المساران «الإسرائيلي» والفلسطيني

مارس 18, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– قبل أيام على صواريخ تل أبيب وعملية سلفيت النوعية البطولية، خرج أحد المستوطنين في تسجيل من باحة المسجد الأقصى يصف الفلسطينيين بالجبن، باعتبارهم مصنوعين من سكر ولم يخرجوا إلى المسجد الأقصى بسبب المطر خشية الذوبان، وبعد أيام قليلة كان المصنوعون من سكر يقصفون بصواريخ تتخطّى القبة الحديدة وتسقط في تل أبيب، وبعدها بأيام يقوم شاب فلسطيني بطعن جندي صهيوني وتجريده من سلاحه، وإطلاق النار بواسطة هذا السلاح على مجموعة من الجنود فيقتل ثلاثة منهم ويتوارى. ويظهر المساران الفلسطيني والإسرائيلي متعاكسين، يتبادلان الحال العربية الإسرائيلية قبل عقود، يوم كان الكلام الكبير للعرب والفعل الكبير للإسرائيليين، ليبدو اليوم أن الكلام الكبير للإسرائيليين حكاماً ومستوطنين، بينما الأفعال الكبيرة للفلسطينيين.

– خلال العقدين الماضيين، ومنذ العام 2000 سلك المساران الفلسطيني والإسرائيلي اتجاهين متعاكسين، فمنذ إجبار «إسرائيل» على الانسحاب دون مقابل أو تفاوض من جنوب لبنان، ومقابلها اندلاع انتفاضة المسجد الأقصى، بدأ المسار التصاعدي لحساب الفلسطينيين، ومقابله مسار الانحدار الإسرائيلي، وتلاها تحرير غزة عام 2005 والفشل الإسرائيلي في حرب تموز 2006، وها نحن اليوم في مرحلة ما بعد الفشل الدولي والإقليمي الذي كانت «إسرائيل» جزءاً عضوياً منه في الحرب على سورية، وتنامي قدرات محور المقاومة، ذهبت «إسرائيل» نحو تصعيد فلسفة الجدار، رغم كل الصراخ عن القدرة على خوض الحروب، فشكل الإعلان عن دولة يهودية تعبيراً عن فلسفة الجدار، ومثله نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس، إعلاناً عن العجز على السير في أي مشروع تفاوضي نحو تسوية سياسية يعادل العجز عن خوض الحروب، ولو رآه البعض علامة قوة فهو ليس إلا دليل ضعف.

– رغم الانقسام الفصائلي الحاد يبدو الفلسطينيون أقرب سياسياً لبعضهم في الإجماع على رفض التفاوض والدور الأميركي ومشروع صفقة القرن، بصورة لم يسبق أن شكل الموقف من التفاوض ومن نسخ التسوية المعروضة ومن العلاقة مع واشنطن، أسباباً دائمة للانقسام السياسي والشعبي، رغم وجود تفاهمات بين حركتي فتح وحماس وتشاركهما حينها في الانتخابات وتشكيل الحكومة، بينما يبدو الإسرائيليون رغم ظاهر تفرقهم في مستويات الخطاب التصعيدي انتخابياً، مدركين حجم المأزق الوجودي الذي يعيشه كيانهم، والمتمثل بفقدان قدرة الذهاب للحرب أو قدرة الذهاب للتسوية، فالجبهات كلها مقفلة ومخاطر العبث معها مكلفة، والتسويات لا تقل كلفة، وليس في الكيان من يجرؤ على المخاطرة في الاتجاهين.

– ثمة تحولات كبرى جرت في المنطقة، فقدت خلالها «إسرائيل» الإمساك بزمام المبادرة، ومقابلها حدثت تحولات معاكسة امتلك خلالها الفلسطينيون ومن ورائهم قوى وحكومات محور المقاومة، المزيد من عناصر القدرة على المبادرة، حيث الاشتباك المفتوح مع جيش الاحتلال وقطعان المستوطنين، وطريق التفاوض مقفل كخيار يقسم الفلسطينيين، والقدرة العربية والغربية على إنعاش مسار التفاوض تتراجع، وخيار المقاومة يصير طريقاً حتمياً وحيداً، وقد أثبت قدرته على تحقيق الإنجازات، ويكفي النظر في كيفية التهرّب الإسرائيلي من التورط في الرد على صواريخ غزة على تل أبيب لمعرفة تبدل الأحوال الذي نعيش في ظله، بعدما كانت «إسرائيل» تصنع أحداثاً لتتخذها ذرائع لشن الحروب يوم كانت قادرة عليها، صارت تهوّن من خطورة التحديات لتبرير الهروب من المواجهات والحروب، لأنها فقدت هذه القدرة.

