Characterizing Them As Squatters

Unity government brings little joy
By Linda S. Heard
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Feb 21, 2007, 01:13

When questioned about the peace process, or rather the absence of one, Israeli officials are fond of laying the blame on Palestinian divisions.

We don’t have a partner for peace, they say. The Palestinians don’t have a single address. We are willing to talk but whom should we talk to, was their favoured bleat.

In recent months, their mantra had the ring of truth. The military wings of Fatah and Hamas fought on the streets of Gaza. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Esmail Haniya were at odds. There were whispers that an all out civil war was in the cards.

But now that Fatah and Hamas have come together to announce a unity government that will represent most Palestinian factions, the Israelis and their US backers have acted predictably by imposing pre-conditions on their recognition of the new entity.

These are the recognition of Israel, the renouncement of “terror” and agreement to honour prior agreements between Israel and the former Palestinian leadership.

This set of conditions is a one-way street. We must ask ourselves who is terrorising whom, the occupier or the occupied?

Which party is most terrifying? The one with the F16s, the helicopter gunships and the tanks or the one with homemade missiles that more often or not fail to reach their targets?

As for the recognition of Israel and a commitment to honour previous agreements, this is implied in the Makkah Accord, brokered by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and signed by Abbas and exiled Hamas leader Khalid Mesha’al.

But such subtleties aren’t good enough for Ehud Olmert and friends. They want total prostration. Total humiliation, when they just might hand the Palestinians a few crumbs. No guarantees, mind you.

It’s ironic, too, that Israel hasn’t abided by any of the agreements it is demanding the new unity government ratify, and neither has it adhered to decades of UN resolutions requiring it to pull back to pre-’67 borders and refrain from building illegal colonies.

This situation could be equated to a man whose home is taken over by squatters. The squatters have guns and the man has only stones. The squatters imprison and starve the man in his own basement and will only agree to talk about handing over one of the bedrooms when the man agrees to recognise the squatter’s rights to his home and throws away his rights together with his stones.

Unfortunately, when the man shouts for help he discovers that the police are firmly on the side of the squatters and even urge the squatters to make the man’s life as difficult as possible. When the man calls upon his friends and neighbours to come to his aid, they throw a little food over the wall now and again, and call out a few words of encouragement, hoping that the squatters and their friends don’t decide to call on them.

I’m sure that Israelis will object to being called squatters, but under international law they are indeed squatting on land occupied in 1967.

Following the 1967 war, the UN passed Resolution 242, under its Chapter 7 powers, calling for Israel’s withdrawal from “territories of recent conflict.”

Moreover, according to the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact, reaffirmed by the 1948 Nuremburg Tribunal, the acquisition of territory using military means is outlawed, while maintaining the integrity of international borders is enshrined in the UN Charter.

In this case, why on Earth should the Palestinians or anyone else recognise Israel’s right to exist on land it illegally grabbed in 1967?

There is absolutely no legal basis for the continued Israeli occupation of that land, which is easy to forget when we are constantly bombarded by US and Israeli propaganda as to Israel’s victimhood, when the true victims in this story are the Palestinians.

Read the rest here.

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