Archive for Palestinian state

Israeli historian Ilan Pappé thinks ‘there will never be two states’

Posted in History, International community, Israel, Palestine, Peace process, West Bank with tags , , , , , , , , , on 17/08/2009 by 3071km

Date published: 17th  August 2009

Source: Orange.es (translated from Spanish into English by 3.071 Km).

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When the Israeli historian Ilan Pappé said that ‘there will never be two states,’ one Israeli and one Palestinian, it is not with pessimism, but from the sad conviction that the ‘Zionist colonial project’ has no reverse gear.

Scourge of the official historiography of the Jewish State, Pappé (Haifa, 1954) does not scrimp on controversial terms ( ‘racism’, ‘ethnic cleansing’) and hide in the political correctness ( ‘I am an anti-Zionist historian and a peace activist ‘) to analyze the past and present of his country in an interview with Efe.

Two years ago, tired of pressures and threats, Pappé made the bags and changed the University of Haifa their home by the Department of History of Exeter (England).

Last week he returned to the area to give a lecture sponsored by the Spanish Cooperation in the Arab village of Anata, West Bank, where husking that ‘another story’, which says, ‘Israeli society is not yet ready to listen” .

‘People break the mirror when they do not like what they see in it. I am the mirror that the Israelis do not like, which does not mean that what they see is not there,’ he pointed.

Pappé is one of the passionate supporters of the imposition of sanctions on Israel and boycotting their products, events and universities to ‘send a message to their society and government, both of which strongly want to be part of the West, that in these circumstances they can not expect to be seen as a civilized nation.”

‘Inside Israel there is very little hope of change. And things turn to worse. So we need pressure from outside, although it is not known whether it will work. We must try for the sake of the people who are here,’ he argues.

The author of ‘The ethnic cleansing of Palestine’ and ‘History of Modern Palestine: one land, two peoples’ rejects the idea that a boycott of Israel might be counterproductive to the Jewish State, entrenched in a ‘the world hates us’, in front of measures that could remind to an extent the ones the Third Reich took against Jews in Germany.

“Israeli society can not close itself more. It is already in the worst side of its history in terms of understanding what is happening around them. The boycott can only be for the better. Maybe a blow like this will open their eyes “, says.

Pappé argues it is essential to convince the international community that the Zionist project is as colonial as the South African apartheid was.

In fact, one of the projects that he is working on is the release of a comparative analysis among the two paradigms that is revealing ‘many similarities’.

‘In some cases, the Palestinians are being treated much better than the Africans in the South African apartheid, but in others it is far worse here. In both cases there is a colonial project. However, while in South Africa all the world saw it as such, in Israel we are still fighting to convince  the international community about it,” he says.

Son of German Jews who escaped the Nazis, Pappé criticized, however, another frequent comparison of Israel with Hitler’s Germany.

‘Surely it is not politically or historically rigorous, because the Nazis practiced genocide and Israel practices what might be called ethnic cleansing, which is different’, differenciated.

‘The Nazis – he continues -, were a unique case and comparisons with them will not help to understand the situation. I do not judge it as an Israeli, this is not my problem, but as a professional historian and as an activist for peace. I think, in fact, that this comparison undermines the Palestinian cause. ”

A cause that, in his view, is not based on claimin the creation of a state in Gaza and the West Bank, but the establishment of a single secular multi-ethnic nation in the historical Palestine.

‘In Ramallah, Nablus or Anata there is no independence. Everything is part of Israel in different legal systems. There will never be two states, because the only state already exists. So you can only dream of a different regime. It is a utopia, but the only one by which it is worth fighting,” he concludes.

Is it not too late, after decades of accumulated hatred, for Jews and Arabs living together in a single country? ‘I think it’s just the opposite, – replied with determination -,  ‘the one state solution is already a reality: Israel, which controls everything.”