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Al-Quds International Foundation Calls for Rejecting all Forms of Normalization with Zionist Enemy

Source

Saturday, 09 March 2019 22:26

DAMASCUS- Presidential Political and Media Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban said that Syria’s martyrs who have died in the battle against terrorism and its supporters are the martyrs of Palestine, because targeting Syria is a direct targeting of the Palestinian cause, SANA reported.

Shaaban was speaking at a press conference following the meeting of Al-Quds International Foundation’s board of secretaries at Dama Rose Hotel on Saturday.

Shaaban, the chairperson of the Foundation, said that what the people of the region have faced during the past years aimed to end the conflict with the Israeli enemy and turn it to another direction that serves the enemy’s interests, emphasizing that Palestine will remain the compass guiding the struggle, according to SANA.

She said that the terrorism which hit Syria and is also hitting Yemen, Iraq, and Libya originated from the Zionist enemy that was helping the terrorists, noting that the terrorists seek to fragment the region and carry out the objectives set by the enemy.

Shabban saluted the Palestinian people, captives, children, women, and men who are standing fast in Al-Aqsa Mosque in Palestine.

Members of the Foundation’s board of secretaries called for rejecting all forms of normalization with the Zionist enemy, asserting their support for the Lebanese national resistance and their rejection of all attempts by the Western powers to undermine it.

They called on the Arab and Islamic peoples and international institutions to be aware of the existential dangers facing occupied Al-Quds and the necessity of taking urgent action to support it.

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نبيه بري العربيّ الفلسطينيّ

مارس 5, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– شخصياً لم أتمالك نفسي من الشعور بتيار كهربائي يجتاحني وأنا أسمع دولة رئيس مجلس النواب اللبناني نبيه بري يصدح بصوته الرخيم وتعابيره الجزلة، المكتوب والارتجالي منها، في الكلمة الرسميّة وفي مناقشات البيان الختامي في مؤتمر الاتحاد البرلماني العربي. هو شعور بالفخر ممزوج بشعور بالفرح والثقة بأن دنيانا العربية لا تزال بخير، وأن فلسطين ليست وحيدة، وأن كلمة الحق هي العليا، وأن هناك رجالاً رجالاً بهمم قمم، تنوء تحت حملها الجبال فلا تكلّ ولا تملّ، ولا تقرأ إلا في كتاب الحق، بينما يقرأ ما يتوهّمه الآخرون في كتاب القوة، وقد صار الحق بذاته قوة وصارت له قوة، ويعرف من يعرف أن المقاومة التي يزلزل ذكرها حسابات كبار القادة في كبريات عواصم العالم، قد ولدت في رحم هذا الإيمان، وقد كان لهذا الإنسان القمّة والهمّة البصمة الأساسية والتأسيسية.

