Another Open Letter
Posted by Godefroi on November 20, 2007
We the Palestinian Canadian community assembly at the Palestinian National Voice Preparatory Conference in Hamilton, Canada, issue this letter out of profound concern regarding the present state of the Palestinian national struggle and the November 2007 “peace” conference to be hosted by the United States in Annapolis, Maryland.
Opening salvo – we are not necessarily interested in “peace”. By the way, what sense does “Palestinian National” make, when there has NEVER been a nation called Palestine? Isn’t that the basis for the national struggle…they’re trying to make a nation where there hasn’t been one? How is it that these Arabs always forget about Jordan (Mandatory Arab Palestine)? Convenience, I assume.
While Palestinians still suffer from the disaster of the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian National Authority has now agreed to attend another round of flawed negotiations. This time it does so under the pressure of North American and European nations that have actively collaborated with Israel to divide the Palestinian people and inflict collective punishment and other war crimes against them. Even now Israel is being allowed to deny the Palestinians the basic necessities for a functioning society through a humiliating siege against the Palestinian people in response to the exercise of Palestinian democracy and the adherence to its results.
What made Oslo a disaster? From their perspective, it’s probably the idea that a state of Israel might continue to exist. For the normal mind, however, the failure of Oslo would be the fact that not a single one of the terms agreed to by Arafat was implemented to even the slightest degree. Anti-Israel crows will no doubt harp that Israel did not fully withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza, as they said they would – but it should be noted that more than 90% of the territory that Israel agreed to give to the PA is now PA-controlled. The rhetoric about “collective punishment”, “war crimes”, and “humiliating siege” are not worth a response. As for their exercise of democracy, the voters always suffer when approving the leadership of criminals.
It is our belief that the purpose of the Annapolis round of negotiations is to extract further critical concessions from the Palestinians while further delaying final status agreements. In particular, we believe that Israel will attempt to redefine the conflict with the Palestinians as being only about ending the occupation of Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, or parts thereof. Such a redefinition leads the Palestinians into the trap of the “two-state” formula which subverts our legitimate rights under international law. We stress that the central issue in the Palestinian conflict with Israel has always been the dispossession of the Palestinian people from their land and property caused by the Zionist ethnic cleansing of 1948 and the Israeli denial to Palestinians of the basic human right to return and to live in peace and security as equal citizens on their land.
“Further” concessions? Has there been a SINGLE concession granted and adhered to by the Arabs? As I’ve mentioned previously, it is not possible for Israel to “occupy” Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Gaza, etc. All of these are part of Mandatory Jewish Palestine…the “Jewish National Home”. That is the only applicable part of international law. Note the phrase “<em><strong>trap of the two-state formula</strong></em>”…someone let Condi know that they’re not interested in another Arab state alongside a Jewish one…again…or is it still?
It is also known (and acknowledged by the Arab leadership) that the main reason that the “Palestinians” left their homes was that they were told to do so by their leaders in 1948 in order to clear the way for the invasion. If Israel did not evict them, Israel should have no reason to “repatriate” them. Also, the only attempt at “ethnic cleansing” that occurred was at the hands of the invaders.
We further specifically caution you against any recognition of Israel as a “Jewish” state. Such a recognition would give Israel the façade of moral and legal legitimacy while critically compromising the full implementation of the inalienable Palestinian right of return. In addition, it would contradict the struggle by Palestinian citizens of Israel to maintain their identity and gain equal rights as citizens. We point out that Israel was established through United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (Partition Resolution) which does not envisage or consent to the establishment of states on a religious or ethnic basis. In addition, we underscore that Israel was admitted as a member of the United Nations on the basis of its having recognized the full right of return of the Palestinian people on the basis of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 (Right of Return Resolution).
Of course, Israel from its inception was meant to be a Jewish state, as evidenced by the Balfour declaration and the Mandate. There is no “façade” of legitimacy – it is absolutely legitimate per international law. The ignorance of this body is nowhere more evident than in their bringing up the Partition Resolution. Apparently they’re not aware that for this resolution to have been binding, BOTH sides had to agree to it. None of the Arab states did…meaning (again) that the only legally binding document that exists regarding Palestine is the Mandate, which (again) calls for the creation there of a Jewish National Home. Similarly, Resolution 194 (which was in itself NOT a binding agreement) was rejected by all Arab nations. Calling it the “Right of Return Resolution” is highly disingenuous, as only one of its 15 articles mentions return of refugees…and not exclusively Arab refugees (what about the 800,000 or so Jews expelled from Arab nations in 1948?) It also calls for the return of only those refugees who wish to live in peace…how many takers for that are there in this group of signatories, let alone in Gaza or the West Bank?
Notice the incessant repetition of the term inalienable right. As Goering said, if you repeat a lie often enough, people will start to believe it.
Today it is more apparent than ever that the only basis on which peace can be brought to the historic land of Palestine is through the establishment of a unified secular democratic state in which all citizens are equal and share the same rights and responsibilities regardless of a citizen’s religion.
Sounds good in theory. Given that Israel already has Arab & Muslim citizens who “share the same rights and responsibilities” as her Jewish citizens, not to mention Arab and Muslim Knesset members, and the complete authority the Islamic Waqf has over the Temple Mount, I can’t see what’s missing from this request. Oh wait…it’s the “UNIFIED” part. Since no one from the Fateh or Hamas is part of Israels’ government, it’s not a valid government. Sure…that makes sense. Note: a nation’s government must include members dedicated to its destruction. Got it.
Palestinians can only be properly represented through a delegation representing the united Palestinian people. Accordingly, it is essential that the internal dispute between Ramallah and Gaza be resolved before Palestinians participate in any negotiations with the Israelis. In addition, the ultimate decision on what Palestinians can accept can only be determined by a fully elected and democratically effective Palestinian National Council (PNC) representing all of the world’s 10 million Palestinians. Palestinians who are denied the right to participate in elections to the PNC cannot be regarded as having consented to any agreement made in their name. The re-activation of the PNC as a fully elected and democratically effective body would also have the effect of re-energizing the Palestine Liberation Organization as a legitimate instrument of the Palestinian people.
So, at the moment, the only thing (apparently) common among all Palestinians is a hatred of Israel. Does that make them united? If the people of Palestine want to wait until their divided leadership buries the proverbial hatchet, fine. Until then, stop pestering Israel and the rest of the world about your “plight”…the situation brought on by your own intransigence.
We stress that any attempt to establish peace and security in the land of Palestine can only be successful if it is firmly based on natural justice and the principles of international law. We reconfirm that the right of the Palestinian people to return to their homes and property and to receive full compensation for all damage done to their property as well as for all other losses associated with the violation of their rights by Zionist forces is both an inalienable individual and collective right. Any Palestinian leadership that suggests that the inalienable Palestinian right of return can be negotiated away abrogates any legitimacy it may have had to speak in the name of the Palestinian people.
Actually, it will only be successful if all parties want it to be. That’s the only real precondition. The principles of international law are already satisfied. I wonder what their definition of “natural justice” is. Right of return – again, you must want to live in peace. Compensation for losses – onus is on “the responsible party” for compensation…since the governments of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt were responsible for the invasion and evacuation, they are the ones who need to start paying.
Basically, it’s the same tired tune…give us everything we want, or we’re not interested.