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Palestinian activist: Why I'm not celebrating statehood

For the last two months the press has staunchly defended the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders. Yet, for many Palestinians refugees – who make up 70% of Palestinians worldwide – and activists on the ground, this state does not represent us.

by Diana Alzeer

He looks at me, shaking his dirty-blonde hair, and with a mocking tone says: “Come on, Diana, why aren’t you celebrating? I hate to see you sad.” He is an American journalist,  a friend of mine who is here in Ramallah shooting photos of the festive crowd celebrating the Palestinian Authority United Nations bid to secure the recognition of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders.

But I do not feel like celebrating the quest for a state on the 1967 borders. Those borders mean the loss of 70% of what we Palestinians call “Palestine” – the areas where Palestinians lived before the year of 1948. It means celebrating the fact that Palestinians are about to give up on the right of return, since it no longer appears on the PA genda, nor even in the Palestinian daily discourse or in the Palestinian newspapers.

For the last two months the press has staunchly defended the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders. Yet, for many Palestinians refugees – who make up 70% of Palestinians worldwide – and activists on the ground, this state does not represent us.

Six months ago, on March 15, a group of Palestinian youth including myself demonstrated at Manara square in downtown Ramallah demanding an end to the division of the Palestinian people. We referred not only to the political division between the mainstream political parties in Palestine, Fatah and Hamas, but also divisions among all Palestinians wherever they live: exile (refugees), Diaspora (not refugees), West Bank, Gaza and Israel. We called for an end to this division through elections to the PLO’s Palestinian National Council (PNC), to ensure the representation of all Palestinians and to guarantee that decision-makers will actually obey and listen to the call of the street. “March 15″ became the name of our movement.

Six weeks later Fatah and Hamas signed the “reconciliation agreement” in Cairo, assuring Palestinians, especially the March 15 activists, that the PNC and general elections for the Palestinian Authority’s Legislative Council and President would be held within one year after the agreement was signed.

From where I stand now, as an activist in the former March 15th movement; the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement; and in the un-armed popular struggle in Palestine in villages such as Nabi Saleh, Bil’in, Ni’lin, etc, – I do not see elections as a reality. Moreover, I do not feel represented by the local Palestinian politicians. The PLO may be considered the “sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,” but since the PNC does not hold elections, many Palestinians, like myself, do not feel represented by it. Until elections are held, we will continue to demand them.

I cannot celebrate with my fellow Palestinians today; I do not want to chant for Mr. Abbas, nor for Hamas in Gaza. I am a Palestinian and I will defend my rights until they are achieved. Therefore, I will not accept just 20% of the Palestine that existed before 1948, and I will not give up on the rights of refugees in exile to return to their lost homes and land in Haifa, Acre, Jaffa and all the land from which Palestinians were forced into exile in the year of 1948.

The Palestine State on the ’67 border will give me no guarantee of an end to 63 years of exile, occupation and apartheid. It will not bring justice of freedom to me or my fellow Palestinians living in Palestine or the ones in exile.

Mr. Abbas will be giving his speech to the Security Council on Friday, but that speech will not grant me the ability to visit Haifa, nor will it dislodge the blocks of the wall, nor will it result in the removal of Israeli settlements in the lands that were taken over by Israel in 1967.

A message to Mr. Abbas

Mr. Abbas or “ President” Abbas, I do not believe the PLO really represents the Palestinians at this point. The PNC should have held elections before you decided to go into this battle at the UN. As A Palestinian living in Ramallah, I should have been consulted about this move.

The presidential term ended two years ago; the term of the Palestinian Legislative Council is also over; the PA cancelled the Local Council Elections and decided to proceed with the UN bid, ignoring the fact that the Palestinian people are divided as never before.

Abbas might see a large crowd jumping and dancing in downtown Ramallah and the West Bank cities but I can testify that this does not represent all of Palestine and the Palestinian people. The celebrants are not the refugees, whom Mr. Abbas has not visited in their refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan since he returned with the PLO to the occupied territories. Those are for sure not the refugees who marched on May 15 to the Israeli borders demanding their right to return to their land. Those are not the youths who protest against the settlements and against the wall every single week.

We may be in the minority, or maybe we are not. Sixty-three years of occupation have caused many people to give up. Still, not all of us Palestinians have given up, some of us continue to demand a political solution that is not based on splitting lands and creating borders. Our struggle as Palestinians is not an issue of disputed territories; the historical struggle of Palestinians is a struggle for justice, freedom and equality with the right of return at the top of the list. The only way a just solution to the Palestinian can be achieved is to create one democratic secular state for all its inhabitants Muslims, Christians, Jews and others. This is the option that too many Palestinians and Israelis have been ignoring.

Diana Alzeer is Palestinian-Bulgarian political and social activist and freelance producer living in Ramallah, Palestine

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    COMMENTS

    1. Thomas Hobbes

      This opinion piece is spot on. Not only does Abbas only marginally represent Palestinians as a whole, but it has been revealed repeatedly (Palestine Papers, etc.) that he has been, until now, a total shill for the US, Netanyahu and the occupation. For independent coverage of the conflict, check out Democracy Now!’s archive of reporting, including the recent UN statehood bid at http://owl.li/6CJXv

      Reply to Comment
    2. RichardNYC

      Yawn. Netanyahu sends you his thanks.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Hostage

      The PLO recognized the State of Israel inside the 67 borders in 1988 and again under the Oslo Accords.

