Palestinian Question: The Narratives of Israel by Saneya Arif

Palestinian Question: The Narratives of Israel by Saneya Arif


By Saneya Arif 

Sydney Sheldon in one of his famous fictions, best laid his male muse in the newly elected young American president. This young blood had the fantasy of wiping out all the conflicts from the Middle East. Thus without informing his trusted personnel’s and the senators he planned a visit to Middle East, where he was to meet all the rulers of these countries in a yacht all alone. There in the secret meeting he tried to convince them to resolve the matter of issue among them and acquired fruitful results, when these rulers said yes for the related negotiations. Later when he returned back to his country, he informed his trusted ones about the secret meeting and the cherished results. Having known about such a euphemistic of an act being performed by the American president, they showed great resentment as what they feared was the settling of the disputes among the countries of Middle East and not its very continuation. If the issues gets resolved it will be America’s loss, the country will profit only if the issue remains.

The above mentioned belief although is endorsed with a mere utopia, yet holds similar predicaments to America’s idiosyncrasy till date. After laying down such a belief so straight against Uncle Sam, Sydney Sheldon might have suffered a writer’s block but that is totally a different part of the story. Here my attempt is to put a note to the opportunistic tendencies showcased by America in the matters between Palestine and Israel from the time immemorial in an attempt to best serve its selfish interests.

Tragedies and traumas do lie at both the Israel as well as the Arab’s part. Both boast themselves to be the real sufferers. In this paper of mine, my aim is to bring forth the realities of this Palestinian cauldron to the self made blurred eyes of the world. Cornel West says “we must keep in touch with the humanities of both sides”. I agree with him when the memories of the Holocaust flash past into my eyes. I do get swayed in the waves of sensitivity remembering the unmitigated horror of the Nazi atrocities and the genocide against the Jew’s. Yet this no longer holds the same, the moment the year 1948 struck my mind. A day before the ides of May, when Israel declared herself to be a state under the report submitted by the special commission set up by U.N.O which laid down the division of Palestine into two states, Arab and Israel. When Israel was formed America was the first one to give its acceptance to it, followed by Soviet Union and Britain. This well shows the utmost interest Uncle had in all these hassles and is still seen playing their card when Israel is a party to any of the related disputes. This has further escalated the anger among the Arab people. It was in the same year when Israel won a decisive war against the Arab countries. As a result Palestinians homes and villages got demolished, thousands of them were killed, most of their lands were taken away to grow the eucalyptus brought from America, and all this under the so called Israeli Diaspora. Israel professes to follow Zionism which supports a Jewish nation state in the defined land of Israel, but in reality what it follows is a perverted form of Zionism which allows assimilation of Jews into other societies too. It seems what Jews have in them for Israel is not patriotism; rather they excel in jingoism and thus are seen wiping off the Arab people from Palestine and trying to capture the whole land in the name of various peace propaganda.

1948 is commemorated as Al-Nakba, Arabic for "catastrophe."[1] Israel declared herself a state on May 14, 1948. It is since then the year and the following months have brought chaos and violence for Palestinians. Palestinians were forced to leave their land permanently by the Israeli troops. Their villages and homes were demolished and thousands were killed. Many left their homes out of the fear, to protect themselves from the bullets soaring in their neighborhoods between Jewish and British soldiers. Even after so much of hassle and tussle these Palestinians carried immense hope of returning back to their homes after the violence abated. But that did not turned out to be a reality. Credit goes to the so called settler state, ‘Israel’, settler just for name sake. Nearly 750,000 Palestinians were rendered homeless and forced into settling in surrounding Arab countries and that was later to become the West Bank and Gaza. They have never been allowed to return till date. At present many refugees and their descendants, who are approximately 3.6 million in number, have the keys of the houses that were either taken over or destroyed by Israelis. Furthermore, the catastrophe still continues. The filthy refugee camps in Lebanon, the West Bank, and other Arab countries are the places meant for the Palestinians to live in. They are not permitted to be citizens of any Arab state except to that of Jordan. Others are spread throughout the world in the Palestinian Diaspora. According to the Oslo agreements, Palestinian dream of the West Bank and Gaza to be their future state, but Israel has even occupied much of these regions today. It is because of all these reasons that the Palestinian economy and infrastructure witnesses itself in shambles. People are living without food and healthcare. Their lives have been destroyed.