– يتحدّث كثيرون ويتفلسفون ويغمزون بعيونهم، فيغمضون واحدة ويفتحون أخرى في الحديث عن علاقة الرئيس نبيه بري بسورية، سورية الرئيس حافظ الأسد، وسورية الرئيس بشار الأسد، ويوهمون لكنهم في الحقيقة يتوهّمون، أنّهم يعرفون ما لا يعرفه الآخرون عن مشاكل تمرّ بها هذه العلاقة، فيتلو النبيه على مسامعهم جميعاً مزاميره، «لا نستطيع الشعور بالمسؤولية تجاه الفلسطينيين وفلسطين ونحن نعزل سورية»، فسورية كانت ولا تزال وستبقى في العقل الذي نظر وينظر من خلاله نبيه بري المناضل والمقاوم، قبل رئيس المجلس النيابي، للمشهد العربي، حيث هي منذ البدايات إلى نهاية النهايات، حيث لا نهايات، فهي قلب العروبة النابض وهي قلعة المقاومة العصيّة على العصر والكسر معاً، وهي عرين أسود لا تُضام، ويكفي أنها القلب في بلاد الشام، وهو لمن لا يعرفون أو لا يعترفون، مع سورية ظالمة أو مظلومة، يجادلها وهي في عزّ سطوتها، حيث لا يجرؤ الكثيرون، من موقع البحث عن مكامن القوة العربيّة وتعزيزها، ونقاط الضعف والوهن وتلافيها، كشريك في الغرم، وليس كباحث عن شراكة في الغنم، لكنه عندما تتعرّض سورية للضيم ويأتي زمن الضراء، يشهر قلبه ويقاتل بشغافه كي تبقى سورية القوية القادرة الحاضرة، وهي مرتع الأحلام وساحة البطولات، وموطن الشهامة والوفاء، يعرفها وتعرفه، كما يعرف السيف غمده، وتعرف القلعة حراسها، وتعرف الساحة فرسانها، وفي الميدان يسرج برّي صهوة جواده ويقتحم، حيث لا يصل إلا صوته، فيُشهره عالياً، سورية مصدر فخركم وبدونها أنتم ذلّ وهوان، فحافظوا على بقايا الشهامة العربية المتهالكة، واحتموا بها، سورية لا تحتاج حمايتكم بل أنتم مَن يحتاجها، علامة أمة لم تُهزَم.

– عندما يتحدّث الرئيس نبيه بري عن فلسطين في خطابه الرسمي فهو لا يفاجئ، لأننا نعرفه، وليس لأن المقال لا يناسب المقام، لكن عندما يناقش بعفويته وتدفقه نصوص البيان الختامي، مداخلاً ومتدخّلاً، تشعر برغبة أن تقفز من وراء الشاشة لتطبع قبلة فخر على جبينه، فيناقش رئيس الجلسة عند فقرة التطبيع، ويقول «هذا البند هو كل المؤتمر سيدي الرئيس»، «لأن التطبيع يعني إزالة الحاجز النفسي بين العرب وبين العدو الإسرائيلي، دون إعطاء أية حقوق للفلسطينيين، نحن نقول ذلك وأمامنا مؤتمر القمة، وأحدد مؤتمر القمة في 2002 الذي دعت إليه المملكة العربية السعودية، فإذا سمحتم تنبّهوا أن هذا البند هو كل المؤتمر»، وعندما يستجيب المؤتمرون لإضافة الفقرة المقترحة برفض التطبيع، وفيها الدعوة لقيام دولة فلسطينية على الأراضي المحتلة العام 67 وعاصمتها القدس، يتذاكى المتزحلقون لنيل الرضى الأميركي بتحفيف مضمون النص، فيقترحون إضافة الشرقية إلى القدس، لتصير القدس الشرقية، فيهمّ بري إلى جواده مجدداً في جولة جديدة يكسبها، فيقول، أنا أقول القدس الشريف ويتلفت حوله منتظراً، ولما يأتي رد متفذلك، يلاحقه بكلمة قائلاً، لماذا نعطي بالمجان، طالما هم لا يعترفون فلماذا نتسابق على الاعتراف؟ ويمسك كلمة ويكتب، ويقول بصوت عالٍ: «نعم، القدس الشريف وينتهي الأمر».

– القضية ليست بأهميّة مصيريّة تقريريّة يتمتع بها مؤتمر الاتحاد البرلماني العربي، بل بأهمية نسخة من المواجهة التي تدار ويتم ربحها، من منصة يسيطر عليها وعلى التفكير فيها، عقل الهزيمة، فيطغى صوت الحق والحقيقة رغم قلة العدد والمال، حيث يجتمع المال والعدد، لأن المهابة التي تجلل صاحب الكلام، فيحضر التاريخ المليء بالنبض العربي الأصيل، فهو نور مبهر، ونصل صقيل، وصوت جهير، وهو في اللغة حقل مزهر، وفي الخطاب نصٌّ جزيل، وفي المضمون كبير وكثير وخطير.

