Monday, June 20, 2011

Time for a Palestinian Voice

After 116 posts, I'd say it's long past time to include a Palestinian perspective here. (My perspective is decidedly that of a progressive Zionist; you may also take note that I have not posted anything from the Zionist right.)

In any event, without further ado, from Sam Bahour (whom I wrote about in an earlier post):
The collective global memory seems to be in deep amnesia. We have been here before--at a point where half-baked initiatives and resolutions, non-compliant with international law and absent of any sense of historical justice, were touted as "the right formula".

Palestinians don't forget so easily, especially since their deep wounds due to dispossession since 1948, military occupation since 1967 and non-stop institutional discrimination against Palestinians inside Israel have never been given a chance to heal.

To name just a few of the past infamous peace initiatives, whose number is mind-boggling: UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine (November 29, 1947), Count Folke Bernadotte proposals (1947-1948), UN Security Council Resolution 242 (November 22, 1967), Jarring Mission (1967-1971), Allon Plan (July 26, 1967), Rogers Plan (1969), UN Security Council Resolution 338 (October 22, 1973), Reagan Plan (Sept. 1, 1982), Oslo Accords (1993), Wye River Memorandum (October 23, 1998), Camp David 2000 Summit (2000), The Clinton Parameters (December 23, 2000), Taba summit (January 2001), The Tenet Plan (June 13, 2001), Elon Peace Plan (2002), Nusseibeh-Ayalon Agreement (2002), Arab Peace Initiative (March 28, 2002), The People's Voice (July 27, 2002), Road Map for Peace (April 30, 2003), Geneva Accord (October 20, 2003), Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of 2005 (February 8, 2005), 2006 Franco-Italian-Spanish Middle East Peace Plan and, sadly, the list goes on and on.
Sixty-four years has only changed the reference point of borders to the disadvantage of Palestinians, and today, the forces-that-be are proposing that the 1949 Armistice line (1967 green line) not be respected. Palestinians can only expect that remaining on the same path will result in Israel gobbling up more land while the international community continues to grasp for a workable initiative. In the meantime, the entire two-state paradigm is collapsing.
When we met in Bethlehem, Sam suggested that at a certain point, Palestinians would tire of waiting for an independent state and demand Israeli citizenship.

For me, his reference to "historical justice" and call for a Palestinian right of return would make an agreement quite remote. I'll tell you what I told him when we met in Bethlehem - his demand for justice sounded a lot like Israelis on the right who see this as a matter of justice. The solution I have in mind gets beyond righting past wrongs and looks to the future. Contenting yourselves with no justice, no peace, can very well leave you with neither.

You can read Sam Bahour's entire piece here.

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