Opinion

Israel not willing to be a partner for peace

Israel not willing to be a partner for peace

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The Palestinians are ready to make peace with Israel. However, Israel is not ready to reciprocate. According to the latest polls, about half of the Palestinian public want to make peace with Israel and many are so desperate that they would be willing to accept a one-state solution, in which Arabs and Jews would have equal rights under the Israeli flag. The majority recognize that the militarily mighty Israel is here to stay.

Hence, peace to them is the only option. Armed resistance to occupation, which it can be argued is the Palestinians’ right under international law, has long been abandoned by the Palestinian authorities, as well as by the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people. They are, however, rightly opposed to the imposed peace associated with Donald Trump’s plan. This American-sponsored deal would leave them with fragmented ghettos on less than 20 percent of the land of historical Palestine. After 70 years of searching in vain for justice and an independent state, no one should blame them for rejecting this ultimatum.

If the options are limited to this American deal and a one-state solution, many Palestinians think they would be better off with the latter option. Nearly 20 percent of Palestinians express a readiness to live in one state under the Israeli flag.

Not only are the desperate Palestinians fully ready for a credible peace deal with Israel, but the Arab states have also given up hope of defeating Israel and liberating Palestine. Today, there is an Arab partner for peace but there is no Israeli partner. The Arab governments want to give peace a chance. But the extreme right-wing coalition firmly in power in Israel does not.


SPOTLIGHT: Why Netanyahu should abandon rhetoric of Palestinian land annexation


Arab states proposed a peace plan of their own back in 2002. This 20-year-old Arab peace plan has never been reciprocated by any Israeli government. At the Beirut Arab League summit of 2002, 22 states unanimously adopted the Arab Peace Initiative — a historic document that offered a formula for ending not only the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but also the wider, lingering Arab-Israeli conflict, and achieve a collective peace, security for all, and normal relations. The initiative is still valid and is on the table, awaiting an Israeli response.

More significantly, even Arab public opinion, especially among the younger generation, is gradually inching toward accepting Israel as a fait accompli. Seventy years into the Arab-Israeli conflict, few people today call for the destruction of the state of Israel, even though Israel has become more racist, fascistic and colonialist. Only a few lunatics in Iran continue to use slogans about destroying Israel.

So, ironically, at a time when Palestinians and Arabs want to recognize Israel, normalize relations with it and live in peace, Israel is not interested. It is too arrogant to think of peace these days. The balance of power has dramatically shifted in its favor over the past 20 years. It has now become the Goliath, not the David, of the region. Israeli logic is simple: Arabs are in shambles and the worst shape ever, while Israel is strong and in the best shape since its establishment in May 1948, so it can afford to dictate the terms of total Arab surrender. Certainly, Israel is no longer the underdog. It is not the smaller, weaker opponent that faces a much bigger, stronger adversary.

At a time when Palestinians and Arabs want to recognize Israel, normalize relations with it and live in peace, Israel is not interested

Abdulkhaleq Abdulla

Israel wants to impose its will on Palestine and the rest of the Arab world. It has zero regard for international law, could not care less about world opinion, and is in no mood to compromise. It thinks that the time is ripe to fulfill its 120-year-old Zionist dream. 

The current coalition government agreement, signed between Likud and the Blue and White alliance, is adamant that it will go through with its plan to apply Israeli sovereignty to parts of the West Bank. The latest polls indicate that more than half of Israeli settlers support the unilateral annexation of the West Bank, regardless of the reaction of Arabs, who Israel has militarily defeated four times already. The annexation, which is strongly supported by the Trump administration, is opposed by Arabs, the UN, Europe and the rest of the international community. More than 1,000 European parliamentarians from across the political spectrum issued a letter last week outlining their strong opposition to Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank.

This annexation plan is a war on peace. The few rational voices in Israel — which are against the oppression of Palestinians, against injustice and racism, and reject the annexation plan — live on the margins of the country’s politics.

For more than 70 years, Israel has been on the wrong side of justice: Occupying Palestine, brutalizing Palestinians, building illegal settlements and setting up a fortress apartheid state. It has developed into a political beast that is totally out of control and certainly on the wrong side of peace and history.

 

• Abdulkhaleq Abdulla is a professor of political science from the UAE and author of “The Gulf Moment.”

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point-of-view

Israel backs down over land grab

Netanyahu had threatened to begin annexations on Wednesday. (AFP)
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Updated 01 July 2020

Israel backs down over land grab

  • • Washington has not given green light for annexing a third of West Bank, analysts tell Arab News
  • • Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to act on July 1 but coalition partner Benny Gantz wants delay

AMMAN: Israel is expected to back down over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s threat to annex swaths of the West Bank and Jordan Valley.
The new land grab is part of US President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian “peace plan,” unveiled in January, which proposes Israeli sovereignty over a third of the West Bank and the  creation of a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu had threatened to begin annexations on Wednesday, but no session of the Israeli Cabinet is scheduled and analysts told Arab News on Tuesday they expected no significant moves.
Wadie Abunassar, director of the International Centre for Consultation in Haifa, said there were three reasons for Netanyahu’s failure to carry out the threat.
“He has not received the green light from the Americans yet, he has received several strong messages from Arab and foreign countries, and despite all the attention

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Netanyahu has no political need to take such a step now.”
Palestinian leaders, the UN, European powers and the Gulf states have all denounced the proposed annexation of land that Israel captured in the 1967 war.
In addition, Netanyahu’s coalition partner Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White party, has urged a delay until the coronavirus pandemic has receded.
Israeli Education Minister Zeev Elkin dismissed the likelihood of any immediate annexations.


