No peace at all

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THE latest peace plan for the Middle East has been dismissed by those affected by it as ‘a slap in the face’. Others called it the ‘bust of the century as countries rejected the proposal based on its one-sided slant toward the Zionist state.

The so-called "deal of the century", announced by US President Donald Trump last Tuesday, has already been rejected by the Arab League. In a statement last week, the organization said the plan "does not meet the minimum rights and aspirations of Palestinian people".

More recently the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – the OIC Secretary-General Yusuf Bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen said any solution to the Palestine issue "must be based on the establishment of a sovereign and a geographically integrated Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

"We renew our commitment to continuously engage in efforts aimed at achieving peace, security, stability, and justice, in accordance with international resolutions and the Arab peace initiative." He also reaffirmed the OIC’s support for "the Palestinian Authority and people's choices".

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan stressed his country insists on a comprehensive solution "that guarantees the rights of the Palestinian people to establish a state with East Jerusalem as its capital." He said Saudi Arabia will back efforts for negotiations to "end the dispute via a comprehensive solution that protects the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people."

The OIC said the meeting at the level of foreign ministers would "discuss the organization's position" on the US administration's so-called peace plan. "The OIC reaffirms its principled position and support for Palestine in the struggle to regain its legitimate rights, including the establishment of an independent and sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital," read the statement. It said the solution to the Palestine issue must be in accordance with international law, relevant UN resolutions, and the Arab peace initiative.

Peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict cannot be achieved without the proper representation and participation of the oppressed and without the recognition of their full rights. Illegal settlements being built by the Israeli government on Palestinian land in full violation of international law while simultaneously dangling the carrot of a one-sided peace plan does not bode well for future peace.

Many in the West called the latest proposal an open ticket to Israel to legitimize its apartheid policies. But this is not the first time that such a charge has cropped up. In 2012, Hagit Ofran of the Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now denounced Netanyahu’s government for encouraging and legitimizing new settlements ‘in a deceitful way.’ She said, “The Israeli government is proving its true policy, that instead of going to peace it is building new settlements.

This is the first time since 1990 that the government of Israel decides on establishing new settlements, and the government's maneuver, of establishing a committee to establish the settlements, is a trick aimed at hiding the true policy from the public. All the years these outposts weren't legal, the state said they aren't for real, and now they suddenly are.”

Noted American author and icon Noam Chomsky added his own thoughts to the fray. An 86-year-old Jew and an individual who had lived through the holocaust of World War II, Chomsky said: “I thought 40 years ago and I think today that people who call themselves supporters of Israel are, in fact, supporting its moral degeneration, its increased international isolation and possibly its ultimate destruction,” he said.

“I think these policies are suicidal and immoral. To the extent that Israel is threatened, it’s Israel’s own choice. For the past 40 years, Israel has pursued a policy very consciously of preferring expansion rather than security,” he asserted.

A prominent Israeli journalist Bradley Burston, who writes for Haaretz, an Israeli paper, said: “I used to be one of those people who took an issue with the label of apartheid as applied to Israel. I was one of those people who could be counted on to argue that, while the country’s settlement and occupation policies were anti-democratic and brutal and slow-dose suicidal, the word apartheid did not apply.

“I’m not one of those people anymore. Not after the last few weeks. Not after terrorists firebombed a West Bank Palestinian home, annihilating a family, murdering an 18-month-old boy and his father, burning his mother over 90 percent of her body — only to have Israel’s government rule the family ineligible for the financial support and compensation automatically granted Israeli victims of terrorism, settlers included.

“I can’t pretend anymore. Not after Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, explicitly declaring stone-throwing to be terrorism, drove the passage of a bill holding stone-throwers liable to up to 20 years in prison. The law did not specify that it targeted only Palestinian stone-throwers. It didn’t have to.

“Just one week later, pro-settlement Jews hurled rocks, furniture, and bottles of urine at Israeli soldiers and police at a West Bank settlement, and in response, Benjamin Netanyahu immediately rewarded the Jewish stone-throwers with a pledge to build hundreds of new settlement homes. This is what has become of the rule of law. Two sets of books. One for Us, and one to throw at them... Apartheid.”

Indeed, peace under such circumstances is no peace at all.

The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena


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