– جولة ربحناها، ربحها نبيهُنا لنا، ربحتها العروبة ليكون الأمل بالغد لفلسطين.

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‘Israel’ Bans Top Palestinian Waqf Officials from Al-Aqsa Mosque

By Staff, Agencies

Zionist Police extended illegal bans on top Palestinian officials who oversee occupied al-Quds’ Aqsa Mosque from entering the holy site.

The move, which is destined to escalate tensions, came on Sunday weeks after the Islamic Waqf Council, a religious body appointed by Jordan to oversee the sacred compound, defied a 16-year ‘Israeli’ ban on the Bab al-Rahma building within the site and reopened it to Muslim worshippers.

Following the council’s decision on February 14, head of Islamic Waqf Sheikh Abdel-Azeem Salhab and his deputy, Sheikh Najeh Bkerat, were briefly detained and hit with a one-week ban.

‘Israeli’ police extended the bans on Sunday by 40 days for Salhab and four months for Bkerat, according to a spokesman for the Waqf Council.

The Zionist occupation authorities shut down Bab al-Rahma in 2003, claiming the site was being used by members of the Islamic Movement in the occupied territories for political activities, an allegation the Waqf Council denies.

Since its reopening, some 100 Palestinian activists and religious figures have been detained “in an effort to put an end to Palestinian defiance of ‘Israeli’ orders”, according to Wafa, a Palestinian news agency

Among them were Arafat Naib, a guard at the Al-Aqsa compound, who was banned from entering the site for six months, and Nasser Qous, a Fatah party official in occupied al-Quds, who was also barred for 40 days.

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Are tensions at al-Aqsa reaching another boiling point?

Ben White is the author of ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide’ and ‘Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy’. He is a writer for Middle East Monitor, and his articles have been published by Al Jazeera, al-Araby, Huffington Post, The Electronic Intifada, The Guardian’s Comment is free, and more.
A new conflict has emerged amid intensifying efforts by Israeli authorities and settlers to change the status quo at the holy site

Israeli police detain a Palestinian demonstrator at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on 18 February (AFP)

Below the Western media’s radar, tensions have been escalating in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem.

In the last week, a new confrontation has emerged over al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in the context of intensifying efforts by Israeli authorities and settlers to change the status quo and take over Palestinian properties in and around the Old City.

The Jordanian government recently decided to expand the composition of the Waqf – the body charged with managing al-Aqsa Mosque compound – to include a number of high-ranking Palestinians, alongside the long-standing Jordanian members.

Gates shuttered

The move came in response to what International Crisis Group’s Ofer Zalzberg described to Haaretz as “the erosion of the status quo” at the site, including the tolerance by Israeli occupation forces of “quiet worship” by Jews in the compound – “a relatively new development”, the paper noted.

Last Thursday, the newly expanded council inspected, and prayed at, a building located at the Gate of Mercy (Bab al-Rahma), shuttered by Israeli occupation authorities since 2003. At the time, the closure was justified on the grounds of alleged political activities and links to Hamas – but the building has remained closed ever since.

What is taking place in Jerusalem is ‘an organised and systematic campaign of settlers, with the assistance of government agencies, to expel entire communities in East Jerusalem’

Overnight on Sunday, Israeli forces put new locks on metal gates that lead to the building. When Palestinian worshippers attempted to open the gates, clashes broke out, and a number of Palestinians were arrested by Israeli police.

Tuesday night saw renewed confrontations and arrests, while an Israeli court on Wednesday banned a dozen or so Palestinians from entering the compound. Both the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Hamas have condemned the developments, and warned of the “volatility” of the situation.

New facts on the ground

Events in the compound cannot be viewed in isolation from the bigger picture in Jerusalem, and in particular, what Israeli NGO Ir Amim has called an “accelerated, intensifying chain of new facts on the ground”, including “a mounting number of state-sponsored settlement campaigns inside Palestinian neighbourhoods”.

One expression of such campaigns is the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes so that settlers can take possession of the properties. Last Sunday, the Abu Assab family was expelled from their home in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, a fate facing hundreds more Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem.

