So the Palestinians and Israelis are gearing up for another round of who can piss the other off first.
It’s odd that all of sudden after 5 years of stalled negotiations that John Kerry is trying to play match maker between the 2 sides that haven’t gotten along in 65 years. The more interesting thing is that there is a push for a Palestinian state. While that sounds like its good for the Palestinians, it’s actually exactly the same as the current situation, if not worse.
What most people don’t realize is that Palestinians live in constant state of restriction. I know that the word occupation is the term used to describe the situation, but I am using the word restriction to demonstrate that nothing the Palestinians do is within their own control. For example, Muslims cannot go pray in the Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem because it is a restriction imposed by the Israelis. When asked to justify this restriction, Israel says that it is a matter of protecting Israel. What about the wall that separates Palestinian families from one another? Just another restriction imposed by Israel. I’m not saying anything new that any well read person would not know.
Now keep these and the thousands of other restrictions in mind when thinking about this new set of peace talks. This new Palestinian state will have the same exact restrictions. Tack on the fact that Israel will insist that Palestine cannot have its own army to defend itself. It cannot have its own currency, and will not have access to Jerusalem. Oh, and that wall will become a permanent fixture.
But wait, there’s more. Let’s not forget about all of those fancy settlements that are sprinkled throughout the West Bank. Does Israel propose to create a Swiss cheese inspired border for this new Palestine? Do these settlers/occupiers get dual Palestinian and Israeli citizenship? This is a preposterous notion and just one of many many reasons why this Palestinian state is a bad idea.
And what about the Palestinians that had to leave their home in 1948 (my parents for example), or in 1967, or in 2013 because of settler activity. Will they have a right to return to their land and live in the home they built with their money, on land they’ve had for centuries? If the Israelis have their way, the answer is no. Why? Because that would be like admitting to kicking them off their land for no good reason, and admitting a wrong is not something the Israeli government has ever done (see Sabra & Shatilla).
“So, Firas, since you think you’re so smart, what’s the answer?” you might say. Well I would tell the Israelis that they can have the whole thing and call it Israel, just like the U.S. did to the Native Americans And just like the U.S. gave the Native Americans all the same rights, the Israelis should give the Palestinians all the same rights as Israelis. Why would Palestinians want that? Because it gives them freedom. Because it opens up a new economy for them to be a part of. Because fighting for the same occupation is a bad idea. Why would Israel want this? Because you now have a group of citizens that will be contributing to an economy that is having problems. Because by giving Palestinians the human rights they deserve, they will be a more peaceful bunch. This 65 year struggle has always been about freedom, dignity and human rights. Restore these to the Palestinians and you can call the land Super-hot-and-sweatty Land.
I could be totally wrong about everything, but I know that the peace talks in their current form are a dog and pony show of epic proportion. Let’s also keep in mind that these talks are happening when the death toll in Syria has reached 100,000 and Egypt is experiencing Arab Spring 2.0. This could be the U.S. saying to Israel, “Make nice with the Palestinians or it could get messy.” Too bad they’re trying to make nice with all the wrong ideas.