As the onslaught on the Palestinian people continues and the hundred-year conquest of Palestine enters what may be its final stages, efforts by the Israeli, Zionist and Jewish establishments to silence any remaining criticism of Israel and Zionism intensify. At the centre of these efforts is the claim that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism. Critics of Israel are warned that whilst like any other democratic state, Israel is open to criticism of its policies, any criticism of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is, by definition, anti-Semitic.
Whenever I light a cigarette I think of B. I last saw him in the beautiful, moonlit city of Nablus. To meet was a huge risk for him but he wanted to say “until we meet again”. I hadn?t made it to an earlier rendezvous, and was sad that I had missed him ? he knew, so he came back at a very dangerous time when the soldiers were in the city! To my profound sorrow, some four months later he has finally been trapped and captured in Raffidiya during an Israeli occupation army undercover operation in which his brother was also dragged in shackles from his bed.
The Palestinians cannot hope for a just solution of their cause anytime soon. Sharon knows that. This is why he is calling on the Palestinians to accept a long-term transitional settlement while threatening them with unilateral moves, including the wall. Both Sharon and his deputy, Ehud Olmert, are in favour of unilateral action towards the Palestinians. Since an acceptable settlement cannot be expected under Sharon the Palestinians should focus on consolidating and maintaining national unity.
The young man singing on the stage in the Geneva auditorium could easily have been Egyptian. His face would not have been out of place on the streets of Cairo, yet his name was Aviv Geffen and he was singing in Hebrew. The sound was wonderful, the song was for peace and the audience was made up of a few hundred Palestinians and Israelis, men and women of all ages gathered in this lovely Swiss city to proclaim their common commitment to peace and brotherhood. I should have been moved. I wasn’t.
If all things go as planned, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will likely meet this week or the following one. For some time, the peoples of the region and outside officials and observers have been awaiting this important meeting. In fact, this meeting has been awaited ever since Sharon took power in the 2001 Israeli elections.
FATEH Rejects the Geneva Accord
For a short time after the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian struggle was marked by protracted diplomatic attempts to bring about a two-state solution to the Occupation. In all the negotiations, people forgot that the projected state was only ever an interim objective of the Palestinian liberation movement, whose principle founding goal was the right of refugees to return to land that was stolen from them by Israelis in previous conflicts. After years of prevarication by Ehud Barak, and suppression by Ariel Sharon, the Oslo process has hit a brick wall. In this translation of their ruling on the Geneva Accord, FATEH (the Palestinian Liberation Movement) make plain that the Palestinian state is no longer the issue; only recognition of the right of return will end the conflict.
What sense is there in attempts to blur the boundaries of the definition of the term and the phenomenon it identifies by claiming that racism against the Arabs is a form of anti-Semitism because the Arabs are Semites too? Why implicitly acknowledge this ethnic racial term, as though it were scientifically sound, and subsume ourselves beneath it? Racism against the Arabs does not have to be described as anti-Semitic in order to be condemned. Nor did hatred of the Jews in Europe arise because they were Semites.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat recognized Israel on 78% of the land of Palestine in hopes of being allowed an independent state on the remaining 22%. Many “deals” since then failed because, as Amnesty International puts it, they fail to recognize the importance of human rights. The media is now trumpeting the latest in this line of agreements: the Geneva understandings. Guided by an imbalance of power, Palestinians would be asked to abrogate the right of return to their homes and lands and to recognize Israel not as a state of its citizens but as a state “for the Jewish people.”
The world has finally come to its collective senses by explicitly acknowledging that Israel?s 37-year military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem must come to an abrupt end in order for peace in the Middle East to have even a remote chance of success. With this belated awakening, a fair and frank question has come to the forefront. Will the Palestinians accept the end of the Israeli occupation as their cue to cease, once and for all, their five-decade struggle to correct the historic injustices done to them? The easy answer is no.
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