      The PLO has never represented any of the citizens of Israel at the UN.

      Reply to Comment
    4. James

      Lol @ secular state. Can someone remind the author that most Palestinians are conservative and religious and do not want to live in a secular state. The one state idea sounds nice in theory, but in reality it would be like mixing oil and water and would never work.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Avi

      It will be fascinating Israelis and their Zionist supports like RICHARDNYC deny this Palestinian’s reality and life experience. Richard, how many times have you been to a Palestinian city? James, when was the last time you were in Ramallah. You lack of understanding clearly has no bounds.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Anonymous

      Comment deleted by moderator.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Tali

      I loved the article, very clear ans straight to the point.

      Reply to Comment
    8. AT

      Avi

      The person who is in denial is this Palestinian woman who continues to ignore the reality of Jewish aspirations and nationalism. If rolling back the clock is “justice” than why not go all the way to historical “Eretz Yisrael” as the settlers claim?

      Instead we have to focus on the current reality: 6 million Jews and 6 million Palestinians living on the same piece of land and who frankly don’t get along very well. In 1947 the world said: two states for these two people are the answer. They gave the Palestinian side 80% of the land and the Jews 20%. the Jews said yes the Palestinians said no, because they wanted it all. Obviously this woman has learned nothing from over 60 years of Palestinian dreaming instead of building.

      Partition is still the only realistic plan and given the irreconcilable differences between the two sides it is the most fair and just. Palestinians still clinging to their maximalist dream will end up losing even more. One state ain’t going to happen.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Bryan

      A one-state solution is completely unrealistic (unless maybe it were a federation-style state, and you still wouldn’t get “right of return” in Israel proper under such an arrangement).

      With the single state you propose, would the rights of religious minorities, LBGT people, women, etc. be respected?

      Would such a country still be able to serve as a Jewish homeland that can effectively safeguard Jews in the Diaspora? Say what you will about Israel, but since its establishment, we don’t have to worry about random pogroms, expulsions, etc. as in the past.

      Ultimately, the situation requires compromise. You are saying that your “compromise” is to take all of the land back and allow Jews to live there. That’s not an attractive offer for the Jews, especially when we see children on Palestinian TV shows glorifying martyr operations and calling for genocide against the Jews.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Max

      congratulations, you stand in the way of peace. it must be a great comfort to you to live in a dream world.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Rae

      Bryan, seriously? Safeguard the Jewish diaspora? I think it’s safe to say that the porgoms and expulsion of Jews would now be protected especially after the events of the holocaust. If that is a valid argument to make then maybe Tutsis should have gone to neighbouring country Chad and uprooted the original inhabitants and created their own new state at the beheaval of the people.

      Fact of the matter is this: humans can be the cruelest of creatures and will always will make communities the explanation for our problems. Muslims have become today’s scapegoat and what protections will be given to them?

      Jews and Muslims lived side by side peacefully in Palestine before. What is needed is for the two sides to go back to a history that has been long forgotten and suppressed by the oppressive ideologies of Zionism by men who had no knowledge of the relational tradition of the groups who shared the space of Palestine.

      Reply to Comment
    12. James

      Rae- “Jews and Muslims lived side by side peacefully in Palestine before”

      Times have changed. Christian and Muslims lived side by side peacefully too but they fought a horribly bloody civil war in Lebanon, and now churches are being blown apart throughout the middle east from Egypt to Iraq.

      I actually believe a Jewish and Christian state could function as a single entity. A Jewish and Muslim single entity state IMO will never work though.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Deïr Yassin

      @ AT
      “In 1947 ….they gave the Palestinian side 80% of the land and the Jews 20%”
      You can’t simply be that ignorant. The resolution 181 proposed (having no right to impose) a partition, granting 55% of Palestine to the Jews, and 45% to the Arabs.
      Or maybe you’re just reiterating the “Jordan IS Palestine”-mantra that the Hasbara use frequently.
      “The Jews said yes, the Palestinians said no because they wanted it all”
      Yeah, isn’t that amazing: the natives didn’t agree giving 55% of their homeland to European settlers.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Lee

      Diana,
      So what you’re saying is that you’re not willing to make any compromises? You don’t believe in the two state solution? It will be all or nothing. Haifa or continuing the conflict? I’m just trying to understand this position.

      I really do think that if the Palestinians arent’ willing to give up on the Right of Return to Israel other than a symbolic amount there will not be an end to the conflict and it will be a zero sum game. Why can’t they return to the Palestinian state once it is established? The right of return means the destruction of Israel. I really don’t see how it doesn’t. While you might find international support to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state, you won’t find one if your plan includes the destruction of Israel as it exists now.