What is taking place in Jerusalem is “an organised and systematic campaign of settlers, with the assistance of government agencies, to expel entire communities in East Jerusalem and to establish settlements in their stead”, in the words of an Israeli settlements’ monitor.

A Muslim man checks a gate closed by Israeli police at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on 18 February (AFP)
A Muslim man checks a gate closed by Israeli police at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on 18 February (AFP)

“It is very clear what they want: a Jewish majority here and in East Jerusalem,” Silwan-based activist Jawad Siyam told the Independent recently. His community is blighted by the presence of the settler-run “City of David” compound, which is set to receive a further boost from Israeli occupation authorities in the form of a planned cable-car station.

Jerusalem has largely been out of the headlines for awhile, with most attention – understandably – being paid to the Great March of Return protests in the Gaza Strip and the bogged-down efforts to secure relief from the blockade. Israeli elections are also on the horizon, and speculation continues over what precisely the Trump administration has got in store by way of a “peace plan”.

In the background, however, accelerated Israeli colonial policies in occupied East Jerusalem could be leading to a new boiling point.

Grassroots activism

The Waqf has stated that it seeks the opening of the Bab al-Rahma site, a demand that has the potential to become a focus for the kinds of mass protests witnessed in the summer of 2017. Then, metal detectors introduced by Israeli occupation authorities outside al-Aqsa Mosque compound sparked spontaneous demonstrations, with the devices ultimately removed.

Whether or not the Waqf chooses such a path, it could also find its hand forced by the pressure of grassroots activism; there is considerable concern among Palestinians that the Israeli government – along with the so-called “Temple movement” activists – are ultimately working towards a spatial division of, and establishment of formalised Jewish prayers within, al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

How Israel is ‘cleansing’ Palestinians from Greater Jerusalem

Meanwhile, the United States is proceeding with the closure of its consulate in East Jerusalem, and relocation of Palestinian “affairs” to an office within the new embassy – a potent symbol, were one needed, that the Trump administration’s vision will be a stark departure from even the pretence of a “two-state solution”, and a rubber-stamp for Israel’s de-facto, single state.

This week’s events – however they develop – are a reminder, however, that while Israel and the US see Jerusalem as fair game for an accelerated process of colonisation and deepening imposition of Israeli sovereignty, the city’s Palestinian residents are experienced spoilers of Israeli designs, and may well soon reprise such a role.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

The Elusive Middle East Peace

December 18, 2018

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

Subtle news sources coming on the grapevine allude to impending Middle East fresh peace talks. The end of the “War on Syria” will bring serious and realistic opportunities for Russian-sponsored peace talks, and there are direct and indirect hints and leaks made by certain officials here and there, hints and leaks which will become overt and obvious in the near future, culminating into news to the effect that new peace talks will resume.

The Arab/Israeli conflict seems intractable, and every time peace talks loom, we need to remember to examine the root of the problem and consider ways in which the deadlock can be surmounted.

Four decades after Kissinger pushed the USSR out of its position in the Arab/Israeli negotiation talks and made it law for America to defend Israel, the one-sided unparalleled superiority that America provided Israel with was not “good enough” to give Israel the “safe haven” that Zionism promised Jewish migrants with after the horrors of the Holocaust. If anything, the more aggression the state of Israel displayed and the more audacious America was in providing it with impunity, the more determined Palestinians became; and Hamas was the direct outcome of the joint Israeli/American bullying and the Palestinian despair that followed the supposed peace talks of the Oslo Agreement.

In retrospect, Kissinger, the man who gave “shuttle diplomacy” its name, has inadvertently created a deadlocked situation, and in doing so, America has done itself a huge disfavour in the unconditional support it provided Israel with over all those years and has turned itself into a de-facto pariah arbitrator; a mediator that axis-of-resistance Arabs, and all Palestinians in particular, do not trust. In doing so, it kicked itself out of the scene, paving the way for Russia to fill the void it left behind.

On the other hand, Russia is on talking terms with all parties in the Middle East and President Putin personally has good and strong relationships with Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and of course Syria. Furthermore, Putin had all the reasons to sever ties with Erdogan, however the master of pragmatism managed to find a way to mend the rift without losing face, and even though Erdogan has not yet shown any credibility, Putin sees Turkey as a potential key player in the peace process in Syria.

