Who has failed?

Who has failed them? Palestinian children protest the killing of three boys in Gaza City on Monday, 13 December in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (MaanImages/Fadi Arouri)

Who has failed to make peace prevail in the holy land of Palestinians — the Palestinians, the Israelis, the international ‘community’ or the apathetic around the world? This is a question that should be asked to all concerned with Middle East peace.

Throughout the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — a conflict which is the core of the problems in the Middle East, including the Lebanese-Israeli and the Syrian-Israeli conflicts — both the Palestinians and Israelis have been fighting each other over Palestine.

Just prior to 1948, the Palestinians realized that they were about to get rid of the British colonial hegemony that began in 1917, yet they woke up on the day the Britons left to another occupation, called Israel.

Since that year, Palestinians began all over again to fight for their sovereignty over their ancestral lands; however, despite recent peace agreements with their occupiers, they have not so far attained that sovereignty.

The international community, which clearly concedes the Palestinians’ legitimate right to fight the occupation on the path to freedom and statehood, has so far not been able to involve itself actively to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In spite of a long list of international resolutions, including the pending United Nations Security Council’s resolution concerning the Palestinian question since the year 1948, the international community has never been capable of enforcing any of these United Nations resolutions.

Instead, the international community has recently demanded that the occupied, helpless Palestinians recognize their occupier, even as this occupier still maintains complete control over the occupied land, air space, sea and even movement from one place to another within their fragmented territory.

This occupier keeps up daily attacks, invasions, assassinations, settlement activities and construction of a notorious Apartheid Wall over the occupied lands.

Concessions in return for lifting an economic embargo are the heart of the ‘peace process’ currently at a stalemate in the Middle East: Palestinians (occupied) are demanded by the international community to recognize Israel (occupier), at a time when Palestinians are still occupied by Israel.

Why is it that the Palestinians, who are subjected to one of the harshest military occupations in modern times, are required to give up their rights to their lands and their internationally-recognized right to resist their occupier, in return for food and medicine?

Aren’t food and medicine supposed to be the responsibility of the international community, to provide the basic needs of the occupied populace that has been prevented from providing for their own needs, due to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian nation since that infamous year of 1948 — which was the actual start of the Palestinian refugee problem?

The international community, represented by the United Nations, has though failed to completely meet demands of more than 3 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

It has also failed to intervene practically to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the way it has already done in similar conflicts and disputes in many parts of the world, including East Timor/Indonesia, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, etc.

Now, the United Nations, a respected international body, is succumbing to the political interests of certain parties. In this case, they have succumbed to the interests of the occupier (Israel), as Israel demands more concessions from the democratically-elected Palestinian government, in return for international aid money. This aid money, meant for the suffering civilian population, is supposed to continue regardless of the party in ‘power’ in Palestine. It is supposed to continue even in the presence of no government in Palestine, and is surely supposed to continue whether the ‘radical’ Hamas or the ‘moderate’ Fatah is the elected party.

Many other international bodies and nations have also failed to help both sides of the conflict (Israel and the Palestinians) to realize a moment of genuine peace, due to their inaction and hesitation to promote a concrete peace on the basis of international resolutions and international humanitarian law.

Now the Palestinians are standing alone on a hazardous crossroad, waiting to cross a critical junction in their history, while surrounded by a huge traffic jam of international inaction and indecision. Will they be eventually able to pass through this junction, or will they be hit and possibly die?

If all those concerned with peace in the ‘holy land’ refuse to help the Palestinians to pass through this junction peacefully, then everyone involved will be severely affected, because crushing the Palestinians would mean much more bloodshed on many streets.

On Saturday, December 16, the President of the Palestinian National Authority, stirred by enormous Israeli and international pressure, called for early presidential and legislative elections across the occupied Palestinian territories, in an attempt to rearrange failed Palestinian politics over the past nine months.

In January, 2006, the occupied Palestinian people opted for Hamas in internationally-recognized democratic legislative elections. Two months later, an internationally-imposed embargo was imposed to coerce that democratically-elected government to recognize the occupier’s (Israel) supposed right to exist, accept failed signed peace agreements (that have been violated on a massive scale by the Israeli occupier) and renounce their internationally-accepted right to resist the occupier.

So it begs to be asked again, who has failed?

Rami Almeghari is a freelance journalist and translator in the Gaza Strip. He may be reached at rami_almeghari@hotmail.com.

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