Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Peace Negotiations

It is almost surreal following the so-called "peace negotiations" that are going on at present between the "Palestinian Authority" and the Israelis. "Authority" and Abbas does not even have authority over his own people in his own part of what are the occupied territories. Yet, here is Israel looking for a a "partner for peace" and some Palestinian "authority" that will give them, what they feel will be, the legal justification for their steal of the century and in return Abbas and the Palestinians on the West Bank will get all sorts of little freedoms, some little comforts and, providing they behave themselves, permission to move about in their iron cages without being bullied at every turn.

Surreal and the reality is, of course, a very different one and it is expressed all too clearly by the 'Palestinian Return Centre' in London when it expresses its concern over Ehud Olmert's statement that George W Bush's administration offered to resettle 100 thousand Palestinian refugees and thereby affectively terminate the right of return. The Right of Return is not negotiable, it is guaranteed by UN Resolution 194 and it has been affirmed over one hundred times in the UN. Quite simply the Abbas and his PA don't have a mandate to represent all Palestinians inside all of the occupied territories, never mind those in the refugee camps and in the Diaspora.

Real peace negotiations are not about superficial concessions, freezing settlement construction and, despite the Israelis applying some sort of carrot and stick policy, there remains nothing for them to "negotiate" here. It is left for them only to obey international law and withdraw completely from the territories they have occupied since 1967, while immediately lifting the illegal blockade of Gaza.  However, more than that the issues at stake here go far beyond even the illegal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the collective punishment of the whole population of Gaza and whether the Israelis like it or not the fact remains that all Palestinian refugees have the right to return to their original homes and towns. Moreover, while it might just be that during the course of negotiations some of them might just accept financial and moral compensation for the suffering the Zionist state has caused them, that is for them to decide. Nevertheless, when Palestinians do sit down at the table to negotiate on this point, then we will indeed be seeing real peace negotiations.

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