian flag high at Al Kudds/Jerusalem, yet if the status quo remains intransigent and Palestinians are continuously oppressed and segregated from the most quantitative and qualitative resources in Palestine, has anything really changed? If all of the Jewish and Israelis agreed to leave Palestine and migrate to the US , consequently allowing all Palestinians to return to their lands based on the sole condition that the former Israelis would benefit from all future sales of resources within Palestine, would it make a difference? Would a second Palestinian state beside Israel make a difference in the long run after everything?
Land is an important physical representation of RIGHTS. The name of this land is a conceptual representation of RIGHTS. Yet the main ingredient humans all over the world strive to ascertain is RIGHTS, EQUAL RIGHTS. From my experience with working intimately with refugees from Syria to Jordan and those suffering penury in America and the Middle East, EQUAL RIGHTS is the common aspiration of a human in this life. RIGHTS which God has implanted in all of us.The denial of these rights is oppression, and Palestinians share this burden and chains around their ankles, with many across the world and in history.
How those RIGHTS are defined is between the Israelis and Palestinians. It is ostensible to the international community that Israel has less ambitions in this relationship as is clear with the UN votes for Palestinian’s “non-member” privilege. Yet Israel and Palestine should embrace the axiom I have listed in the preceding paragraph and not let frustration in this quest deteriorate into arrant hostilities, or the nadir of apartheid.
Although my stance on the issue of Palestine has been persistently contrary to the presumptions of US President Obama’s, US Ambassador to the UN Condoleeza Rice’s, and Secretary of State Clinton’s; I have to say this time, I shudder quickly at the thought that I am compelled to agree with their comments unambiguously.
“Today’s grand pronouncement will soon fade and the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed, save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded,”
“A path to a two-state solution that fulfils the aspirations of the Palestinian people is through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York”.
“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N.,”
Let me disabuse some further clear fallacies I have been reading about this event on Facebook.
One Facebook user stated in support of a second Palestinian state,
“A bird in the hand is better than another 64 years of nothing. America Indians can’t eliminate USA just as Israel is not going to disappear… the “real” revenge is to thrive and develop a working Palestinian economy despite the hardships.”
Sacrificing for an inclusive and Democratic state is very possible and it doesn’t necessarily entail hate, as some assume (some perceive that a one state solution translates into the destruction of the Jewish culture and rights). Similar enigmas of conflict have existed in many situations across the globe within the pages of history and it is very possible to apply in the Palestine conundrum. Although there are Palestinian voices that emphasize angry rhetoric in regards to the formation of one state, there are just as many voices that desire cultivation of peaceful coexistence, whose vernacular does not entail this. furthermore, what one says and does are two different things.Moreover, we should expect that Israel and the US will make the economy for Palestinians scream (as Nixon said about Salvador Allende in Chile) after their embarrassment in the UN.
Another Facebook user stated about the one state solution,
“It’s unachievable. If Palestine can get most of the pre-67 borders and the right to return, it should be taken. I know it’s all Palestine, yet, it’s unachievable.
If I have an illness and years are lost, will I except a cure at 50 or lose it all? The answer is rhetorical. Take the 67′ borders and shun Israel in perpetuity.Remember Star Wars…’Don’t give into hate, Luke.’ “
As we see in the two prior posts, the error in reasoning is that a one state solution coalesces with the idea that violence is an intractable condition of that aspiration, that it is unattainable, and that there will be economic stability with a second Palestinian state.
To ignore the pre-conditions of peaceful coexistence before this nightmare all began, is to be so exhausted from injustice and the pursuit of its anathema, that one is willing to capitulate for the sake of trading justice, even the tiniest fabrication of it, for temporary peace. That is in fact what one will ascertain with two states.
The psychological underpinnings of persistent indoctrination by both sides, the desire for rights, and the anger fizzing underneath the decades of injustice will not dissipate nor can be assuaged nor erased with borders/walls. Thomas Jefferson was wrong with the African American example, the Russians were wrong in Berlin, it was wrong in South Africa, and had Ghandi lived further he would have declared it wrong in Pakistan/India. We all seem to suffer amnesia due to emotionalism over recent latent actions, in understanding how borders/walls used to carve up territories during colonialism have exacerbated peaceful coexistence and augmented animosities between cultures, which continues today.
