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Israel’s prescription for perpetual regional violence

Sep 04,2018 - Last updated at Sep 04,2018

To disguise real issues, Israel has developed with time unparalleled skills in distraction.

After messing up an already barren and confused situation with the Palestinians, Israel seems to be proposing to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, through American intermediaries, a federal relationship with Jordan.

The absurdity of such a notion is self-evident. One flagrant error is that Jordan cannot be taken for granted and decided for by others.

But there are many, and much more important, factors that this ludicrous notion implies.

First, the federation proposal, which may sound reasonable for those who are totally ignorant of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, cannot be serious. That does not mean it would have been better if it was; in fact it would have been much more dangerous and ominous if Israel were to pursue it with the usual American guileless endorsement of many of Israel’s lethal ideas.

Second, Israel has been relentlessly trying to get Jordan involved, not in a just and an honourable settlement compatible with the provisions of UN resolutions and international law, but to have Jordan accept the scraps left in between illegal housing units and highways linking them all over the West Bank so that such an arrangement would create a marketable deception that Israel had fulfilled its obligations towards the Palestinians when the reality is the exact opposite.

For the benefit of those who may need to be reminded of the sequence of the last seven decades’ events, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was what the Jordanian army had saved in Arab hands while the rest of the country, Palestine, fell under the control of the Jews in the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948, the year of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe. Both the Jordanians and the Palestinians had then agreed to enter into unity. The Jordanian-Palestinian unity, seen by Arab nationalists as the first real step towards total Arab unity, was ratified constitutionally by a joint elected Jordanian-Palestinian parliament, thirty deputies from the West Bank and thirty from the East Bank, in 1951. As a matter of fact, the lines which separated Palestine from Jordan were drawn by the colonial powers in 1921 as part of the post WWI settlements away from the national aspirations of the concerned population.

As such and when during the June 1967 war, which was started by Israel, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was fully occupied by the Israeli army, the land was part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The Security Council Resolution that year (UNSC Resolution 242) ruled that Israel should withdraw from those lands, along with what was occupied from Syria, Egypt and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

The position of Jordan since has been steadily clear. The occupation of the West Bank should end to pave the way for the rise of an independent and a viable Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Only after that is realised, the right time will come for discussing the shape of the future Jordanian-Palestinian relationship, a matter that has to be decided by both sides; that should reflect the free will of both peoples; a matter that rests on the historic reality of strong historic and even family ties that bonded both peoples for centuries.

Although the Israeli “federal relationship” offer to Abbas is not worthy of any discussion, one must still be anxious to ask: What is left in the hands of the Palestinians to federate with Jordan?

Jerusalem has been declared by the US as the eternal united capital of Israel. So it is off the list President Donald Trump declares.

Palestine was declared by Israel as the land of the Jewish people, past, present and future. So the Palestinians are left with no land to federate, and they suddenly became intruders on the land they lived on for centuries and believed was their historic as well as their future homeland.

The Palestinian refugees’ rights have been scrapped with a stroke of a pen with the US redefining the Palestinian refugees as only those who physically left Palestine in 1948, not their descendants, thus reducing the figure of over 5 million to several thousands; again upon Israel’s prodding. The decades-long frenzied Israeli campaign against UNRWA is essentially meant to abolish the Palestinian refugee case, and obviously rights. Now we are told that the Trump decision to end all financial support to UNRWA is done upon a direct request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It is true that all these measures have no legal value as they flagrantly violate international law and contradict dozens of Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions. But in the absence of a UN power-will to enforce its rulings, American endorsement of Israel’s aggression and violation of international law would embolden Israel’s intransigence in denying all legitimate Palestinian rights, encourage Israel’s colonisation of occupied Palestinian lands and protect Israel from accountability and any UN action to check its routine aggression and rogue behaviour.

But it is also true that all such measures against the Palestinians are destined to be self-defeating. Despite the deadly silence from both the Arab world and much of the rest of the world, it remains hard to imagine that with all the crowing, indeed wars, in defence of human rights and in addressing humanitarian issues, the world will remain silent for much longer on this chronic and steadily worsening Palestinian tragedy. The choices ahead are quite limited: Justice where justice is due or desperation. While justice is the only prerequisite for regional peace and stability, desperation is the suitable environment for chaos, violence, terror and indiscriminate destruction; on top of what the region has been undergoing for decades. Imagine if hundreds of thousands of Palestinian students would be thrown out in the streets if UNRWA fails to keep its schooling system running. Imagine armies of prospective recruits for the waiting, the viciously aggressive terrorist recruiters.

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