|Marwan Barghouti: The Palestinian Nelson Mandela?|
The Palestinian negotiation team won’t listen to reason. There can’t be any just and permanent peace agreement between a Zionists dominated Israeli government and the original owners of the “Land of Palestine” as long as Zionist ideology determines Israeli policy. As long as the Western powers refuse to recognize the colonial character of Zionism, especially after the war of June 6, 1967, and let Israel get away with all the crimes that were committed in the course of its 46 year long occupation, there can’t be any lasting peace. In his book, “The Myths of Zionism”, the British author John Rose named Zionism as “the problem” to peace.
The Palestinian Arabs should remember their experiences, which they had with Zionism. From the beginning of the Zionist project in 1890 till today, the Palestinians have achieved nothing. Looking just at mere figures, the sphere of control and ownership in Palestine were completely revamped. In 1948, the Zionists owned 6 percent of the “Land of Palestine”; today, the Palestinians are lucky to call a few square kilometers their own. Israel is actually everywhere and it will remain everywhere despite of the “peace negotiations”. That the Israeli security establishment is not in a hurry to reach a “peace agreement” can be best demonstrated by the phrase “time is running out”. For the last 32 years numerous US American, Israeli and Palestinian politicians have used that phrase to imply that it is five minutes to twelve to resolve the conflict through negotiations, as Max Blumenthal showed in his article on the blog “Mondoweiss”. “Time is running out” feigns concern of politicians, but lacks any real substance.
Before the establishment of the State of Israel, the thesis of Zionist settler colonialism remains controversial, because the colonization of Palestine hasn’t been ordered by any European country, although it happened under the auspices of the British Empire. Besides the lack of a “classical” colonial “motherland”, after the rampant anti-Semitism at the turn of the 20th Century in Eastern and Western Europe and the Nazi genocide of Europe’s Jewry, the Jews of Europe had any right to establish a state of their own. So, the question is not whether the establishment of the State of Israel was legitimate, of course it was, but rather how the Zionists ruling elite treated the indigenous owners of the land. The central question, which now haunts the Israeli society till this day, is whether “Israel was born in sin”, because the founding of the State of Israel happened on the back of the expulsion of over 750 000 Palestinian Arabs. Besides the colonization of Palestine after the June war of 1967, the Palestinian Refugee question remains the open sore.
The so-called peace process has been dragging on for the last 20 years with no end in sight. The Netanyahu government has erected very high political hurdles that it is impossible for Abbas to accept them. Although Arafat and his successor have recognized the State of Israel already several times officially, the Israeli government still demands from the Palestinians to be recognized as “a Jewish state”, plus Israel’s “right to exist”. Netanyahu declared both conditions a sine qua non for an agreement. In international law there do not exist catchwords such as “right to exist” or “recognition as a Jewish state”. Even US President Harry S. Truman dropped the phrase "Jewish state" in the letter of recognition and replaced it with “State of Israel”. Why should the Palestinians recognize something that even the US has not done?
The current right-wing Israeli government is not in a hurry to make peace with its subcontractors who appear as suitors rather than equal partners. In addition, Israel has the US Empire on its side. Martin Indyk, an ardent Zionist, plays the role of an “honest broker”. This is more than an April fool’s joke. The Palestinian negotiators know that Benyamin Netanyahu plays cat and mouse with the Obama administration. The cry for help to Secretary of State John Kerry to put pressure on Israel shows either the naivety or the desperation of the Palestinian negotiating team. Netanyahu doesn’t give a damn about pressure from the Obama administration. He is the one who tries, in close cooperation with the Neocons, the Zionist lobby and their rubber stamps in the US Congress, to torpedo the deal between Iran and five Western powers over Iran’s nuclear program. Parallel to this strategy of war against Iran, Netanyahu continues building Jewish only colonies (settlements), without having to worry about the objections of the US and a possible “peace agreement” with the Palestinians. The continuation of the building of new colonies should have demonstrated to the Abbas regime that their cause is lost. Despite that, they continue the charade of “peace negotiations”.
Obama and Kerry might be serious about reaching a fair agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, but the question remains, how, under the current power constellation - two superpowers on one side, and arms less and powerless colonized and oppressed people on the other side – can reach a “fair” agreement about the longest regional conflict in international affairs? The Obama administration has already backtracked from their original aim to reach a final agreement. In December, before the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Obama talked about a “Framework”, which would not address every single detail. And he lectured the Palestinians when he said: “they don’t get everything that they want on day one”. The Palestinians should not accept another so-called interim agreement, as Kerry envisaged to Abbas. He should by now know what “interim” means, i. e. final. The Palestinians have already signed such a dubious “Interim Agreement” that led to the creation of Apartheid-like Homelands in Palestine, and Abbas was the “architect” of this infamous Oslo agreement.
Like Yasser Arafat in Camp David in the summer of 2000, Abbas can’t sign a document of surrender, which the Americans and Israelis would like to ram down his throat. If the Palestinian leadership has a spark of honor, they should immediately leave this charade of the “peace negotiations”, dissolve the so-called Palestinian Authority, and lay the struggle for freedom and self-determination in the hands of a younger generation. The leader of this future struggle could be the political prisoner Marwan Barghouti, a possible Palestinian Nelson Mandela.