All options are bad for Palestine as Israel votes

A woman pauses amid destroyed buildings in the northern district of Beit Hanun in the Gaza Strip during a truce on July 26. Mohammed Abed / AFP
A woman pauses amid destroyed buildings in the northern district of Beit Hanun in the Gaza Strip during a truce on July 26. Mohammed Abed / AFP

The upcoming Israeli elections are not expected to yield anything new in terms of resolving the Palestinians’ situation, Hafez Al Barghuthi observed in the Sharjah-based daily Al Khaleej.

Politically, Israel is divided into two camps: the far right-wing and the middle left-wing. Neither is likely to embrace the two-state solution. In fact, the right-wing camp, which includes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, doesn’t recognise the concept of a Palestinian state. Their primary agenda is to press ahead with settlement building until the whole of the West Bank has a Jewish marjority.

As for the middle and left-wing camp, headed by Tzipi Livni, it doesn’t have the authority to realise the two-state solution because even if it won the elections against Netanyahu’s alliance, it would continue to need the right’s support.

In the meantime, the Arab camp in Israel is, as usual, suffering from internal divisions that significantly undermine its power and its influence.

“A quick reading of the electoral map reveals that Palestine isn’t a hot topic on the agenda of most Israeli parties,” he noted.

“Hence, it is essential the Palestinian Authority persists in its political efforts at the UN and the Security Council to secure recognition as an occupied state that adheres to international law.”

Adherence to international law and conventions is essential, even if the motion fails to obtain the required votes to be listed on the agenda of the Security Council. Nothing in the foreseeable future indicates even the slightest change in the Israeli position.

Instead the Israeli community in recent years has gravitated towards racism. There is majority support for settlement building and there isn’t much hope for support for any proposed peaceful solution. On the contrary, the more discriminating Israeli milieux are abuzz with calls for a system of apartheid following the approval of the “Jewish state” bill.

For its part, the Palestinian Authority seems to have opted for Plan B, to secure an independent state for its people on the 1967 borders. Today the PA, backed by Arab countries, will go to the UN Security Council to ask for a vote on the decision to end Israeli occupation.

“But, at the same time, the Security Council’s vote for the plan isn’t guaranteed. The US will most likely use its veto and nip the motion in the bud, despite the deteriorating relationship between president Obama and Mr Netanyahu,” suggested Sarkis Naoum, a columnist for the Lebanese daily, Annahar.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean that the peace process would stall,” he added. “But it would all be in vain.”

The peace process has fallen into a deep pit. The ruling Israeli coalition isn’t interested in pursuing it and the Palestinian side is too weak to impose any conditions. Meanwhile, the US is preoccupied with internal crises and doesn’t seem willing to exert any further efforts. Nonetheless, to refrain from trying to reach a solution would be too dangerous, as it would lead to negative repercussions for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

The US is the only party that can breathe new life into Palestinian-Israeli talks and to push for final results. It must propose its own plan for a comprehensive solution and play a more direct role despite pressures from the Netanyahu-influenced Congress, he suggested.

Translated by Racha Makarem

rmakarem@thenational.ae

Published: December 16, 2014 04:00 AM

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