Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Palestinians -The People of Nowhere - Is One State the Solution?

Today is Day 14,263 of the Maintenance of the Immoral (and Illegal) West Bank Settlements and almost the 40th anniversary of the start of the immoral (and illegal) occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Micah.6:8 “He has told you, O man, Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God

I read "The People of Nowhere'. I know that I have a strong feeling for "the Palestinian plight" but in all these years I have never taken the time to read in any depth about their history.

What significance this placed on the importance of the original home and land of the individual Palestinians. How naïve it is to support the Geneva Accord and say that the Palestinians should accept its "generous" terms when the right of Palestinian return is not dealt with in any meaningful way.

What caught my attention was the discussion on page 128 where he notes the shift in 1988 from a focus on the right of return to self-determination and a Palestinian state. Just prior to that he asks what kind of independence do the Palestinians have in mind. A state in the West Bank and Gaza? A federation with Jordan? A state in the territories as the initial stage toward establishing a single political entity in all of what once was Palestine?”

I had the pleasure two years ago of participating in a conversation with Jeff Halper, the director of ICAHD, the Israel Committee against House Demolitions. Part of the discussion was about whether the facts on the ground with so many Israel settlements and so much control by the Israelis of the West Bank might not be a precursor to an eventual single state solution. In the next post I will include a letter to the editor that was just printed in The Day which, I assume, is a Connecticut newspaper and an article in that paper covering stops on his tour

My question is whether in the near future the focus on the Palestinians will like a pendulum move back to the right of return with a concurrent deemphasis on the two-state solution?

In connection with our discussion about discrimination against Israeli Arabs, did you notice this statement on page 75, "In theory the Arabs of Israel are citizens with equal rights, though in practice they do not enjoy full equality - especially as the great majority of them do not serve in the military and are thus denied the array of benefits and prerogatives accorded to army veterans?

On the other hand, in the West Bank and Gaza page 110, "The Israelis resorted to a variety of methods to expropriate land or restrict its use by Arabs. Real estate and assets registered in the names of nonresidents ("absentee owners") were declared "abandoned" and transferred to Israeli custody. In a sweeping operation that began in 1980, the military government defined "state lands" as large tracts of mostly rock-strewn land to which the local Arabs could not conclusively prove ownership. Other land was expropriated for public use, declared a "closed area for military purposes" or requisitioned for military use as "combat areas" or "firing zones". Major construction was prohibited on land adjacent to main roads, military installations, and Jewish settlements. Broad areas were declared "nature sanctuaries" and various restrictions were placed on the cultivation of land by Arabs. By the end of the 1980s it was estimated that over half the area of the West Bank had been removed from Arab control and placed in Israeli hands."

And as for the use of water, see page 114 "At the end of the 1980s, the 70,000 Jews living in the West Bank and Gaza accounted for 40 percent of the water consumption, while the remaining 60 percent of the water was distributed among the territories' one and a half million Arabs."

And, in general, on page 115-116 “Dr. Sari Nusseibeh listed the features of Israel’s policy devoted to this end (wear down the Palestinians and sever their bonds to their land) as the expropriation of land and reduction of the water supply, bans on travel and construction, the “economic siege” and restrictions on the development of an independent Palestinian economy, the transformation of peasants into urban laborers (leading to the depopulation of rural areas), collective punishment, deportation, and the demolition of houses.”

Keep in mind that all of this is done in what I believe to be violations of basic International Law: i.e., Article 55 of the Hague Convention of 1907, Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967 which provide as follows:

HAGUE CONVENTION ON THE LAWS AND CUSTOMS OF WAR ON LAND, AND ITS ATTACHED REGULATIONS, OF 1907 on, among other topics, the temporary nature of military occupation) Article 55 states “The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct (A right to the use and enjoyment of the fruits or profits of another’s property, without fundamentally changing its substance)

FOURTH GENEVA CONVENTION RELATIVE TO CIVILIAN PERSONS IN TIME OF WAR, OF 1949: ARTICLE 49 - “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” Article 35 is similar.

The Security Council,
Expressing its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East,
Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,
Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,
1. Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:
(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;
2. Affirms further the necessity
(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;
(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;
(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;

Deutoronomy 16:20 – “Justice, justice shall you pursue that you may live and inherit the land which God gave you” and the footnote in the 1980 Hertz Edition “(T)here is international justice, which demands respect for the personality of every national group, and proclaims that no people can of right be robbed of its national life or territory, its language or spiritual heritage.

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