      A two state solution means you will basically have to give up on the right of return. If like you say most Palestinians aren’t willing to do that, they should say outright that they are not in favor of a two state solution.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Diana- Author

      What I am saying is that the one state solution is the only solution that will grant the Palestinians their rights and at the same time will grand Israelis there existence… The peace can not be achieved without justice to refugees and reunification of all Palestinians..
      Just like Jewish people want to be reunited i think we the Palestinians have that right.. knowing that we were kicked out from Haifa, yafa etc and now some of us decide to announce that we have facts on the ground and the only way to work things out is the one state solution..
      I think the facts i means are clear to all: Palestinian refugees, unity of Palestinians including those who live in Israel and Jewish existence on the land…

      Reply to Comment
    16. Ahmad

      Funny James that you mention Lebanon, because last time I checked not a single church has been blown up since the civil war. And I wish to correct your miserable misinformation that the real terrorists are the settlers who DO burn mosques and have a tendency to vandalize Palestinian owned properties, let’s mention cutting trees, burning fields, attacks on Palestinian individuals, and not to mention the horrible racism and the pure filth that comes from the mouths of those Israeli “peace-loving” settlers, who are innocent and just want to live in peace on stolen land with the above mentioned hobbies practiced. Get real and look with both eyes and you’ll see who are the religious extremists, and the real terrorists!

      As for Diana the author: an amazing article I adopt every single word written here, and I really hope people start realizing that our cause is not that of a state as much as it is one about the right of return.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Henry Weinstein

      Perfect material, no need to re-write anything, just translate in Hebrew
      One thing for sure, Diana and others
      HASBARA LOVES U

      Reply to Comment
    18. ToivoS

      Arafat was willing to give up RoR in 2000 and Abbas was in 2007 but they insisted on dismantling the isolated settlements. No bantustan solution. Israel was just too greedy for all of that choice WB land and they refused their generous offers.

      Now the PA has lost too much credibility to give that much. Face it, Israel will now have to negotiate with Diana and her comrades. RoR is back on the table.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Robert

      Rae,

      I assume that you are Rae Abileah. How is your neck healing? Best Wishes,

      Robert

      Reply to Comment
    20. I can understand why you not happy. I worked with Palastinians and Jews. My ratio for trust 99% to 1% My German blood tells me who to trust. Corrupt dealings in the WEST???

      Reply to Comment
    21. RichardNYC

      @DIANA
      “The peace can not be achieved without justice to refugees and reunification of all Palestinians..”
      Ok, so this is declaration of war #3765? Not very original…

      Reply to Comment
    22. Historian

      Rest easy, Diana. This is a win-win for you. If the Palestinians don’t get statehood from the UN, this was still great propaganda for your cause and has forced the US and Quartet to put a ton of pressure on Israel to make even more compromises than it already since Barak at Taba.
      Now, in case you don’t get it, this is precisely what the Palestinian leadership is shooting for. They know they are not likely to get a state from the UN Security Council, but they can say they tried. This is good for them domestically. If by accident they do get the majorities without vetoes, then they – and you – also win, because they consider that a stepping stone to demanding return of all descendants of refugees.
      It’s a great move all around with nothing to lose and everything to gain regardless of outcome. Sleep well, Diana, you are in good hands.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Palestinian

      @ Richard , whats your problem with Palestinian refugees ?

      Reply to Comment
    24. Michel

      Everyone knows that the only solution is for two states and UN controlled Jerusalem ,the acceptance of multiple faith gatherings in the temple / mosque of the mont/dome. If the above is not achieved then war will eventually find the solution for all parties.

      Reply to Comment
    25. directrob

      historian,
      “It’s a great move all around with nothing to lose and everything to gain regardless of outcome.”
      .
      Said the thief to his victim….

      Reply to Comment
    26. Sebastian

      Regardless of current conventional viewpoints, every religious coalition (with territorial ambitions) has embraced elements of secularism. Many wrongly use their interpretations of religious philosophy metered out by charismatic men (Mohammed, Jesus, etc.) as guidelines for behavior, including the management of real estate. In my humble opinion, an omnipotent being would not cater to favoritism. (The human argument continues: ‘My people are more loved than your people, so we get the bigger room!’ Truly childish…)
      Diana, why limit your ambitions to the 20th century? Let’s go old-school and make claims based upon the world as it was 50,000 years ago. God was around, yes?

      Reply to Comment
    27. Historian

      Thief?

      Of what?

      I live in the US, but let’s say I were living in Israel. What is your claim, that the Arabs didn’t engage in fighting Jews in the Yishuv days? That they didn’t massacre or attack Jews without any provocation from 1916-1947? That they didn’t take the first shots after 181 was passed in 1947? That they didn’t threaten the Jews with destruction in 1948? That they didn’t send several Arab armies to destroy and cause a still-birth of Israel? That they didn’t reject Peel, 181, 194, actual borders instead of armistice lines? That they didn’t launch terror attacks from 1950-1956 especially from Sinai? That they didn’t create the PLO 3 years before before a single settlement existed? That Arab countries didn’t prepare a war in 1967 and that Jordan didn’t Israel attack first after being warned not to attack? That they didn’t even recognize Israel and certainly rejected peace at
      Khartoum?