“It will probably be asked, Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the state, and thus save the expence of supplying, by importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave? Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race. –”
“Here is a demonstrative proof, of a plan got up, by a gang of slave-holders to select the free people of colour from among the slaves, that our more miserable brethren may be the better secured in ignorance and wretchedness, to work their farms and dig their mines, and thus go on enriching the Christians with their blood and groans. What our brethren could have been thinking ubout, who have left their native land and home and gone away to Africa, I am unable to say. This country is as much ours as it is the whites, whether they will admit it now or not, they will see and believe it by and by. They tell us about prejudice–what have we to do with it? Their prejudices will be obliged to fall like lightning to the ground, in succeeding generations; not, however, with the will and consent of all the whites, for some will be obliged to hold on to the old adage, viz: the blacks are not men, but were made to be an inheritance to us and our children for ever!!!!!! I hope the residue of the coloured people, will stand still and see the salvation of God and the miracle which he will work for our delivery from wretchedness under the Christians!!!!!!…We have tilled the ground and made fortunes for thousands, and still they are not weary of our services. But they who stay to till the ground must be slaves. Is there not land enough in America, or ‘corn enough in Egypt?’ Why should they send us into a far country to die? See the thousands of foreigners emigrating to America every year: and if there be ground sufficient for them to cultivate, and bread for them to eat, why would they wish to send the first tillers of the land away?…This land which we have watered with our tears and our blood, is now our mother country, and we are well satisfied to stay where wisdom abounds and the gospel is free.”
When Chinese and Japanese Americans faced decades and centuries of discrimination and violence against them in America, they did not pick up their valuables and leave (albeit some did) nor did they demand their own American state. Nor did African Americans albeit there was a very strong movement in the African American struggle that sought this. Why? Simple. The best resources would be reserved for the powerful. Furthermore, the years of indoctrination of hatred, misunderstandings, and fear between people can never be made better or improved with borders or walls. It is an affront of human nature, an anathema of what God intended for us all. Those pushing for a second Palestinian state are repeating the faults and mistakes of the American Colonization Society and that second Palestinian state is a modern version of Africa, another Liberia.
What disturbs me in glancing at the Facebook posts above is, someone actually dared to use the Native American example to support the implication that the two state solution is absolutely exigent for peace in the Palestinian and Israeli debacle. The irony is, the obliteration of North American indigenous culture was precisely a result of both sides demanding their own nation while attempting to live side by side, with recognized borders. It didn’t work, and in recent events across the Atlantic Ocean, it will not work again.
Why? The same Palestinian animosity of losing and desire for retaking their lands, used by some to augment the idea that a two state solution is mandatory to quench the conflagration of war, will not disappear. There is no counter-faucet to pour cooperation, understanding, and love with borders; instead there is lingering hatred waiting to explode from a volatile stalemate.
The two state solution is a symbolic gesture which brings a smile on my face and happiness. However, I am a theoretical AND pragmatic activist; let us not have another occurence of amnesia to the fact that Israel still needs to be dealt with for the longevity of peaceful coexistence and despite me not flincing one eyelash at Israeli threats ever, there is no doubt that a response is coming and my prediction is it will be a slow and excruciating quagmire to punish all that embarrassed them in the UN. The last “maxim” is what seems to be ignored in the commentary above by those who are quickly speaking as if the conflict is finished. Naivette if this be the case.
What should be expected:
Legislative bills will be pushed to remove the PLO office from Washington DC. Hopefully, it will fail.
The funding by Israel and the US to the Palestinian Authority will be revoked in addition to UN funding while there will be simultaneous efforts to stymie trade and economic cooperation since the Oslo Accords.
There will be accusations in the ICC thrown by both sides against each other with no materialization of results. If the Palestinian Authority’s complaints are admitted.
Israel will feign incompetence to past security agreements and even discreetly encourage more factional fighting within the Palestine groups while simultaneously tightening security at the borders.
There will be more arrests and detentions by Israel. Israel will also be reluctant to pursue negotiations and diplomacy in the future.
The next perceived provocation against Israel will result in a more ruthless response by Israel than before and my conjecture is Hamas will feel the brunt of it along with our brothers and sisters in Gaza.
We must stay united and expect the worse as a response. It is not over by far. We are fighting for something more valuable than land, we are fighting for posterity.
We have in history many great people who sacrificed their lives and more after them for peace. Many of them did not see the fruit of their efforts when they died yet they continued to struggle. Why? They refused to be so selfish as to hold a temporary peace in the air with marching bands playing and confetti dropping, so as to earn their own praise and temporary moment in history. Instead they fought for a lasting peace for their posterity.
Now our future aspirations will be more difficult as Israel will seek retribution and do so using economic means to punish Palestinians. Our efforts will be made more difficult, which are the next steps toward peace, ending the blockade and replacing aid with trade. Time after time, efforts of the elusive peace in this turmoil have led to disappointment. Why? The continuous misconception that a fait accompli political bill from the top-to-bottom approach will solve this macabre. If there is a REAL change for longevity, the stimuli must be a bottom-to-top approach, a catalyst from the grassroots level.
Stand strong and firm everyone. Remain vigilant, honest, and realistic. Although we have ascertained a step,this is not over by far. It does not require a UN acknowledgement for me or some to know that there is a Palestinian state and people nor does this action remind us that the world supports Palestine. I am satisfied that it does so for some though.
It takes many steps, not one, to leave the footprints for the rest of the world to follow.