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There Can Be No Peace Without an End to Occupation

Daoud Kuttab photo
Daoud KuttabAmman
There Can Be No Peace Without an End to Occupation
Daoud Kuttab argues that the two-state solution cannot be discussed as long as the Israeli occupation continues

Out of nowhere this week, two prominent individuals came out in support of the two-state solution as the best way to move the dormant Palestinian-Israeli conflict forward.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, whose organisation is part of the comatose Quartet, spoke at a special session of the UN Security Council in New York about the need for a negotiated solution. “I strongly urge the incoming government to reaffirm Israel’s commitment to the two-state solution,” Ban said. 

At the same time, Noam Chomsky and the voluntarily exiled Israeli academician Ilan Pappe produced divergent points of view. While Pappe, known for research into the Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948, urges the scrapping of the two-state solution and the adoption of the one-state option, Chomsky backs the two-state idea. 

These ideas endorsed by the UN head or the MIT professor are not new. They reflect the vast majority of worldwide political thinking as the easiest and fastest way to resolve the nearly half a century of Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. 

What is new is that neither of these men gave any new direction as to how to accomplish this goal in light of the rejection of the current Israeli leader and the majority of Israelis who voted for him in last March’s Knesset election.

It is true that shortly after winning the election (largely due to the statement that there will be no Palestinian state) Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to backtrack, but it would be hard to find any respected Israeli or international figure who does not believe that what Netanyahu said on the eve of the elections is what he truly believes and what apparently most Israelis also agree with.

So with the Israeli prime minister and his supporters not interested in the idea of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel as the optimum solution to the conflict, what does that leave Palestinians and the world with?

To change the Israelis’ mind, or to produce the two states, only two options are available: a military one, to liberate Palestinian lands; or non-violence. 

Many Palestinians of all political stripes, including the leadership, are committed to the non-violent path. But help is needed for us to go down this path. 

As long as Israel is comfortable with its occupation and is not paying a political and economic price for it, there is hardly any possibility that it will end its military occupation and its colonial settlement enterprise. 

In his book, Chomsky backtracked from an earlier position in which he opposed the worldwide campaign to ‘boycott, divest and sanction’ Israel. The BDS effort attempts to follow the successful example of the international movement that ended the apartheid rule in South Africa. 

Ban also addressed the problem of continued Israeli settlements by calling for a freeze of the illegal Israeli building efforts in the occupied territories. But still, he wants Palestinian-Israeli talks to resume, although all evidence shows that such talks will only produce more delay and obfuscation by the rogue Israeli regime that gains, rather than loses, from its occupation.

Instead of talking about a two-state solution (or even a one-state plan), a more appropriate public discussion should be simply about how to end the Israeli occupation.

It is unacceptable that a decade and a half into the twenty first century, we still have a foreign country ruling over nearly four million people, using unchecked military power to do so.

People as influential as Chomsky and Ban must stop talking about a two-state solution and join the effort to find an end to this despicable crime called occupation.

 

Photo credit: Ramyelshayah 2013 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Give.jpg

#Israel, #Palestine, #Ban Ki-Moon, #Noam Chomsky

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