Where is Pales­tine?

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - Lo­cal muna@kuwait­times.net By Muna Al-Fuzai

In mid-2015, the UN Spe­cial Co­or­di­na­tor for the Mid­dle East peace process Ni­co­lai Mlade­nov is­sued a re­port through the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil call­ing on the Palestinian and Is­raeli sides to make ev­ery ef­fort to build on ex­ist­ing agree­ments, tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions, the roadmap and the Arab peace ini­tia­tive to reach a mu­tual agree­ment. The re­port stated that the com­ing pe­riod will be cru­cial for the fu­ture of the peace process, with grow­ing con­cerns about the ab­sence of ne­go­ti­a­tions to reach a two-state so­lu­tion.

The re­port pointed out that the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion will in­evitably lead to the con­tin­u­ous ero­sion of the liv­ing con­di­tions of Pales­tini­ans and Is­raelis alike and will un­der­mine se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity for all. The re­port called on the govern­ment of Is­rael to take prac­ti­cal steps to reaf­firm its com­mit­ment to the two-state so­lu­tion, in­clud­ing the freez­ing of set­tle­ment ac­tiv­ity.

Two years have passed and the sit­u­a­tion is still burn­ing, and even got worse re­cently. It seems there’s no hope of a near-mirac­u­lous break­through. Be­cause nei­ther the Is­raeli govern­ment is pre­pared to co­op­er­ate nor the Pales­tini­ans are ready to ac­cept any­thing less, be­cause they have been suf­fer­ing for many years over mak­ing any move in fa­vor of their case, which to­day seems like an old is­sue in a global file filled with hun­dreds of hot is­sues in a semi-rup­tured Arab world.

There­fore, Pales­tine to­day is nei­ther vic­to­ri­ous nor van­quished. The few Pales­tini­ans who still live there on hope and the Arab dream are not even able to find their daily bread, let alone peace. Amidst the in­tran­si­gence of Is­raeli forces and the provo­ca­tions and ha­rass­ment that con­tinue over ob­serv­ing re­li­gious rites, Is­raelis them­selves are not be­ing able to live in safety, sta­bil­ity and peace. So there are no win­ners or losers ev­ery­one has been de­feated.

Ear­lier this month, the Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties closed AlAqsa Mosque and sur­round­ing ar­eas for the first time in years af­ter a shoot­ing in­ci­dent. On Fri­day, the Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion forces im­posed re­stric­tions on the en­try of wor­shipers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for Fri­day prayers, and opened only three doors for wor­shipers to en­ter un­der cer­tain con­di­tions re­lated to age and gen­der.

The Is­raeli govern­ment blames the at­tacks on Is­raelis on “in­cite­ment” among Pales­tini­ans from Is­lamist move­ments. In con­trast, the Palestinian Author­ity says the rea­son is the state of frus­tra­tion caused by decades of Zion­ist oc­cu­pa­tion. I be­lieve that no coun­try or in­ter­na­tional power can now of­fer a mag­i­cal so­lu­tion that can be fully sat­is­fac­tory to the two par­ties in light of a his­tor­i­cal, re­li­gious and hu­man­i­tar­ian con­flict where each party sees that it is com­pletely right and the other has to leave its home­land.

This can­not be achieved on the ground, es­pe­cially with the strat­egy of the United States, which does not seem to see the Palestinian and Is­raeli con­flict from a hu­man­i­tar­ian or his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive, but as an old is­sue re­lated to its strate­gic and in­ter­na­tional in­ter­ests, and there­fore it is not im­por­tant to them how many Pales­tini­ans are dy­ing or tor­tured. They see the Is­raelis as a force ca­pa­ble of pro­tect­ing them­selves with all the weapons they have ob­tained. It is a com­plex is­sue in­deed and I do not think that the launch of new ne­go­ti­a­tions will bring any change now.

So what is the so­lu­tion? I be­lieve that the Euro­peans and the EU have the el­e­ments of any pos­si­ble ini­tia­tive that can be taken se­ri­ously, in­clud­ing com­mit­ment, clar­ity and trans­parency in the po­si­tion on the Palestinian is­sue. For ex­am­ple, these coun­tries through the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil can call for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of res­o­lu­tion 2334 is­sued on Dec 23, 2016 and em­pha­size the need to com­mit Is­rael to re­move all ob­sta­cles to wor­shipers to en­ter Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City of Jerusalem.

Al-Aqsa Mosque has great im­por­tance in the hearts of Mus­lims and its clo­sure was a se­ri­ous mis­take that can­not be tol­er­ated. There­fore, the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil must con­demn Is­raeli prac­tices in vi­o­la­tion of in­ter­na­tional res­o­lu­tions and law. This de­ci­sion will not achieve the dreams of the Pales­tini­ans in their home­land, but it is an im­por­tant mes­sage to Is­rael that Al-Aqsa Mosque is a red line and must not be breached.

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