Palestinians Need ‘A Fair Settlement’

On November 13th all major news outlets reported “Palestinian Negotiating Team Resigns.” Voice of America reported that President Abbas said, “In reality, the negotiations stopped last week to be honest, in light of the settlement announcements last week.” He went on to say “All the Israeli behaviors whether on the negotiation table or on the ground, if they show anything, they show one thing and that is, making Kerry fail and they [Israelis] alone should be held responsible.”

November 12th, Israel’s Housing Ministry announced plans for “about 20,000 new homes in contested parts of Jerusalem and the West Bank.” This announcement followed the Israeli’s prior “robust announcement that they were going to build 5,000 housing units in Jerusalem and the West Bank.” In a previous article I wrote, “Knowing what a sensitive issue building additional housing in the Occupied Territories is, it makes no sense for Israel to derail peace talks at this point in the process intentionally. Or does it? Israel gets a BIG FAIL for not ‘Doing Peace.'”

Apparently Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thought better about the decision to talk publicly about the 20,000 home expansion, saying “it would hurt Israel’s efforts to ensure world powers maintain stiff sanctions on Iran over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program.” It is important to note that Netanyahu doesn’t state he has a change in heart because he wants to save the peace talks with Palestinians. His motivation is totally Israeli self-centered.

And yet the Israelis are so used to “sticking it to the Palestinians” in the most public and humiliating way, Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs, Yuval Steinitz, couldn’t help himself but clear up any “misunderstandings” left by Netanyahu’s statement. According to Democracy Now he said, “Prime Minster Netanyahu made it very clear that we are going to release some prisoners, but there is no freeze in the settlements. It’s not just theoretically, we will build in the settlements during the negotiations.”

So even when Mr. Netanyahu tries to tell his people to just “be quiet and just do it” they can’t help themselves. This “Israeli behavior whether on the negotiation table or on the ground” that creates a divisive environment that sparks “hurt, fear and anger” among Palestinians, makes peace talks fail and triggers other retaliation (right, wrong or indifferent).

According to UN Center Online, direct talks between the Israeli and Palestinian sides resumed this past August, after stalling in 2010 “owing to Israel’s refusal to extend its freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.” Israel seems to have a “modus operandi” going on. Robert Sherry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said, “At this sensitive moment it is imperative to avoid negative actions and support ongoing talks to preserve the remaining chances of achieving a two-State solution in the interest of Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

israel west bank gaza
Israel, West Bank, Gaza, Jordan and Egypt

In a statement issued by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson, it stated he condemned Israel’s proclamations of “settlement plans in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” pointing out that settlement activity “is contrary to international law and constitutes an obstacle to peace.” Israel will never feel more than a slap on the wrist when words like “contrary” are used to describe the impact of settlement activity in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Apparently Israel made the settlement announcement just hours after freeing 26 Palestinian prisoners. Did they think that their release of the 26 Palestinians, would somehow absolve them from building 20,000 new settlement homes? On the subject of the Palestinian prisoner release the UN spokesman was even more “tiptoesy” stating, “Mr. Ban understands that Israel took ‘a difficult step’ in continuing to release Palestinian prisoners in the face of deep domestic opposition, and appreciates this gesture.”

The UN General Assembly Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (GA/PAL/1278) also known as “The Bureau” issued the following statement on November 7th, “all settlement activities constitute a gross violation of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the occupying Power from transferring parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies. This has been reaffirmed in numerous Security Council and General Assembly resolutions and the 2004 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the wall. The international community does not recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. The City is an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and subject to the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

As excerpted from GA/PAL/278, “While Israel continues to transfer its own population into the Occupied Palestinian Territory, it [Israel] relentlessly continues its illegal expulsion of the Palestinian population from East Jerusalem through home demolitions and residency rights revocations.”

Mac-Z says “The Israel-Palestinian peace process is undermined by the mental anguish of the aggressive and belligerent actions by Israel to continue expanding their settlements. The Palestinian suffering involves typical symptoms related to the effects of social deprivation theory. The leaders and citizens of this non-state nation feel hopeless due to the historic and present actions of not just Israel, but the non-supportive international community. The continued effects are even more pronounced by the walk-out on the peace process earlier this month.” Mac-Z Zurawski is an experienced adult educator, political scientist, writer, blogger and social activist in political science and sociology.

The Bureau expressed “its serious alarm at the recent issuance of demolition orders for 200 residential blocks in Ras Khamis and Ras Shahada in East Jerusalem, putting over 15,000 Palestinians at the risk of displacement.” In case anyone missed the impact of this statement, Israel continues to displace Palestinians in order to facilitate the selfish wants of the Israeli conservative groups who believe they should be able to expand throughout the occupied territories. The Israelis involved in this processed have no consideration or concern for the Palestinian people who have lived on this land historically.

“In August, the entire Bir Nabala Bedouin community in East Jerusalem was demolished, forcibly displacing 39 people, including 18 children. In 2013, at least 91 homes and structures have been demolished in East Jerusalem, displacing 265 people, in serious violation of international law. Furthermore, in Area C of in the West Bank, 451 homes and structures have been demolished in 2013, displacing 615 people.” Source: GA/PAL/278

A seething point of contention for the Palestinians regarding Israel’s illegal acquisition of their land is the Jerusalem story. Israel unilaterally annexed East Jerusalem in June 1967 and extended Israeli law, jurisdiction, and administration to this part of the city. In response to Israel’s expansion of the Jerusalem borders, UN Security Council Resolution 252 of 1968 states that the Security Council “Considers that all legislative measures by Israel, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status.”

