By William A. Cook
“Conquest and tyranny, at some earlier period, dispossessed Man of his rights, and he is now recovering them. And as the tide of all human affairs has its ebb and flow in directions contrary to each other, so also is it in this. Government founded on a moral theory, on a system of universal peace, on the indefeasible hereditary Rights of Man, is now revolving from west to east by a stronger impulse than the government of the sword revolved from east to west. It interests not particular individuals, but nations in its progress, and promises a new era to the human race.” — (Thomas Paine. The Rights of Man. 1791)
Paine wrote these words in 1791 in defense of the French Revolution, 300 years ago. How ironic that the French should rise again in a valiant attempt to reassert the “indefeasible hereditary Rights of Man” applied now to peace and justice in the mid-East, most particularly for the people of Palestine but reflective of the interests of all nations both in progress and in promise of a new era for the human race.
The Revolution erupted because the French people were frustrated with the inability of the King to confront the declining living conditions arising from over population, increased poverty, the rising national debt, religious intolerance, and resentment at the privileged aristocracy and their power over the King and people. They wanted a new government based on a constitution founded on equality through representatives acting on behalf of the people.
From 1789 to 1815 the French people suffered through a period of unending war resulting in an estimated 3 million killed. This catastrophic period of time was caused by the chasm of inequity between the privileged and the people: between the monarchy and the conscripted, the nobles and the peasants, the religious and the laity, the merchants and the poor – and expresses a horrific structure of government that continues to this day in the mid-east – only the words have changed.
Today, the French have offered to host an international peace plan to “reassert the indefeasible hereditary Rights of Man” for the people of Palestine recognizing in their plight the conditions that gave rise to the revolution they had to endure to achieve their rights 300 years ago. But they are not alone. French President, Francois Hollande noted, “Our initiative aims at giving the (Palestinians and the Israelis) guarantees that the peace will be solid, sustainable and under international supervision” (Gregg Sorova. USA Today, 6/3/2016). That move recognizes the authority of the United Nations as the principle force in bringing about a viable peace based on two states for two peoples.
The French understand what Henry David Thoreau wrote about the personal revolution that Captain John Brown waged against the US government on behalf of the slaves: “In Defense of Captain John Brown,” what Martin Luther King wrote in his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” what Thomas Paine wrote when he penned “The Rights of Man,” that the oppressed will not remain oppressed forever, that freedom cries from the inner soul, from the very nature of humankind, to be free from those who deny hope by subjugation to fear. Isn’t this the very rationale behind the existence of the state of Israel? Have they not been subjugated to fear by oppressors in centuries past and haven’t they now forced their way to their freedom, their right to defense of their land. Surely they comprehend the conditions imposed on those they have driven from their land, those who have the same inner rights as declared in this century by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights based on the very same logic as Thomas Paine?
Indeed forced is the right word as used above but the wrong method. The Zionists came from foreign lands not to share that land with those living there, but to steal it through terrorism, the kinds we know today as “false flag” bombing of innocents as in the destruction of the King David Hotel dressed as Arabs carrying milk cans, blowing up trains and machine gunning those who tried to escape from the carnage, booby trapping kidnapped Mandate soldiers hung from Eucalyptus trees, and more, much more all revealed in the Catling papers in the Rhodes House Archives, and at the Middle East Center of St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and the British National Archives and the Haganah Archives in Tel Aviv. The truth is available if we care to look; so is the intent and when intent is the genocidal destruction of the Palestinian people, the truth must be made known.
What then is the right method? It is force of a different kind. It is Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. It is done in unison with the member states of the United Nations that wish to abide by the charters and signed accords that unite people in protection of people. It is in the International Courts that weigh truth against evidence and judge innocence or guilt; it is the results of the General Assembly determining that such judgment must be brought before the court of world opinion. It is the peaceful assembly of UN Peace forces to provide protection for the peoples living in Palestine/Israel.
The French know the truth of those who seek to control negotiations presenting their stance in innocent terms as desiring to end a conflict, to seek a two-state solution, to carry forward with tried and true negotiations between the conflicting parties, and to do so without “prior conditions.”
Listen to the Prime Minister speaking of the Arab Peace proposal with reference to the new French peace plan: “The statement issued by the PMO said that Israel “adheres to its position that the best way to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is direct, bilateral negotiations. Israel is ready to begin them immediately without preconditions. Any other diplomatic initiative distances the Palestinians from direct negotiations” (Herb Keinon. 04/28/206).