Notwithstanding all of the above, all the American Russophobic rhetoric amounts to nothing, because America and Russia will always be on talking terms.

Briefly put, no entity other than Russia is potentially able to bring all Middle Eastern parties to the negotiation table, and the “hints” speak of such eventuality, come the end of the War on Syria; and this is what Putin wants.

In the meantime, relevant parties will have to accept to come to the negotiation table, and be prepared to negotiate.

It was easy back in 1948 for the Arabs to carry the “push them back” slogan; referring to sending Jewish migrants back to where they came from. More than seven decades after the establishment of Israel, if the Palestinian cause were to maintain the moral upper ground, this “ambition” can no longer apply to second and third generation Jews who were born in the land their forefathers migrated to; albeit those forefathers migrated and settled illegally. By the same token, and most importantly, Palestinians cannot be expected to take the moral upper ground alone without a reciprocal agreement that grants them the long-awaited justice; including the right of return.

And as negotiations mean to give and take, it is interesting to note that the English term is said in this sequence; give and take, rather than take and give, because if a negotiator does not begin with giving, he will not be able to take.

This will be the sticking point because religious hardliners on both Arab and Israeli sides have perfected the art of each claiming to be the rightful and exclusive owner of the Holy Land. As a matter of fact, it was only when the religious spin replaced the national argument of the Arab struggle that a secular fight was taken to theocratic camp and Zionism was, to some degree, able to use history to support its argument. That said, even though Jewish presence in Palestine indeed predates Islam, this does not justify the displacement of Palestinian Arabs, both Muslims and Christians. For Palestinians therefore to win both the humane and religious arguments, the endorsement of an Arab-Palestinian-Levantine identity and carrying its banner is one that cannot be refuted; because it is an all-inclusive definition; including Jews, and one that is moral and timeless.

But let us briefly examine the fundamentalist counter Muslim claim of the ownership of Palestine from a realistic vantage point. Are Muslims the rightful and exclusive owners of Palestine?

Back in 2011, I wrote an article titled “Palestine is not for Muslims”. I had it edited when the UN was voting for a Palestinian state, and now it is time to revise it.

The Quran is a Holy Book and not a real estate title deed. There is no mention of any land rights in the Quran. The city of Jerusalem (Al-Quds in Arabic) is not even mentioned in the Quran. There is however a mention of “Al-Masjed Al-Aksa” which Muslims believe to be in Jerusalem/Al-Quds. This does not make Al-Quds inherently a Muslim city, and even if it did, there is absolutely no reference in the Quran to any Muslim exclusivity.

Speaking of claims of exclusive ownership of Jerusalem, we cannot and should not ignore a time in history during which the Catholic Church was so desirous to take the city from the “infidels”. The “infidels” back then were the Muslims, not the Christians as per the current ISIS terminology; but the congruency in the ideologies behind the definitions is clear.

Speaking of ISIS, when Zionism established the state of Israel, the Zionist aggression was (and continues to be) practised equally against both Arab Muslims and Christians. The anti-Zionist resistance was the Arab Resistance, and it was comprised of both Christians and Muslims. When Fateh was established, it was then meant to be an armed struggle for the liberation of Palestine. George Habash, the founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was a Christian.

Back then, the state of Israel was the ideological ISIS equivalent of the time, and the Palestinian resistance was a secular force trying to redeem freedom and secularism. In reality, the ISIS-like stance of Israel did not change at all.

To this effect, ISIS-minded Zionists regarded all Arabs as equally unequal to them, and when they were pillaging the Church of Nativity two decades ago, the West stood back and watched. The world seems to be totally at ease that the state of Israel continues to act as an ISIS; only of different denomination.

As Israel treated both Christian and Muslim Palestinians as second grade citizens, it was only natural for the anti-Israeli resistance to be nationally-based and driven. The slogan of those days was “Al-Quds lil Arab” ie Al-Quds belongs to Arabs. There was even a song with that title. The term Arabs meant back then referred to the inhabitants of the land; ie Muslims, Christians, as well as Jews who refute Zionism.

Suddenly, sometime in the 1980’s, a huge turn of events took place in Lebanon and Palestine almost at the same time.