Israel claims to follow Zionism in an attempt to spread the so called Israeli Diaspora. I do not understand as to what sort of Zionism is this in which they are seen occupying and encroaching upon the lands of others building up for themselves more and more illegal settlements and bypass roads, taking virtually all of the Palestinian water, bulldozing their homes, destroying olive groves, and engaging in endless humiliation rituals at road blocks. The current tendency is such in which the Palestinians are to face the arbitrary arrests, beatings, killings, curfews, their infrastructure reduced to debris; an economy torn to shreds; relentless harassment by soldiers; everyday life irrevocably disrupted and collective punishment. Almost all Palestinians living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza have been touched by such acts. At every nook and corner a brother, a father, a mother, a husband, a wife or a child is being killed, wounded, or died for lack of medical care. Such butcheries performed by the Israelis against the Palestinians have made the latter pose a question to itself “Are we Palestinians one big lie?” Their very existences have come to acquire a question mark which has no answer to it in the short run. God alone knows about the long run for they believe that their god has even failed.

Since the time Israel occupied Palestine, it has always tried to increase the paradigm of its Diaspora. It says it wants peace with Palestine but the reality holds different. Its peace initiatives are merely propaganda. It has never wanted peace with the state, to which it must owe its origin to. The reality showcases that Israel has always subverted the peace processes be it the Oslo peace accord of 1993, the Israeli Palestinian peace talks at Camp David, the Arab initiatives or any other such peace agreements. Israel has always served as a cancerous tumor for all such peace processes and has come to fire all of these with the all time help extended to it by America. It has tried to show that it is interested in peace but actually it is interested in flushing out the Arab people from Palestine and capture the whole land. The question that arises at this point is why such a special treatment given by Uncle to the settler? Does Israel need a pro Israel lobby? The answer finds itself in the statement of Martin Kramer. “Israel does not need the whole array of organizations that claim to work on its behalf. The rationale for keeping Israel strong is hardwired in the realities of the Middle East. The United States does not have an alternative ally of comparable power. And if the institutions of the lobby were to disappear tomorrow, it is quite likely that American and other Western support would continue unabated”. [2]

Today we hardly give a damn to the debate of Israel being a liability or an asset to America. This is because we are well aware of the social relationships being showcased every now and then by the American president towards Israel on the international forefront. The moment we encounter an all time inclination of Uncle towards Israel with least or no preferences for Palestine, such questions of liability and asset looses all its importance and gets to drop then and there. Anyhow there is end number of rationales for why the United States backs Israel.

According to Kramer, most supporters of Israel, when pressed to go a bit deeper, will give two prime rationales for why the United States should back Israel. One is a moral obligation to the Jewish people, grounded in the history of Jewish persecution and culminating in the Holocaust. Israel, so this thinking goes, is something the civilized world owes to the Jewish people, having inflicted an unprecedented genocide upon it. This is a potent rationale, but it is not clear why that would make Israel an asset to the United States. If supporting Israel is an obligation, then it could be described as a liability — a burden to be borne. And of course, as time passes, that sense of obligation is bound to diminish.

Another powerful rationale given by him is the fact that Israel is a democracy, even an outpost of democracy, in a benighted part of the world. But the fact is that there are many non-democratic states that have been allies of the United States, and important assets as well. Quite arguably, the Saudi monarchy is an asset to the United States, because it assures the flow of oil at reasonable prices, a key American interest. In contrast, the Palestinian Authority and Iran, which have many more democratic practices than Saudi Arabia, are headaches to the United States, for having empowered the likes of Hamas and Ahmadinejad through elections. So the fact that Israel is a democracy is not proof positive that it is an American asset. [3]

No matter whatever the rationale is, be it the democracy of Israel, moral obligation of Americans towards Jewish people or the centralism of the petro-currency in this state, the eyeballing effect being created is that United States has always come to back Israel in all its pros and cons. Similar is the case with the peace processes being undertaken between Israel and Palestine.

It was not Palestine rather Israel which jeopardized the Oslo Agreements in its very essence by delaying each and every phase of it.  Israel’s occupation forces were to have withdrawn from substantially all of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by July, 1997 – more than four and a half years ago. The process of withdrawal was to be carried out in three phases, beginning in October 1996 and ending in July 1997 and would have transferred approximately 88 percent of the West Bank to Palestinian control. But due to the Israeli hold-ups, the Palestinian Authority has only full jurisdiction over 17.2 percent of the West Bank. [4] Moreover the freedom which Palestinians would have had by 1999 under this agreement seems to be no less than a hallucination. The Israeli military operations are becoming intensified time and around. Israel goes on negotiating and renegotiating deadlines with PLO on matters of peace but at the end of the day stresses on initiating crimes against Palestinians to wipe them out.

Interim Agreement that stubbed premonitions of prosecuting Israel for crimes committed against Palestinians was all a miasma being spread by Israel. Since this agreement there have been hundreds of attacks against Palestinians and Palestinian property and none of the Israeli settlers have been prosecuted till date. Furthermore the closure of the southern safe passage route and the yet not opened northern route adds to the recalcitrant behavior of Israel towards Palestine.

