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06th-Sep-2018

For the plight of Palestine

By

Christiane Waked :
Nationalisation of a territory is essential for the construction of a state. But what can happen in the case of Palestine, where since 1948 Israel has been remodelling the landscape in its own image to promote Zionist agenda and brutally erase Palestinian identity and history.
It is similar to someone stealing your property, removing your furniture, books and pictures, remodelling your house, and finally bargaining with you if you want to keep the tiniest part of what was once yours.
While in 2009 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time accepted the principle of "two states for two peoples", the government propaganda machine since then has made no reference to the creation of a Palestinian state.
In the last decade, a new strategy has been implemented rather discreetly to thwart a two-state solution and the focus has shifted to the definitive separation of the secular West Bank and the Islamist Gaza strip.
Backed by the US, this strategy is taking firm shape now. Washington's recent decision to cancel more than $200 million worth of financial aid is more like a political blackmail to corner the Palestinians and force them into submission.
The Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said in a statement that "this decision is a blatant declaration and recognition of the real significance of the American aid policy of interfering in the internal affairs of other peoples and influencing their national options."
The Israeli government has loosened the blockade of Gaza by allowing the entry of essential goods and civilian equipment, but the area remains isolated from the West Bank and reunification remains distant for the creation of a new Palestinian state.
The Palestinian landscape has been severely altered since the Oslo Accords came into being in 1993. The Accords should have led to the creation of a Palestinian state as stipulated in 1967, instead it has lead to further alienation of the people living there.
The Oslo Accords are, themselves, based on the Camp David Accords that were signed in 1978, but the reality is nothing has been done to implement these agreements in spirit. One can only explain the failure of the negotiations for peace due to the lack of will and interest from the Israel side. Since the announcement of the creation of the state of Israel, the maps of the occupied territory have witnessed a drastic change. The Arab and Palestinian names of roads, historic sites and rivers have replaced by Hebrew and Biblical names to serve Israel national interests. If the issue isn't resolved soon, all that will remain of Palestine will be its memories. Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, beautifully wrote: "If the olive trees knew the hands that planted them, their oil would turn into tears."
(Christiane Waked is a political analyst and linguist based in Beirut).