Fatah votes for new council members

Posted in Everyday life in the West Bank, Fatah, Hamas, History, Israel, Israeli occupation, Non-violent resistance, Palestine, Peace process, Pictures, West Bank with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10/08/2009 by 3071km

Date published: 10th August 2009

Source: Al Jazeera English

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President Abbas cast his ballot as voting for Fatah’s governing bodies got under way [AFP]

Delegates at Fatah’s conference in the occupied West Bank have begun voting for a new executive body and assembly that many hope will be filled with fresh faces.

The much-delayed vote got under way on Sunday, with voting expected to last for at least 10 hours and little indication of when results would be due.

Delegates are choosing among 96 candidates, six of them women, standing for election to the 21-member central committee.

They are also selecting from 617 party members, including 50 women, vying for the 80 places open in a 128-seat Revolutionary Council, the movement’s parliament.

The Bethlehem conference has been billed as an opportunity for Fatah to rejuvenate itself and shed its image as corrupt and nepotistic.

Delegates ‘encouraged’

Al Jazeera’s Nour Odeh, reporting from Bethlehem, said: “Despite the accusations of nepotism and political money a lot of the delegates we’ve been speaking to have been encouraged by the voting process and the names on the list of nominees.”

One of the favoured candidates for election is Marwan Barghouthi, at 50 a younger, articulate and popular member of the movement, currently in an Israeli jail.Also in the running is Mohammed Dahlan, 48, a Fatah strongman from Gaza
blamed by many for the Hamas takeover there.

While delegates in Bethlehem filled in their voting sheets, about 300 Fatah members from the Gaza Strip, barred by Hamas from attending the conference, dictated their votes by telephone or sent them in by email.

The voting has twice been delayed and what was billed as a three-day conference has dragged on.

But Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator and a nominee for Fatah’s central committee, said that this was in itself positive for Fatah.

“Many people think that Fatah is like many other parties in this region where its leader sits somewhere in the mountain and he sends something and people will see with one eye, hear with one ear, speak with one tongue,” he told Al Jazeera.

“Fatah is unlike this, we have, I think, 2,325 delegates. We had 2,325 opinions, every point [was discussed] … but at the end of the day, now, we have a political programme.”

Political programme

Delegates adopted the new political programme, which calls for an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, earlier on Sunday. Erekat said that while the programme was a call for peace, it required Israel to fulfil its commitments.”Fatah wants peace, but peace cannot be obtained without Israel withdrawing to the 1967 border, establishing a Palestinian state on the ’67 border with East Jerusalem as it capital,” he told Al Jazeera.

The adopted programme reads: “The aim of Fatah as a liberation movement is to end the Israeli occupation and achieve independence for the Palestinian people in a state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

While the platform reserved the movement’s right to take up arms against Israeli occupation, it also encouraged Palestinians to use more peaceful means to
pressure Israel, like demonstrations and support of a boycott of Israel abroad.

“At this stage, we are focusing on popular struggle, but the armed struggle is a right reserved to us in international law,” Nabil Shaath, a senior party member, said.

Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, described the Fatah platform as “not very promising.”

“But there is no other way for the Middle East but to sit down and strike a deal and agree on a peace for the region and arrangement between us and the Palestinians,” Barak said, calling on Abbas to enter negotiations.

You can exist if it’s the way I want…

Posted in International community, Israel, Israeli politics, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, USA foreign policy, West Bank with tags , , , , , , on 14/06/2009 by 3071km

Date published: 14th June 2009

Source: Al-Jazeera English

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Israeli PM lays out peace terms

Israel’s settlement building has been a stumbling block to the peace process [AFP]

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has called for the creation of a demilitarised Palestinian state, saying this would be key to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

In his much-anticipated policy speech on Sunday, Netanyahu called for the immediate resumption of peace talks between the two sides.

“In my vision of peace, two people live in good neighbourly relations, each with their own flag … Neither threaten the other’s security,” he told his audience at Bar-Ilan University, outside Tel Aviv.

“In any peace agreement, the territory under Palestinian control must be disarmed, with solid security guarantees for Israel.”