      And that’s without going back to San Remo’s international assurance of a Jewish state on all the land west of the River Jordan, or the British decision to give the Hashemites 77% of the territory under their mandate (a mandate to build a Jewish home in Palestine). That’s without talking about all the times Israel has offered to compromise over the land or has actually given up land in return for peace or the hope for peace – Sinai, Gaza, south Lebanon. That’s without going back to Israel’s offer in 1950 to bring back 100,000 Palestinian refugees.

      Even Oslo was a sincere effort by Israel, as can be seen in the 3 Israeli efforts to put forth plans that would end the conflict and give the Palestinians their own state. All three plans address Jerusalem, by the way.

      I don’t disagree there are victims here. Some of their wounds are self-inflicted. for example, there would be no security barrier if there hadn’t been an orgy of suicide bombings in 2001 and 2002.

      But thieves? There is no thievery here at all. As I recall, an Israeli PM in 2008 who was elected on a platform or leaving the West Bank even offered to remove Israelis and give the Palestinians 95% of Judea and Samaria, after they already had all of Gaza. He also offered them the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem and a jointly controlled international holy basin. The Palestinians have now responded to that offer with an attempt to breach all previous agreements with Israel as well as previous UNSCR resolutions, namely 242 and 338 which they agreed to in 1993.

      Oh and don’t bother responding with an ad hominem attack. Try to challenge the facts. After all, you called me a thief.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Historian

      “who was elected on a platform or leaving the West Bank” should be:

      “who was elected on a platform of leaving the West Bank.”

      Reply to Comment
    29. DeeDee

      @Historian your argument sounds very familiar to bibi’s speech last night.. really I think you should change that argument this whole myth of the world and or arabs wanting to destroy jews sounds pretty old school.. I think you should visit Palestine and figure out what’s happening on the ground. This article argues things on the ground and I think it’s about time we put out facts straight and look at it from that prospective and not history.. history is history and I am sorry but the Palestinians are not to blame for the holocaust and what happened to the jews in Europe by the Nazis but Israelis are the ones to blame for what happened to the Palestinians in the Nakba 1948.

      Reply to Comment
    30. directrob

      Historian,
      I did not mean to call you thief, however I indeed implied that the Palestinians have nothing to lose because their land was taken/stolen by Israel.
      .
      I could chalenge your facts but I do not need to challenge your facts. Discussing them only makes things fuzzy. They are also irrelevant for my case.
      .
      In 1950 or so most of the Palestinian refugees should have been allowed to return to their homes. Up to this day this is refused (even for those refugees who stayed within Israeli borders). They were robbed of their rights by the state of Israel.
      .
      In the current situation more of half of the West Bank is occupied by settlers. Their presence in the West Bank is illegal and they live on land taken/stolen from the indigenous population.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Historian

      Deedee, this whole “myth” is in the Hamas charter. Hamas, to remind you, was elected by a majority of Gazans and controls a Palestinian population almost as large as Jordan’s. Quoting Iran’s leadership is also another way of showing you that the “myth” is a reality. Or should I quote Hizbullah, a party that effectively controls Lebanon? They have promised Israel’s destruction as well.

      As for history: I didn’t bring up the Holocaust, you did. I think the Holocaust is something that informs us and should keep every Jew on their toes, especially when the Jewish state is singled out in international forums. With respect to 1948, Israelis are only to “blame” for what happens to the Palestinians if you accept the idea that Jews should be slaughtered when attacked by Arab armies. If you reject that premise, or simply believe that people have a right of self defense when other people attack them with armies and leaders spouting severe threats, then what happened in 1948 may be laid right at the feet of the Arabs, including the Palestinians. If you’re not willing to suffer defeat, don’t start a war. If you think you get a do-over after you’ve threatened ethnic cleansing and lost, don’t start a war. In 1937, 1947 and again in 1949 the Arabs (and in 1937 and 1947, the Palestinians) rejected compromises. You can claim they had a right to do so, which is fine, but when the outcome of the wars they launched to stand behind their rejection of land compromise is that they lose, the blame can’t really be placed on the Israelis for fighting hard, smart and then winning. They paid a steep price in losses and injuries in that war, it was not a cakewalk, and in fact, I have always wondered whether the Palestinians suffered similar-sized losses in that war.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Historian

      You are always welcome to challenge my facts. I don’t think getting facts right makes things fuzzy, well unless you support the notion that the Israelis are thieves.
      .
      In 1950,Israel told the UN they would accept 100,000 Palestinian refugees back. By the way, Israel estimated at the time that there were only 350,000-400,000 refugees. The Arab countries absolutely refused to allow those 100,000 back claiming it had to be all the Palestinians or none. They got none. It takes some chutzpah to launch a genocidal war and then upon losing, demanding that the outcome be changed according to the loser’s whim.

      One of the reasons that Israel only agreed to take 100,000 Arabs into Israel in 1950 was that they had already absorbed and were still absorbing hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries as well as Europe.

      Those Jewish refugees had no “right” to go back to their countries. How are the Palestinians different? Please don’t say 194, because back then, it were the Arabs who rejected 194. In fact, the Arabs’ position was the absolute denial of recognition of Israel, which made the entire process of returning Palestinians virtually moot as far as Israel was concerned.

