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Going it alone

Oct 16,2014 - Last updated at Oct 16,2014

Now that it has become crystal clear that “negotiations” with Israel lead nowhere, the Palestinians should go it alone in their pursuit of full statehood.

For decades, Palestinians have been negotiating with Israel over ending its illegal occupation and usurpation of Palestinian lands.

While these negotiations yielded some results in the past, when some Israeli leaders were serious about peace or were pressured to do so, at present they are yielding nothing.

Under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has ruled Israel for a long time now and is likely to remain in power for some more, nothing whatsoever materialised.

As a matter of fact, under him, matters, as far as Palestinian rights and security are concerned, have always gone from bad to worse.

Today, the Palestinians are not only denied return of territories guaranteed to them by the Oslo deal, but they are losing the lands which have been returned to them according to phase one of Oslo.

Netanyahu does not honour agreements, has no desire to make peace and no respect for human or Palestinian rights.

His strategy is to engage Palestinians in fruitless “negotiations” as a cover up for his overt expansion plans and usurpation of lands on which the supposed Palestinian state is to be established.

He pays lip service to a peaceful settlement and in the same breath talks about implementing large-scale settlement plans, takes measures that make a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict impossible and makes life hard for the Palestinians to force them either to leave or be squeezed in ghettos.

He is not, and is not likely to ever be, a peace partner.

The sad irony is that if Palestinians continue with these farcical “negotiations”, they are in danger of losing even the little territory they still have and the chance to establish their state.

Because the Israel premier is intent on aborting the idea of Palestinian statehood, and because Palestinians have given these fruitless negotiations more than a fair chance, it is time to look for the achievement of Palestinian rights elsewhere.

There should be no return to negotiations with a government headed by Netanyahu.

There is a window of opportunity for the Palestinians with the international community. Many countries now recognise the Palestinian state, about 130, and many sympathise with the Palestinians and believe in their right to statehood. The recent two gestures that came from Sweden and Britain are extremely encouraging.

It is true that the Palestinians tried the international community before and achieved few results. It is also true that the US, unfortunately and foolishly, continues to block any moves that the Palestinians take outside the framework of  “negotiations”.

Nevertheless, the situation now is different.

While many world countries, especially European, formerly believed that peace could be brought about only through direct talks with Israel and while many of them had faith in Israel’s sincerity about peace, now many have serious doubts. Some even lost their faith in Israel’s intention or ability to deliver peace.

What the Palestinians need to do now, before they go to the UN and demand the next logical step of full statehood, is to launch a campaign in the world, focusing in particular on Europe, to get backing for a unilateral declaration of their state.

This would not be peculiar or unorthodox.

Israel did so before. When the Israelis declared their state, they did not negotiate it with the Palestinians, the owners of the land. They did it unilaterally, with the backing of a number of world powers.

The Europeans, in particular, played a key role in creating and nurturing Israel, from the Balfour Declaration to the present.

Now that they know what Israel really is, and what is just and unjust in the Israeli-Arab conflict, it is incumbent upon them, and especially Britain, to champion the recognition of the Palestinian state.

Championing the Palestinian state is not only championing a just cause. And it is not just a good thing for the poor Palestinians. It is also good for Israel itself, which is so shortsighted and blinded with power that it does not know what is in its best interest. And it is good for regional and world peace.

Through negotiations, the Palestinians are gaining nothing. On the contrary, they are losing a lot by sticking to them.

They lose nothing by abandoning negotiations and seeking their rights by the international community, many of whose members should support the Palestinians if only to rectify the wrongs they committed in the past by foolishly abetting the Israeli occupation.

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