Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Realistic choice for both Israelis and Palestinians

Israel’s acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that he will continue to ‘work’ with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as long as the latter doesn’t cooperate with Hamas.

Olmert has also released Palestinian tax revenue back to their rightful owner, the Palestinian Authority. Earlier, Israel had withheld the money to exert pressure on Abbas not to consider Hamas as the next government. Withholding Palestinian tax revenue has been a constant Israeli pressure tactic to make Palestinian Authority succumb to Israeli wishes.

Isn’t it just galling that the Israelis, having stolen land from the Palestinians, dole out the Palestinian’s own money back to the Palestinians at its fancy as if the latter are wards of the intruder-robber? But then the guilt of Europe’s atrocities and the religious obsession of America have made this unjust situation so.

But let’s also face it – Israel is a fait accompli and getting rid of the State is unrealistic and too late. Additionally, it would be cruel to those who have since been born as Israelis through no fault of theirs, to be expelled or dispersed as their ancestor had been some 2,000 years ago. But Israel should exist as the Israel prior to the 1967 war. Really, no one is even expecting or asking the Israelis to withdraw to the 1948 borders.

Therefore, if Israel wants to exist in long term peace beside a Palestine, it must withdraw back to the 1967 borders – though, some minor readjustments of the old borders could be negotiated to the mutual satisfaction of the two parties. It has to meet the Palestinians at least a quarter way (not even half way).

More importantly, Israel and the USA should cease telling Palestinians who they, the oppressors, prefer as the Palestinian Authority. Palestinians are not their slaves, and would resent such talk-down to them. They also need to be aware that Hamas would never ever accept the existence of Israel, well, at least publicly for now. This has to do with its own political survival. Any Hamas leader who concedes so much as a hint to that possibility would be assassinated in no time.

The long term truce offered by Hamas leadership without conceding, for now, the right of Israel to exist is the optimum and only political avenue. With time and respectability of de jure authority, and the gradual indoctrination of its followers, Hamas leaders would eventually be able to accommodate the inevitability of Israel as a neighbour. But it has to be a neighbour within the 1967 borders. I’ll have to put the question on the status of Jerusalem in the too-hard basket.

The current hardheaded and avaricious arrogance of Israel, abetted by a (religiously) servile USA has effectively slammed shut the door to the possibility of peaceful coexistence.

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