      Here’s the logic:
      -We don’t want you here
      -We will got to war against you
      -We will destroy your Yishuv and either kill or disperse your population (this is just a couple of years after the Holocaust ended)
      -Uh oh, we lost the war
      -We don’t recognize you, we don’t recognize that we lost the war
      -bring everything back to the way it was and by the way, we still don’t and won’t recognize you and no, you have no assurance that we won’t attack again.

      Seems like Israel’s actions were prudent and necessary.

      As for today, Barak and Olmert both offered a partial return of actual refugees (that is, not their descendants).
      .
      Finally, it’s not true that half the West Bank is occupied by settlers. Not even close. Furthermore, 80% of settlers live inside the 3% line from where the Green Line site. This is one of the reasons Israel keeps offering 95% of Judea and Samaria, it’s because they will then only have to remove 20% of the settlers in the West Bank.

      As for the issue of stolen land, any settlement that is built on stolen land is in violation of Israeli law and Israel’s High Court’s rulings. They need to be penalized or punished for this as per Israeli law. As you know, Palestinians have brought and continue to bring lawsuits to the High Court where they are heard and often given sympathetic rulings. I will admit that sometimes the army and government are slow to move on these rulings, but they eventually do, and whenever possible, Palestinians should use the system to attack whatever is illegal.

      Then again, I’m one of those people who thinks the West Bank is disputed territory, so the notion of indigenous and ownership don’t go far with me. If that’s your argument, today 65-70 percent of all Jewish Israelis were born inside Israel and Judea and Samaria and almost 8o-90% of the international Palestinian population was born inside Israel. 50% were born in Gaza and the West Bank, but the thing is: they could already have a state, if they had agreed to the offer Olmert made and then Jews would not be able to live to take land away from the Palestinian state. You can’t complain about a wrong when the outcome is self-inflicted.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Historian

      apologies: I meant almost 8o-90% of the international Palestinian population was born OUTSIDE Israel

      Reply to Comment
    34. directrob

      Historian,
      So we seem to agree land was stolen in the West Bank and that Palestinian refugees have a right of return. The only thing left is to discuss how much and how many.
      .
      You told me that the notion of indigenous and ownership doesn’t go far with you. I would add the same is true for the Israeli government and that is really the root of the problem.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Shemer

      Peace and justice are two very different things. In this specific case (and in many others, unfortunately), they do not necessarily go together. There have been countless instances of injustice caused to Palestinians by the state of Israel – I agree on that. However, especially if you want peace, you need to realize that the fact that the door which held the lock to the key some refugees hold does not exist anymore; and that this is an important and relevant fact. Not because the house isn’t there, but because the city is different, the people living in it are different, etc.

      But the wheels cannot be turned… if we do want peace we need to let go some of those things that happened in history. That does not mean that a formal apology from Israel’s side is not in place. Likewise for a compensation for refugees.

      The one state dream is a beautiful one indeed, but I don’t think we can realize it just now. We may have to pass through a two-state solution even if that’s not your final goal.

      With the current hostility and hatred between the two sides, do you really think we can all live together happily ever after? Maybe one day this would be possible, but that day seems very far away…
      Abbas said in his speech: “I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him)….”. Netanyahu was speaking about Rabis and quoting the Bible. Do you really think a secular state is a real option? How shall we call it? “The State of the Secular Holy Land”? Even if neither Abbas nor Netanyahu represent their people, I don’t think you can assume the Israeli and Palestinian populations strive for a secular state.

      I personally cannot see how this conflict could end without enabling the two people to have and run each a state according to their (very different) values. Regretting that such values are so different is another thing. But I’d rather have this compromise than keep fighting to get everything I want.

      Reply to Comment
    36. Deïr Yassin

      @ Shemer
      “But I’d rather have this compromise than keep fighting to get evetything I want”
      I’ll eat my hat if you’re not writing from the Israeli side of the Wall. Of course you’d rather have this ‘compromise’: it leaves you with 78% instead of nothing whereas the Palestinians should compromise and accept 22% instead of 100% of their historical homeland.
      It’s like a thief giving back a small part of the loot, trying to convince the victim that it’s actually ‘a generous offer’ !

      Reply to Comment
    37. FRENCHMAN

      @ Historian: I would first like to say that being an historian – if you really are one – does not give you the right to spread what you consider to be the “facts”, truth or reality. Actually, every person passionate about politics or history knows that any fact is subject to interpretation, depending on which side you position yourself on, even unconsciously. In your case, it is quite obvious that you have chosen to defend Israeli arguments and therefore insist on them, while forgetting to mention other objective facts that go against the ones you have picked.

      One should never forget that the most unfair “democratic” decision that has ever been taken since early 20th century, namely the resolution 181 to partition off Palestine – what if we had created Israel in Germany, the only responsible people for the Shoah, or in the US, which had enough space and a large Jewish community? – has been voted after 50 years of intense lobbying by the Zionists and three rounds were necessary in late 1947: the resolution was indeed first approved by only 25 UN member states… and after 2 months of extreme pressure, blackmail and financial promises by the US on countries like Haiti, Liberia or France, 33 out of the 56 then member states endorsed it. This was right before the decolonization process… and most of the present citizens of the world (from Africa to Asia) were not yet considered as equals with a right to rule the issues of this world. Today, with (almost) all the mankind finally around the table, the partition would never have had any chance to be approved. And the leaders of Palestine, whatever their illegitimacy to represent their people, are right to come back to the UN 63 years after to tell the international community it has created all this mess and should now assume its responsibilities and not let the American little poppy as the only (biased) intermediary.

