May 18, 2011

On "Bibi and Barack"

The Following comment was submitted online for Thomas L. Friedman’s "Bibi and Barack" 

Just a reminder and to put things into perspective, Palestine was a full-fledged state up to 1948, shortly after the world wars, the Balfour declaration has instigated a UN-lead partition of Palestine to include Israel as a state, and since the UN emerged as an international institution that dictates the recognition (and therefore existence) of states, Palestine was not listed as a state. The dynamics of the Mideast at the time has orchestrated a Britain-led 'mapping' of the region to fit its colonial aspirations and to ensure the creation of the state of Israel and the advancement of its interests. Therefore, loss of Palestinian lands has boldly continued through 2005. Such forceful 'eating-up' of lands by Israeli forces has been backed (militarily, financially and perhaps ideologically) by its US ally, and British ally. During those six decades, the US-ally Mideast countries' leaders were forced through vested interest with the US (and sometimes Israel) to maintain a status quo, this however was not the Arab streets' view. 

Tom explains that things have changed since these streets of Arab states have finally sparked an Arab Spring, which he seems to suggest has costed Israel the loss of its ME allies: Egypt, Turkey and Iran. Today, Israel and the US no longer have a bargaining power to expand their interests solely, in stead, they must finally come to terms to recognize their opponents in the ME and consider vested interests. 

Mr. Obama will create another rhetorical speech like the one he inaugurated in Egypt a few months before it celebrated its "Tahrir" moment. With Mahmoud Abbas and Tom writing about it in NYT, he will most likely call on the UN to recognize a state of Palestine, to its 1967 borders. Although this will not be embraced by Israeli-Jewish hard-liners, it will equally not be embraced by Arab-Muslim hard-liners. This will not appease the general public of the Arab world who aspire to achieve at least UN partition borders or even before. 

The state Palestine of 1948 has completely been demolished, economically and socially. For six decades, Israeli forces have exercised apartheid, use of force and (silenced) genocide which breaches the universal declaration of human rights, to which the international community has given a blind eye. In real life, this means 2-3 generations of Palestine have suffered greatly and created a generation that is not well-enough to rise. The plea for international assistance together with the resistance of the Palestinians were met by further injustice and violence that has not been legitimate. Therefore, the trust in progressing the peace process has greatly been undermined, if not irreversibly damaged. 

The creation of the state of Palestine is a good step for both Palestine and Israel. However, this will not guarantee peace nor the alleviation of injustice done to Palestinian nor will it mean that stability will be stroked. It will eventually help economic development, civil engagement, and therefore empowerment of political parties and state-building--without which a peace process is bound to failure. That is the last thing the US and Israel want, especially with the Arab Spring continuing to spread across the region, and it will not stop until it reaches the streets of Palestine. For the first time, the US receives a good wake-up call and Israel is forced to take the peace process most seriously.