Talks with Israel only legitimise its illegal activities
Sixty seven years ago, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181, better known as the partition plan, which agreed on the division of Palestine into two states. This was an era when imperialism, colonialism, racism and ethnic cleansing were tolerated. World powers believed that they could decide on the fates of less powerful countries without consulting the indigenous inhabitants. With this in mind, it is not surprising that Palestinians correctly decided not to accept the partition of their country to make way for Zionist colonists and their imperial backers.
The UN’s partition plan would have left Palestinians with less than half of Palestine, despite the fact that they were the majority in both halves of their divided country. Naturally, the Jewish leadership at the time accepted partition because it would serve in legitimizing Zionism and act as a springboard for the further acquisition of Palestinian land. Soon after the Zionists appeared to the world to have accepted the partition plan, their campaign to acquire more Palestinian land began in earnest. Jewish forces soon swept through land allocated to the "Arab state" and by the end of the Nakhba, Israel had not only ethnically-cleansed 75 percent of the Palestinian population from the country, but was now in control of an additional 30 percent more land in Palestine than it was originally allocated.
Today, the logic of partition is no less absurd than it was 67 years ago, for the passage of time does not serve to make racist ideas, such as Zionism or apartheid, more palatable but only accentuated the inherent injustice committed against Palestinians. What is surprising, however, is that today the Palestinian leadership continues to accept the logic of partition rather than push for the liberation of Palestine and the return of all Palestinian refugees. This logic of partition is what continues to drive the current Palestinian leadership sitting in Ramallah, and its various "initiatives".
|Today, the logic of partition is no less absurd than it was 67 years ago, for the passage of time does not serve to make racist ideas, such as Zionism or apartheid, more palatable|
Take, for example, more than 20 years of talks with Israel - the longest political negotiations in modern history. These negotiations have served only to entrench Israel’s military rule and increase the number of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Since the start of these negotiations in the early nineties, Israel’s colonies have expanded exponentially with more than 600,000 settlers living in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. The aim of Israel is to expand Israeli settlements as much as possible to expand the borders of the state.
Concessions and conquest
Alongside this is the idea that for a peace agreement to be achieved, these colonies must be "accommodated" by Palestinians. At the core of the Clinton scheme, the Abbas initiative or the Olmert plan is the acceptance of large numbers of Israeli colonies and the ceding of further Palestinian territory to Israel.
But the logic of accommodating Israel’s creeping expansion into Palestinian territories, just like the logic of partition, only serves to reward illegal colonial activity and military aggression. At the same time, there are demands on Palestinians to make concessions on their rights and territory for the sake of peace. Negotiations are not based on the original Partition Plan but rather on the 1967 borders, another line drawn by imperial powers.
By accommodating the ideologies of Zionism and partition, one can better understand the widespread and growing acceptance in Israel of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s "peace plan", where Palestinians in Israel would be ethnically cleansed from their homes to make way for a Jewish state. Indeed, the logic of an ethnically-pure Israel, or an apartheid state, which is being pursued by Lieberman and his ilk, flows from the acceptance of the idea of partition on ethno-religious lines.
With the failure of more than two decades of negotiations and international concessions, while Israeli demands continue to grow, it should be clear by now that Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and its continued colonisation, will not be addressed by the drawing of a border. Rather it is the very idea of Zionism – and the historical notion that imperial powers can determine the fate of others – that must be defeated. In other words, efforts should be focused on liberation and return and not the accommodation of the racist ideology of Zionism. This will not be done by pressing for an upgrading of Palestine’s status before the United Nations, nor by pushing for an "end to occupation," as the Ramallah leadership has promised, but only by demanding that partition, Zionism and apartheid must end and will never be accomodated.
Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.