      This said, and leave alone History, I must admit I still do not believe in a realistic one-state solution at this stage because the two peoples are (in majority) not ready for that… (And I can talk from the ground because I have lived in Palestine and also exchanged with Israelis in numbers.) In the best of worlds, you would have all people, whatever their religions, believers or non believers, living side by side in peace and with equal rights. But here we face traumatisms that will need decades to be treated… I therefore think any lasting peace will require a very deep healing process starting with sincere apologize from Israel for all the injustices they have caused to the Palestinians. It will also require a “truth and reconciliation commission” as in South Africa or Rwanda, so that the victims can hear and maybe one day understand and forgive their oppressors; this is particularly needed to condition a peaceful existence for their children – and other colonizers like the French should have done that long time ago to the Algerians or others to lay the foundations of a new era. If you want a one-state solution, you have to work directly and in-depth with the Israelis, so that they understand you are not a threat to them and one could live together and united as a unique people without borders: humanity.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Historian

      The land in Judea and Samaria is not stolen. It is under dispute. There are some parts of some settlements that are illegal because they were built on Palestinian land without permission. Then again, we don’t know exactly how much because as you know, the Palestinians kill (by law) any Palestinian who sells land to Israelis. But yes, those parts of Jewish settlements that go against Israel’s laws, need to be done away with. I suspect that’s a relatively small percentage overall and I suspect this is the truth because the Palestinians have had decades and a small army of (mostly Israeli) lawyers to challenge most moves Israel makes in Judea and Samaria.

      We certainly don’t agree about any right to return of anybody into Israel. Such a right does not exist, certainly not in international law and certainly not as a historical precedent. In fact, there are more precedents involving exchange of populations.

      As a concession, because I do recognize that a tragedy befell many Palestinians who were not involved in the fighting, I might agree to allow some original refugees into Israel, but that’s about it. You’ll notice the Palestinians anticipate allowing zero Israeli Jews in Palestine and, of course, Jordan has laws preventing Jews from becoming citizens. So much for mandatory Palestine.

      It seems to me you read and comprehend whatever suits your ideology.

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    39. Deïr Yassin

      @ “”Historian””
      No matter how much Ziocaïne you sniff, you can’t change international law, and according to international law, the West Bank is occupied territory.
      Only Likudniks call it ‘disputed’. It’s the kind of vocabulary that shows righ away where you stand, politically.
      “Those parts of Jewish settlements that go against Israeli law, need to be done away with”: Wow, a real rigt-wing extremist.
      Israel is going to decide what part of the illegal occupied territories they’re going to keep ?
      Nope, the Fourth Geneva Convention already dealt with that. You don’t have a minor in international law, apart from being a “historian” ?
      All our new propagandist’s comments are simply a concentration of common Hasbara talking points that have been debunked hundreds of times such as the ‘no Jews can be citizen in Jordan, ‘Judenrein Palestine’ and blahblahblah. Move on to Hasbara 202 !

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    40. Historian

      Aw shucks, Deir, I’m the propagandist here?

      My political views are irrelevant, since what matters is whether I’m right or wrong, but if you want to call me a Likudnik go right ahead. You don’t mind if I call you a low-ranking Hamas terrorist who plays Polish folk songs on his accordion in his parents’ basement where he lives, do you?
      As for the “illegal occupied territories,” do tell me when were the Palestinian sovereign over the territory which they would like to add to their non-existent state?
      If they weren’t sovereign and if the requirements of 242 have not been fulfilled, how did these become “illegal occupied territories?” Do tell.

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    41. Borg

      BEIRUT: Palestinian refugees will not become citizens of a new Palestinian state, according to Palestine’s ambassador to Lebanon.

      From behind a desk topped by a miniature model of Palestine’s hoped-for blue United Nations chair, Ambassador Abdullah Abdullah spoke to The Daily Star Wednesday about Palestine’s upcoming bid for U.N. statehood.

      The ambassador unequivocally says that Palestinian refugees would not become citizens of the sought for U.N.-recognized Palestinian state, an issue that has been much discussed. “They are Palestinians, that’s their identity,” he says. “But … they are not automatically citizens.”

      This would not only apply to refugees in countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Jordan or the other 132 countries where Abdullah says Palestinians reside. Abdullah said that “even Palestinian refugees who are living in [refugee camps] inside the [Palestinian] state, they are still refugees. They will not be considered citizens.”

      Abdullah said that the new Palestinian state would “absolutely not” be issuing Palestinian passports to refugees.

      Neither this definitional status nor U.N. statehood, Abdullah says, would affect the eventual return of refugees to Palestine. “How the issue of the right of return will be solved I don’t know, it’s too early [to say], but it is a sacred right that has to be dealt with and solved [with] the acceptance of all.” He says statehood “will never affect the right of return for Palestinian refugees.”

