Palestinians will not surrender to occupation and apartheid

Oct 10, 2023
Flags of Palestine and Israel painted on cracked wall. Palestinian conflict

Every drop of Palestinian and Jewish blood shed is on the hands of the United States, Australian and Western countries politicians who closed their eyes to the aggression, occupation, ethnic cleansing, and violation of international laws and resolutions carried out by Israel against the Palestinian people for more than seventy-five years.

Following the Nakba in 1948, the massacres, the ethnic cleansing of more than 70% of the Palestinian people, and the establishment of Israel on the ruins of Palestine, all Palestinian initiatives and huge compromises to solve the Palestinian question and the Arab Israeli conflict peacefully, based on humane values, international law and resolutions, were not only rejected by Israel but were also ignored by the US and Western countries who brazenly continued their blind support for Israeli colonialism in Palestine.

Israel’s rejection of Palestinian peace initiatives and peaceful efforts to achieve their legitimate and inalienable rights to freedom and self-determination in their homeland, left no room for the Palestinian people but to use the same language that Israel uses, which is the language of force.

The US granted international protection to the people in Bosnia and the Kurds in Iraq, but it refused protection to the Palestinian people. The US, Australia and Western countries provide financial, military and political support to the Ukrainians against Russian aggression and occupation, but they support Israel’s aggression and occupation of the Palestinians. Even Palestinian attempts to take Israel to the International Court of Justice were opposed by the US, Australia, and other Western countries. What other option did these countries leave to the Palestinian people but to restore their rights through force.

The Palestinian people, represented by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), presented the first Palestinian peace initiative in 1968 to establish a democratic, secular non-sectarian state in which all Muslims, Christians and Jews would coexist with equal rights under the protection of the law. The late President Yasser Arafat formally presented the Palestinian peace initiative in his historic speech at the United Nations on 13 November 1974, saying, “The PLO dreams and hopes for one democratic state where Christians, Jews, and Muslims live in justice, equality, fraternity and progress.” Israel rejected this Palestinian peace initiative.

Following the 1987 Intifada, the highest political authority in the PLO, the Palestine National Council (PNC), held its nineteenth session on 12 November 1988, which I had the honour to attend as an observer, and made a huge, painful, and historic compromise, ceding 78% of Palestine and major Palestinian cities and fertile land for peace, and accepted establishing a Palestinian state with its historic capital, the city of Jerusalem, in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories, which represents only 22% of Palestine.

Arafat presented the second Palestinian peace initiative for the establishment of a two-state solution to the UN General Assembly on 13 December 1988. In his speech, Arafat called on the international community to stand by the struggle of the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and enable them to return from the compulsory exile they were forced into at gunpoint. He said, “I ask you to help put an end to the injustice dished out to successive generations of our people over several decades, so that they may live as free and sovereign people on their native soil and in their homes and enjoy all their national and human rights.”

Once again, Israel rejected the second Palestinian peace initiative and recognition of Palestinian rights. Yet, while Israel rejects Palestinian and Arab peace initiatives, it has never submitted any peace initiative based on recognition of Palestinian rights, respect of international law and relevant UN resolutions.

The Intifada and the sacrifices made by the Palestinians in their steadfastness, and the failure of all repressive attempts to quell it, forced Israel to start secret talks with the PLO in Oslo, which resulted in the Declaration of Principles (DOP), also known as the Oslo Accords, and mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO, signed on the White House lawns on 13 September 1993.

The agreement detailed the establishment of a Palestinian Interim Self-Government in the West Bank and Gaza for a transitional period of five years, during which Israel would transfer authority from the Israeli military government and its Civil Administration to the Palestinian Authority and complete its withdrawal from the Palestinian territories it occupied in 1967 in accordance with Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 by 1999. The agreement also set time guidelines for negotiations on the outstanding issues, including the right of the Palestinian refugees to return home.

It became clear later that Israel did not sign the Oslo Accords in good faith to build peace but to build what they call “The Greater Land of Israel” in all of historic Palestine and parts of neighboring Arab countries. Together with its lobby, they turned deception into an art and culture. They exploited the Oslo Accords’ “peace process”, giving the PLO and the international community a false impression that Israel intended to recognise the rights of the Palestinian people and withdraw from the 1967-occupied Palestinian territories in accordance with UN resolutions 242 and 338, in order to stop the Intifada and the resistance, enhancing Israel’s position internationally to obtain recognition of countries that did not recognise it and to win more time to solidify its occupation and expansion.

While the world was talking about withdrawal and peace, they were dividing the Occupied Territories into enclaves, separating Gaza, the West Bank cities and Jerusalem from each other, confiscating more land, building and expanding Jewish colonies, launching aggression after aggression, expanding their racial discrimination, collectively punishing, weakening and dominating the Palestinians to force them to surrender, relying on their massive military power and nuclear bombs and their manipulation of the decision-makers of the US and the media through their well-funded influential lobbies in the US and Western countries.

So, what does the world expect Palestinians to do in these circumstances?

It is time the international community bear its full responsibility in putting an end to regarding Israel above the UN Charter, resolutions and international law. What is applied and practiced against, Russia and Ukraine, Iraq, and the former racist regime in South Africa, must also be applied against Israel’s aggression, occupation, violations and apartheid policy against the Palestinian people.

After seventy-five years of trying Israel must know it will not be able to finish the Palestinian people off and force them to surrender. They are here to stay and achieve their full legitimate rights to return to their homeland and exercise their freedom and self-determination on their soil. The sooner Israelis and their unabashed supporters learn this lesson the better for peace and an end to bloodshed, violence and wars.

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