In July 1986, the UN passed the Economic and Social Council resolution 1986/49, which considers “the current and future impact of the Israeli settlements on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories, including a comparison between the living conditions of the latter and those of the residents of the Israeli settlements.”

The Bureau reports that since the 1986 Security Council resolution, “Israel has continued to expropriate Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem, all of which has been converted exclusively to Jewish use. This amounts to roughly 86.5% of the total land area of occupied East Jerusalem. Obviously UNSC Resolution 252 of 1968 meant nothing to Israel, because they know enforcement is null.”

According to The Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR), “Deportations contravene the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Article 9 of which prohibits arbitrary arrest, detention or exile – see also Articles 12 and 13.” CEPR seeks a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on justice and the restoration of Palestinian rights in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law.

It is time that the UN Security Council take a firm stance regarding the unlawful acts that Israel has taken against the Palestinians. The Security Council must be reminded that they [Israel] routinely and systematically breach International Laws and Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which “prohibits the occupying Power from transferring parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Mac-Z says, “The Israel-Palestinian peace process would be more successful if implemented through a constructivist focused compilation of needs of both cultures. The typical state sovereignty argument ignores the very human needs of both people including a permanent home for the Palestinians. The active civic societies of these separate people creates this process not the politics of the globe. The international community needs to begin the process by focusing upon curing human rights violations not politically based border disputes.”

The Bureau states it “stands ready to support the State of Palestine in employing all diplomatic, legal and political means to protect the territorial integrity and viability of the Palestinian land and safeguard the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and to support all other initiatives in various international bodies to end Israel’s impunity and to bring it into compliance with international law and to salvage the prospects for peace.”

The Secretary-General stated that he “expects the parties [both Israel and Palestinians] to take every possible step to promote conditions conducive to the success of the negotiating process and to refrain from actions that undermine trust.” What must happen is that both Israel and Palestine must start “doing peace.”

Although the discussion of Israel’s administrative hold of thousands of Palestinians, most without cause and many under age is for another day … it has to be said that the UN must put more pressure on Israel to release innocent prisoners that are being held without reason and without trial, sometimes for years. This must not be a suggestion or a request that the Israelis make a “gesture of good faith.”

Particularly now that Palestine has been given observer status in the United Nations, it is even more imminent that the Security Council take action to require neither Israel nor Palestine take actions that will derail the Peace process.

  • Israel must immediately stop all settlement building and other divisive behavior.
  • Palestinians must not retaliate unlawfully to the criminal acts of the Israelis
  • One criminal act does not justify another, rather it perpetuates a vicious cycle of criminal activity.

    The creation of Israel was done with great thought and not enough consideration based on facts in post-event history. I don’t think the architects imagined that they were creating a State of Israel, and the permanent refugee status of Palestinians to be scattered hence and there. The State of Israel was created at the expense of the people who already lived on that land, most of them Palestinian people. If that wasn’t bad enough, Israel has been encroaching on and taking over Palestinian Occupied Territories through settlements, military use or other Israeli “made up” reasons since 1967. If the architects knew then, what has gone on since … would they have made the same decisions?

    Mac-Z says, “The Israeli state was created by the Great powers almost 50 years ago. As the ‘Christian’ nations decided the borders they ignored the true history of the state of Palestine and its people. The clash of civilizations has been a recurring theme in the battle for a state (and in the Middle East evident in the Afghan and Iraqi wars). A new state compromise must begin with a long historical view of both Israel and Palestine beyond 1967 or even the twentieth century. A true history of settlements by both people in the Ares of the Israeli state would create a clear picture of where both ‘nations’ should be placed as a sovereign entity.”

    palestinian refugees
    Palestinian Refugees

    Essentially the Palestinian people’s homeland, heritage, culture, livelihood, family connection, and pride have been stolen.

    I want to thank a few Arab gentlemen who have championed the Arab view this week by communicating with me directly, in conversations on LinkedIn and by email. It was an honor that these guys felt that it was worth their time to have a conversation with me and thought that I would hear their words and even at some level understand. Of course it is impossible to fully understand what the Palestinian People are going through without standing in their shoes, which is probably part of the problem – we haven’t, can’t! How about trying? Make it your personal effort of “doing peace.”

    Other Related Issues:

  • November 8th, 2013 – UNESCO has suspended the voting rights of the United States and Israel, two years after both countries stopped paying dues to the U.N.’s cultural arm in protest over its granting full membership to the Palestinians. The U.S. decision to cancel its funding in October 2011 was blamed on U.S. laws that prohibit funding to any U.N. agency that implies recognition of the Palestinians’ demands for their own state. BIG FAIL USA!
  • November 15th, 2013 – The Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) of the General Assembly of the United Nations has adopted eight new resolutions concerning the plight of the Palestinians. The drafts were taken on board with large majorities voting in favour. The resolutions covered the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and an intention for the committee to investigate “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the Occupied Territory.” Predictably, Israel voted against all of the resolutions, being joined variously by Cameroon, the United States, Canada, Australia and Panama. Equally predictable abstentions included Micronesia, Palau, Vanuatu and South Sudan. BIG FAIL USA, CANADA & AUSTRALIA! The other countries that either voted against or abstended have human rights issues of their own.
  • Video

    Palestinian History For Beginners – In this three part series, Charles Smith, professor of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona gives an account of the history of Palestine and Israel.

    Web site links:

    Palestine Remembered

    Kimberly Jones is a global nomad with a special interest in the Middle East and North Africa. She grew up in Saudi Arabia and traveled throughout the MENA growing deeply attached to the people and the culture.