      The right of return that Abdullah says is to be negotiated would not only apply to those Palestinians whose origins are

      Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2011/Sep-15/148791-interview-refugees-will-not-be-citizens-of-new-state.ashx#ixzz1Z1HW85rp
      (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

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    42. AT

      Let’s first look at international law: the last “legally” recognized “owners” of the region known as Palestine were the British who conquered it in WWI from the Turks (who conquered it from the Christian crusaders who conquered it from the Arabs who conquered it from the Byzantians who inherited it from the Romans who….).

      The State of Israel was created as a result of the UN partition plan with additional land conquered by Israel in the 1948 war. Most of the member states of the UN recognize Israel within the ’49 armistice boundaries. So to claim Zionists somehow “illegally” took that land from the “indigenous people” is factually incorrect any way you slice it and dice it.

      Looking at it from the perpsective of “justice for the indigenous people.” as others have noted justice never plays a big role in determining international boundaries. The Palestinians were far from the only displaced persons after WW II and the millions of others have had to just take what they got and shut up about it. Part of the indigenous people of Palestine got a state in Jordon. Part (the Jews who always were indigenous to the region) got another part – Israel. Only those living in the West Bank and Gaza never got a legal state of their own. So Abbas was perfectly correct to go the UN and say, 60 years later let’s finally end this mess. I pointed out, had the Palestinians agreed to the partition in 1948 they would have had a great deal more of the original Palestine under Arab state control.

      To claim that Palestine was always “Arab” land is to conflate Arabs with Turks, which would not please either group. To claim the Jews who came in 20th century were not indigenous and therefore they have no right to live there, is to ignore the fact that most of the Arab population growth in Palestine during that period was also via migration and not indigenous.

      The idea that “ownership” of a country is conveyed through some genetically determined inheritance is magical thinking. A country belongs to the people who live there now. Since Jews and Arabs can’t get along, the only just solution is two states for the two peoples who live there now.

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    43. Historian

      Frenchman, 181 was a completely just decision and in fact was an extremely wise division of the land. Now, personally, I don’t think the land should have been divided since it had already been divided by the British in 1922 and Transjordan was created on 77% of Mandatory Palestine. The remainder should have been left for the Jews, but alas, what should have been was not what happened.
      However, just because you don’t like the perfectly legal process the UN went through to honor its own charter and also its predecessor’s commitment to the Jewish people at San Remo, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a fair process. It was fair and legal.
      Also, unlike the French and their colonial adventures, what happened in Israel and Mandatory Palestine is entirely different. There were always Jews in their ancient homeland. Always. There were usually Jews in Jerusalem, going back thousands of years, and including a majority in the 1800s. When the French went to Algeria, they were a foreign plant who went to conquer and pillage natural and human resources. When the Jews came to Israel, they were rejoining an ancient culture, an ancient population, their ancient homeland, their historic and cultural roots, the religious heart of their faith. Additionally, their newly built community did not abuse or pillage the Arabs who were living there. In fact, the Jews sought to build their own farms, their own economy and use Jewish workers so as to rebuild the community. Resources that were used, namely land, were purchased outright or acquired by negotiations with the government of the place – first the Ottomans and then the British.
      When the Jews finally came into ownership of the entire land, it was because of a war launched by the Palestinians and joined by Arab countries, not by design. In fact, the Jews agreed to partition in 1937 and 1947.
      So, all this is to say that as a Frenchman you do need to do all kinds of soul-searching about your society’s colonial past. But please don’t ascribe your insecurities upon Israelis or their supporters.
      As for apologies from Israel to the Palestinians, perhaps the Palestinians should seek apologies from their leaders (the Hussaini and Nashashibi families are still around) and the other Arab nations who, together, brought this disaster upon the Palestinian people and has maintained this disaster ongoing when there could have been peace and two states years ago.

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    44. Shemer

      @Deir Yassin: True, I am writing from the Israeli side.
      The compromise “…leaves you with 78% instead of nothing whereas the Palestinians should compromise and accept 22% instead of 100% of their historical homeland.” – No. (Not sure about those numbers but lets keep them in place for the sake of the argument). Being on the Israeli side, it’s not 78% instead of nothing – it’s 78% of the 100% Israel is occupying now. And from the Palestinian side it would 22% instead of the close to 0% they have now.
      I do not think neither do I try to convince anyone this is “generous offer”. But being from the Israeli side, it’s also “easier” for me to say: you know what? Leave it, no compromise… Residing in Tel Aviv, you can imagine most Palestinians suffer from this situation more than I do.
      I do believe (and I am sad to say so) that a one state solution is unrealistic at the moment. And as neither Israel nor Palestine could have 100% of the land, a compromise is in place… not saying it’s not a hard one, but it is hard for me to see how compromising territories is harder than compromising life (and I’m referring to both sides here).

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    45. Deïr Yassin

      @ Shemer
      By ‘nothing’ I was referring to what the European Jews had in historical Palestine before the Zionist project.