Netanyahu called for “immediate negotiations for peace without prior arrangements” from the Palestinians, and said he was willing to meet Arab leaders anywhere to discuss the issue.

“I call the leaders of the Arab nations to co-operate with the Palestinians and with us on economic peace,” he said.

Palestinian reaction

But the Palestinian Authority based in Ramallah in the West Bank reacted angrily to Netanyahu’s demands.

Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, dismissed the speech, saying: “Netanyahu’s remarks have sabotaged all initiatives, paralysed all efforts being made and challenges the Palestinian, Arab and American positions.”

In depth

Profile: Binyamin Netanyahu
World awaits Netanyahu speech
Q&A: Jewish settlements
Netanyahu on peace
Riz Khan: The battle over Israeli settlements
Riz Khan: The future of US-Israeli relations
Inside Story: Roads and obstacles to peace
Inside Story: US and Israel poles apart

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ senior negotiator, called on Obama to intervene to force Israel to abide by previous interim agreements that include freezing settlement activity in the West Bank.”The peace process has been moving at the speed of a tortoise. Tonight, Netanyahu has flipped it over on its backm,” he said.

This is the first occasion that Netanyahu has endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state, but many see a disarmed Palestinian state as handing too much power to Israel.

“Netanyahu did not accept the principle of a two-state solution,” Lamis Andoni, Al Jazeera’s Middle East analyst, said.

“He reduced the concept of a Palestinian state to that of a demilitarised entity that would remain under Israeli control.

“This is at best a formula to establish a Palestinian Bantustan that will not end the Israeli occupation but would legitimise Israeli control.”

‘Brothers and sisters’

Israel and the Palestinians relaunched peace negotiations at the Annapolis conference in the US in November 2007.

But the talks made little progress and were suspended during Israel’s war on Gaza in December and January.

The Palestinians have said that they will not restart negotiations unless Netanyahu publicly backs the two-state solution and stops the building of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.

Netanyahu’s terms
A Palestinian state would be demilitarised

Palestinian refugees would be resettled outside of Israel


Jerusalem will remain undivided

Palestinians must recognise Israel as a Jewish state

In his speech, Netanyahu briefly defended Jewish settlers, a bloc from which he draws much support, calling them “our brothers and sisters”.He said there would be an end to new settlement building, but vowed that Jerusalem would remain undivided.

Addressing Palestinian, Netanyahu urged them to recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

“Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people and so it shall remain,” he said.

Jacky Rowland, Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem correspondent, said: “Significantly, it seems like the word ‘Palestinian state’ was something rather sour tasting that Netanyahu didn’t want to have in his mouth.

“It was only at a very late stage in the speech he actually said ‘we would be prepared to work towards a real peace agreement to establish an independent state living alongside Israel’. But only then if the Palestinians recognised Israel as a Jewish state and if the Palestinian state was to be completely demilitarised.

“So, heavy conditionality from an Israeli prime minister who didn’t seem to actually want to utter the word ‘state’ at all.”

‘Sad day’

Netanyahu’s speech had been heralded in Israel as a response to the address 10 days earlier by Barack Obama, the US president, to the Muslim world, in which he vowed to pursue a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Netanyahu’s policy speech had been
highly anticipated [AFP]

Obama’s speech raised fears in Israel at the time that Washington might qualify its support to its ally in a bid to improve its relations with the Muslim world.But Hady Amr, the director of the Brookings Doha centre, said Netanyahu’s speech fell well short of Obama’s address.

“Ten days ago, when President Obama spoke, there was so much hope, there was so much vision.

“He spoke about America’s failings over the years … There was none of that in this speech,” Amr said.

“I think this is a sad day for the Jewish people, the Palestinian people, the Arab people, the Israeli people, because this speech does not bring us closer to peace.

“What it does is it lays down conditions. I guess it sets the tone that this is not the Israeli government that’s going to make peace … I think it’s a sad day for the peoples of the region.”