SPOTLIGHT: Why Netanyahu should abandon rhetoric of Palestinian land annexation


“Whoever painted a picture of everything happening in one day, on July 1, did so at their own risk,” he said on Tuesday. “From tomorrow, the clock will start ticking.”
Hani Al-Masri, head of the Masarat think tank in Ramallah, said the Palestinian leadership was keeping its options open.
“They are waiting to see the results of the US elections in November, and will be more worried about annexation during the transitional period if President Trump loses, but if Trump wins the Palestinian side will be in big trouble,” he said.Ofer Zalzberg, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, told Arab News: “It is true no annexation will take place on July 1, but it too early to celebrate. Israel will return to the White House to see if US presidential adviser Jared Kushner will agree to allow Netanyahu to push through the annexation without the support of the Blue and White Party.”


Family of Palestinian slain by police sees probe dragging on

Updated 19 min 34 sec ago

Family of Palestinian slain by police sees probe dragging on

  • Eyad was fatally shot on May 30 just inside Jerusalem’s Old City as he was making his daily walk to the special-needs school he attended
  • Police said they believed the 32-year-old was carrying a “suspicious object” and said they opened fire when he failed to heed calls to stop

JERUSALEM: The family of a Palestinian man with autism who was fatally shot by Israeli police said on Thursday that it took a month for authorities to confirm the existence of security-camera footage of the shooting, raising concerns that no one will be punished for killing their son.
The existence of the footage had been in question throughout an investigation that the family says has been painfully slow. Rights groups say Israel has a poor record of investigating and prosecuting police violence against Palestinians.
“The police say the investigation is ongoing. Though it is late, we hope that it will end by delivering justice,” said Khiri Hallaq, the man’s father.
His son, Eyad, was fatally shot on May 30 just inside Jerusalem’s Old City as he was making his daily walk to the special-needs school he attended.
At the time, police said they believed the 32-year-old was carrying a “suspicious object” and said they opened fire when he failed to heed calls to stop.
According to various accounts, two members of Israel’s paramilitary border police force chased Hallaq into a nook and shot him as he cowered next to a garbage bin.
Hallaq’s teacher, who was with him, told an Israeli TV station that Hallaq, who had difficulties speaking, fell to the ground after being shot, then ran for cover next to the garbage container. She said she repeatedly cried out to police that he was “disabled” and tried in vain to stop the shooting. At least five bullet holes were seen in a wall of a small structure at the site.
At the time, the shooting drew comparisons to the death of George Floyd in the US and prompted a series of small demonstrations against police violence. The uproar crossed Israeli-Palestinian lines and drew Jewish protesters as well.
Israel’s defense minister, Benny Gantz, said Israel was “very sorry,” while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the incident a “tragedy” and promised a thorough investigation.
Since then, however, the family has heard little while the two officers involved in the shooting have reportedly been released from house arrest.
On Wednesday, after a month of pressure by the family, Israeli officials confirmed in a court hearing that investigators are studying security-camera footage of the shooting, said the family’s lawyer.
Israel’s Haaretz daily had reported earlier this week that there may not be any footage, even though the streets and alleyways of the volatile Old City are lined with hundreds of security cameras.
The lawyer, Jad Qadamani, said the family has not been permitted to see any of the videos because they are evidence in an ongoing investigation.
Nonetheless, he said they are “more calm because we know the videos are there.” He called the footage “an important tool” in the investigation.
Qadamani said the family was frustrated that it had required so much effort for authorities to acknowledge the existence of the videos and that the investigation has dragged on for so long.
“Maybe there is a need to investigate, but not to this extent,” he said.
Cases involving police violence are referred to an independent internal investigations department under the Justice Ministry called “machash.” The ministry said the case remains under investigation and declined further comment. Israeli police referred questions to the ministry.
According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, cases referred to the department rarely end with disciplinary action.
It said that over 80% of more than 5,400 cases sent to machash from 2015 to 2018 were not investigated at all, and no more than 3% of complaints resulted in indictments. About 20 cases each year result in disciplinary proceedings for the use of force, and most of those end up with little more than a reprimand or reduction in rank.
It said the figures were based on official data obtained through a freedom of information request.
The statistics “speak for themselves,” ACRI said. “With an overwhelming majority of complaints against police violence never investigated and a complete lack of accountability on behalf of authorities, the cycle of the abhorrent use of police force will never cease.”
It said the police profiling of minorities is also a “severe problem.”
Qadamani, the family lawyer, said it has been difficult for them to trust the system but they remained hopeful.
“The feeling is very problematic. I expect and very much want to believe that they will take the real and correct steps for justice for Eyad,” he said.