While Israeli tanks and bulldozers were rolling into, and Israeli planes were bombarding Palestinian towns and cities, including refugee camps, President George W. Bush proclaimed that the situation in which Palestinian Authority (P.A.) President Yasser Arafat found him—imprisoned in a room of his Ramallah headquarters—was "largely of his own making." Bush claimed that Arafat had "broken every promise made at Oslo," and that had led to the crisis. [5] Here I wish to remind Mr former President that Arafat is no more and thus under no circumstance will ask for forgiveness crying out loud the biblical maxim ‘Mea maxima culpa’.

All of the above made claims well shows the burgeoning pro Israel tendencies of America from the time immemorial because we very well know the slaughter hands behind the failure of the Oslo agreements. The 1993 agreements failed because powerful Israeli interests and their U.S.-based allies caused it to fail. Similar were the cases when it comes to peace talks at Camp David. Again here it was the Palestinians who were held responsible by the Clinton’s administration for the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at Camp David in the summer of 2000. But the reality holds different. If one will closely examine the events both at Oslo and Camp David and the related initiatives being taken by both Israel and Palestine since then, however one will be in a position to indicate that the primary fault for both the failure of the peace process and the subsequent violence lies squarely with Israel and its benefactor, the United States. Both the Clinton and Bush administrations, along with leading members of Congress from both parties, have simply distorted what happened in the peace process before, during and after Camp David, as well as what has transpired since the outbreak of the second intifada in late September 2000. From the beginning of the talks subsequent to the Principles of Understanding negotiated in Oslo between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization and signed in Washington in September 1993, both sides saw the process very differently. The Palestinians saw it as a means to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian mini-state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. By contrast, the United States and Israel saw it as a way of maintaining an Israeli occupation of major sections of these territories with the Palestinian Authority in charge of administrating most major Palestinian population centers and cooperating in the protection of Israel and its settlements in the occupied territories. [6] Thus we see that there was no malice in the hearts of Arab people ever. Contrary to this Israel and its patron United States had heart filled with filth and they took each step with an iron fist under the velvet gloves serving their petty opportunistic interests.
Furthermore the suicide bombings rigmarole as an attempt by Sharon to root out terrorism is again a myth. In reality it is simply targeting the P.A.'s police force, which according to Oslo was shaped as the force to establish law and order, and root out terrorism in order to maintain peace between Israel and Palestine. As noted by Russian strategic analyst Pavel Felgengauer, “it is as if Sharon and the Hamas are working together. In fact, although Sharon invaded every major Palestinian village and city in the West Bank, he strangely left Gaza, the stronghold of Hamas, untouched. He has been systematically killing P.A. police and security, but not the terrorists themselves”.

Few so called loyalist and anti Palestinians may again put these as the terrorism being brought in by Palestinians and it’s no more leader Arafat. But then the need of the time is to make these people go back to the pages of history and do the introspection as to who in reality was the first suicide bomber to bring in the so called violence in the region. Was it Palestine or was it Israel who opened fired a Palestinian group killing them in large numbers in the year 1994? He must also introspect as to who assassinated the Israeli military professional and peace lover Rabin? Was it a Palestinian terrorist or was it a right wing Israeli extremist, acting in compliance with the element of Israeli security? Thus it could be stated that throughout the peace processes, the Clinton administration always showed its proclivity towards Israel trying to coordinate the talks very closely with this state with a special sort of ignorance shown towards Palestine. The wishes of Palestinians to address the issue of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories and the status of Jerusalem some years earlier were always seen delayed and subsequently denied by America.  U.S was always seen on a front-line whenever it was something related to Israel’s security and stood last for the Cause of Palestinians. Thus Israel and the United States worked closely with each other on their individual proposals; for all intents and purposes. These were largely joint efforts to evacuate the Arab land for the Jews under the so called Zionist regime in an attempt to spread the Israeli Diaspora.


References:
1 Kramer Martin, Arab Nationalism: Mistaken identity, Deadalus, summer 1993, pp. 171-206.
2 Ben Meir Alon, Resurrecting the Arab peace initiative, April 25, 2013.
3 Kramer Martin, Sandbox, Do we need a pro Israel lobby? March 4, 2013.
4 Kramer Martin, Sandbox, The American Interest, Azure, no. 26, pp. 21-33, January 26, 2010.
5 Zunes Stephen, Journal essay, Middle East policy council.
6 Flick Deborah L, Toward understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, June 2002.
7 Mirak-Weissbach Muriel, Executive Intelligence Review, Who murdered the Oslo Accords? April 19, 2002.
8 Verma Dinanath, Asian modern history, Ch 39, Formation of Israel and Arab and Israel relations, pg 171-188.
9 West Deborah L, WPF Reports, Myth and Narrative in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.





[1] Deborah L. Flick
[2] Martin Kramer
[3] Martin Kramer
[4] PLO Wikipedia
[5] Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
[6] Muriel Mirak-Weissbach 
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