That was two weeks ago. Listen to him now: “The ‘negative’ part (of the Arab Peace Plan) was the part where Israel ends its occupations and allows the Palestinians to establish a state” (Jason Ditz, June 13, 2016, Anti-War.com). A reversal is evident of pre-conditions required before even the thought of negotiations can take place.
But then Netanyahu has said again and again that there would be no two-state solution while he holds office. That in fact is but a continuation of Zionist intent since 1939; fortunately, should anyone doubt the reality of this intent and the horrific terror wrought by the Zionists in 1939 and to the end of the British Mandate in May 1948, readers can now obtain The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction issued now in paperback from Macmillan Company. There the whole horrid process to wrest Palestine from its indigenous people is laid bare from documents and statements spoken by the Zionists themselves as they set out to destroy the legally constituted government in Palestine.
“In short, the Zionist controlled Jewish Agency, the Yishuv, actively undermined the legal authority in Palestine even as it operated to undermine support for that government in Britain, placing UK forces in harm’s way as they attempted to fulfil their authorized responsibilities in Palestine. It also demonstrates the determination of the Agency’s leadership in undermining the very nation that gave it a means of establishing a “homeland” in Palestine through the Balfour Declaration. Needless to say, Catling and his CID forces recognized the impossible position this defiance placed them in and understood the deception and violent means used by the Zionists to ensure that their will and theirs alone would be fulfilled at any cost. On page 74 of the appendices, this assertion by the unnamed Head of Command, The Jewish Resistance Movement, March 25, 1946, establishes the reality of this point:
“‘But if the solution (i.e. that Britain would not repeal the White Paper) is anti-Zionist, our resistance will continue, spread and increase in vigor. …There are precepts in Jewish ethics which oblige a man to be killed rather than trespass. The precept of defense of our national existence is at the head of these. We shall not trespass. …Our resistance is liable to result in the creation of a new problem in this country – the British problem, the problem of British security in Palestine, and this problem will be resolved only by the Zionist solution. It would be better if the Zionist solution were proclaimed in recognition of the world Jewish problem and the justice of our work in Palestine. We do not threaten. We only wish you to know our intentions clearly.’”(Introduction, The Plight of the Palestinians, 14).
The French and the EU member states know that the Zionist government in Israel has not and does not now intend to bring into existence two states. For 77 years this has been the case and it will remain so as long as the nations of the world do nothing to intervene in the process now controlled by the US Congress that has capitulated to the desires of the Zionist AIPAC since 1967. Until and unless the US allows the UNSC to act in concert with the nations united in resolutions demanding that Israel be brought before the UNHRC and the ICJ by abstaining or voting “YES” on votes requiring action, Israel will remain immune from prosecution. That has been and will remain the destruction of the United Nations as an instrument capable of bringing peace to the world communities.
The United States has not been and cannot be an objective broker for peace in the mid-east precisely because it has a “special relationship” with that state resulting from legislation that ties Israel’s actions to the US as a complicit partner. It is therefore imperative for the UN to undertake the mission that France asks of it. Israel has continued to defy the UN yet remains a member. It has not only invaded a defenseless people at will, killing thousands and maiming untold numbers, destroyed essential infrastructures while taking no responsibility for reconstruction, doubled since 2014 the number of illegal Settlers in the West Bank while stealing ever more Palestinian land but also blames other nations for defiance they are guilty of and continue with impunity.
The UN and France must stipulate that these negotiations be equal, must begin negotiations with maps that show the UN recognition of what it determined as the Partition Plan of 1947, must give equal authority to Palestine as Israel, and must have an international system of control in place that will guarantee open, honest and just discussions thereby forcing Israel to confront what it has determined to be its rights, as noted above in the passage quoted from The Plight of the Palestinians. The UN must take responsibility for what it created in November of 1947 and “force” the Zionist controlled government of Israel to accept justice in a world that determines what justice is – peacefully yet determinedly.
The basis of these discussions must be the inalienable rights of humans as stated so convincingly by Thomas Paine in The Rights of Man. The world communities have rights as well, most especially a right to demand justice for the people of Palestine.
– William A. Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California and author of several books. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit his website: www.drwilliamacook.com.