      And if you want a Two State solution – other than some Palestinian Bantoustan – it’s your own Israeli fellow countrymen that you should convince. The way they vote is really creating the One State on the ground. The Palestinians are going nowhere, the settlements are making a viable Palestinian state impossible, everybody who’s been to the West Bank knows that, and the South African solution lies ahead. The Israelis should by the way study some South African history. Lot’s of things in common.
      Amandla !

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    46. Historian

      Yeah, in South Africa, the whites were a tiny minority. In Israel, the Jews are, by far, the predominant majority. Even if you include the West Bank, you still have a Jewish majority. Too bad that doesn’t square with the apartheid/SA analogy. Why don’t you try the Gaza is a ghetto analogy instead?

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    47. Bosko

      Deir Yassin said …
      .
      “the settlements are making a viable Palestinian state impossible”
      .
      Hey, Yassin, if push comes to shove, the Palestinian Arabs could always confederate with Jordan. After all, they too are Arabs and Sunni Muslims. Why wouldn’t you prefer them to Jews? Don’t you guys hate Jews? Why this insistence on getting to live together in one state with Jews? Me thinks you have ulterior motives, must be my Jewish paranoia but I am suspicious …

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    48. FRENCHMAN

      @historian: I wouldn’t call “perfectly legal (and fair) process” a decision that comes out of an intense pressure from all sides. For example, the blackmail that the US is currently doing (on Nigeria, Gabon or Bosnia, let alone France or the UK) to avoid vetoing the UN resolution is the exact evidence that the general will of the people on Earth is not respected. When you buy votes, it is not fair, nor legal. When Atlanta gets the Olympic Games in 1996 instead of Athens – despite being symbolically 100 years after the first “modern games” – this is an obvious corruption scheme and the victory of money over fair play. You should rather be smarter and think long-term: when you buy someone, it never lasts. And most pro-Palestinians have had enough of this.

      If you really are an historian (outside your biased knowledge on an extremely localized conflict), you should be perfectly aware that the “historical argument” used by most ultra-Zionists to go on with the Great Israel plan is not worth a kopeck: there has been Jews during most the History on the Holy Land, so what? As you might know, one of the legends of the Old Testament (your own book) is David against Goliath, who was a Philistine… one of the ancestors of the nowadays Palestinians with other Canaanite populations. Therefore there were people on the Holy Land BEFORE the Jews came to conquer the land (and religions doesn’t have anything to do with ethnies). Also, if you push your stupid argument of historic legitimacy to occupy a land, why don’t the Greeks claim Afghanistan – given Alexander was there 24 centuries ago? And why not leaving the whole Eastern Europe to the Turks, as they have conquered that land not so long ago? Also, I’m afraid that all American immigrants and white South-Americans will have to go back to the Old World sooner or later…

      You are talking about the absence of “abuse or pillage”, deliberately avoiding to mention the destructions of hundreds of villages and all other crimes committed after the Nakba; you are occupying the blogs of those who don’t think like you, trying to persuade the world with your non-senses, but you’re fortunately missing your goal: quantity of messages is not equal to quality and you’re not convincing anyone. People are not naive of your propangada, which is not even better than the speeches of the worst governement you’ve ever had. And your provocations (because the whole idea of your electronic presence is to set fire to the powder and justify your violent colonization strategy) will not achieve their aim. You will have to regret one day that your leaders were not able to sincerely extend their hands as a sign of peace and goodwill – the most powerful has to do it, not the contrary. The Shoah will not be revenged through cleansing the Palestinians: this is a coward attitude and History always give a lesson to those who commit injustice.

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    49. Historian

      Frenchman, first of all, you don’t have a clue what most of the people of the world want or that they know the facts about this conflict. Most people of the world live in poverty, under dictatorial, totalitarian or pseudo-democratic regimes with limited free press. What their leaders do out of national self-interest at the UN, is not necessarily what the people of the world want and it is also not necessarily ethical or just. Second, the day you allow despotic countries like Iran and Syria have equal say to enlightened democracies, which is your proposal here, that is the day that the UN needs to close itself. You can already see this systematic abuse in the UN Human Rights Council which really is the epitome of UN hypocrisy and immorality.

      You don’t like the historical connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel? Who cares? You come from a country whose journalists gave George Sand’s book their biggest award. Of course, subsequent DNA research proved what we all knew about his book and what French journalists should have known, but sometimes biases take us to strange places. If you think that Greek or Hellenist control of certain areas 2300 years ago is the same as Jews praying to return to Jerusalem for 2700 years, I think you need to open your mind just a little bit.

      As for preaching to me about “occupying the blogs” on the internet and bringing up the Shoah and calling Israel an injustice, I think you’re not looking at this picture very well. I am one voice on a site with almost 20 writers. They write numerous articles and I write some comments. I contend with their multiple supporters on here as well as the writers, but you call me the occupier. Hmmm, do I see a parallel in a certain conflict? Hmmm, I do.
      Do you? In another conversation here, I am talking to a seasoned journalist who is trying to convince me that an attack on a military headquarters (with forewarning that the attack is forthcoming), is the same as an attack on a school full of children because the terrorists asked for prisoner release first. But you are preaching to me about my “propaganda” and my “occupation” of this site. It’s too funny.

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