By Jamal Kanj
Following the historical recognition by the Swedish government, British legislators voted overwhelmingly on a non-binding resolution urging their government to recognize the state of Palestine.
Ireland’s Seanad and Spain’s parliament passed similar motions on October 22 and November 18 respectively.
Sweden, the home of the Nobel Peace Prize, has positioned itself in the forefront of European nations, who in time, would most likely follow in its footsteps and recognize the state of Palestine.
On the other side of the Channel, the government of David Cameron has a unique opportunity to heed British legislators and rectify a small part of Britain’s historical sin when its mandate power transformed Palestine from a nation of over 90 per cent Muslim and Christian majority into a new transplanted Jewish majority.
France’s National Assembly has scheduled its resolution for November 28. A vote to take place almost 67 years to the day when 33 countries ‘“ mostly vassal states ‘“ passed a UN resolution in 1947 to divide Palestine between its original inhabitants and Jewish immigrants.
Israeli ambassador to Ireland protested the European recognitions calling it ‘stunt gestures’ providing an excuse to Palestinians ‘who hope to achieve their goals without talking directly with Israel’.
Unless the Israeli ambassador was addressing an extraterrestrial horde, everyone on this planet knows that Palestinians have been ‘talking directly with Israel’ for at least 23 years. Starting in 1991 at the Madrid talks and 24 years after Israel occupied the West Bank, Palestinians and Israelis have spent about one year of ‘talking’ for every year of occupation.
If Israel genuinely believes that ‘talking” is the best approach, why wouldn’t they give the international community a chance to talk more with Iran instead of sanctions and threat of war?
Iran and the P5+1 have talked for less than one-seventh of that between Palestinians and Israel. While negotiations with Iran were conducted under a strict sanction regime, Israel used ‘talking’ to create ‘Jewish facts’ on the ground rendering it impossible to establish a viable Palestinian state.
Israeli leaders talk in vague terms about a two-state solution; however, respective Israeli governments have refused to spell out clearly the geographic location of such a state. In fact, many Israeli leaders have advocated that Palestine was in Jordan.
According to David Horovitz of the Times of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu had made it ‘explicitly’ clear that he could ‘never, ever, countenance a full sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank’.
Just days after American, Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli leaders met in Jordan to reduce current tension in Jerusalem, Israel issued new permits to build more Jewish-only homes and Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli foreign minister declared ‘We won’t accept any limitation on building’ in occupied East Jerusalem.
Washington reiterated, academically, its ‘unequivocal’ opposition to new colonies in East Jerusalem. Interestingly while appeasing the Palestinian Authority (PA) with lip services, the US on the other hand provides Israel with the financial means and the political protection to do the very things it ‘unequivocally’ condemns.
With Sweden’s domino effect, and the pending resolution before the UN Security Council to set a timetable to end Israeli occupation, the onus remains on the PA to push further and request the International Criminal Court (ICC) to adjudicate on Israeli violations of international law.
Two years ago, the PA fumbled the UN recognition when it delayed joining the ICC and used that small victory as a cover to justify a return to the endless and aimless negotiations.
The PA should understand that recent international recognition is no cause for another pause. Small successes are effective only if they are used as part of a continuum towards achieving holistic objectives.
The PA must thrust forward to translate recognition into a reality or allow the Palestinian street to ‘negotiate’ with Israel. There isn’t much to lose, but Israeli-issued VIP passes.
- Jamal Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes regular newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. (A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.)