The 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon was soon followed by a resistance then named the “Lebanese Resistance”. Soon after Hezbollah rose to prominence the name changed to “Islamic Resistance”. In Palestine, Hamas rebunked the anti-Israeli resistance and turned into an Islamic resistance as well. All of a sudden, the struggle against Zionism changed course from a national secular Arab struggle into a religious one.

The biggest losers here are the Palestinian Christians as they are well and truly excluded by both Zionists and fundamentalist Muslims.

It is most ironic that Western Christian Zionists find it so easy to sympathize with Zionism, and at the same time manage to ignore the plight of Palestinian Christians. How ironic! The truth about Christian Zionists is that they are neither Christians nor Jews; they are Zionists, period.

When Islamists make claims of ownership of Palestine in general and of Al-Quds/Jerusalem to be specific, they would be using the same false argument of Zionists; only from their own equally unfounded perspective. Two wrongs do not make it right.

Fair and open-minded Palestinians, especially non-fundamentalist Muslims, need to realise that they have to make loud and clear statements to their policy makers that they refuse fanaticism and bigotry irrespective who the culprit is.

If we refute the ISIS mind, we must refute it in all of its forms, denominations and agendas. Justice cannot be selective any more than one wrong can be undone by another wrong.

Palestine is not for Muslims, nor is it for Jews or Christians; not exclusively. It is for all of them combined, but again not exclusively. Palestine is for its people, and they don’t have to belong to any of the Abrahamic religions. That land is for its people without any favouritism and exclusion. And, if any hard-line, orthodox, fanatic, violent, militant Zionist settlers don’t accept this, justice stipulates it is they who should be made to leave.

So back to President Putin and his hush-hush peace plan. Adversity often brings opportunities, and Putin is quite aware of the historical and geopolitical significance of the present moment.

Russia will most probably be trying to broker a two-state solution that is acceptable by all parties concerned. Realistically however, there is no lasting resolution that can be based on anything other than a one-state resolution in which all citizens have equal rights; just like any other self-respecting nation state. Any resolution short of this outcome is tantamount to endorsing an apartheid-type system.

This brings us back to the give-and-take concept for conflict resolution. Normally, in a negotiation situation, giving is seen to be for losers and taking is for winners, but reality can dictate pragmatic changes in direction; and it has, at least on the Palestinian side.

From the early days during which Palestinians expressed anger and frustration saying they wanted to push back Jewish migrants into the sea and restore the homeland from “water to water” (ie from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River), the Palestinian leadership had to learn from the humiliation of many defeats, numerous let downs from Arab states, the UN and the whole world, to accept to settle for the West Bank and Gaza in lieu of putting an end to armed resistance and acknowledging the state of Israel.

This Palestinian “acceptance” did not come easy and was not endorsed by all Palestinians, but when the PLO went to Oslo with this objective in mind with the expectation of a reciprocal “acceptance” from Israel, the final outcome was more than disappointing.

Israel reached its military height specifically on the 9th of June 1967; the day when Egyptian President Nasser made his resignation speech. At that point in time, Arabs were at their nadir, and with the most humiliating defeat they have endured in history, all they felt they could seek was a withdrawal of Israel to the pre-1967 war borders.

Slowly and gradually, Arabs had to go through the phase of denial of defeat that they were not prepared to accept.

They first demanded the UN for a resolution and managed to gain support for UNSC Resolution 224 which called for the unconditional Israeli withdrawal of Israel from the “occupied territory”. In this, Arab states accepted that the new definition of “occupied territory” meant what Israel managed to occupy during the Six-Day-War of 1967. This was a huge shift, because the original Arab definition of “occupied territory” meant all of Israel. But the Arab forced resignation to the status quo was not enough to persuade Israel into negotiating a land-for-peace deal. Israel was not prepared to give in order to take (peace).

The October 1973 War, aka Yom Kippur War, was a turning point in history. Even though the military gains of Egypt and Syria were not huge, they were big enough to change the course of events; at least psychologically. However, when Egyptian President Sadat signed a unilateral peace agreement with Israel, the Arab World fell into disarray.

In simple and short terms, Arab expectations were dwindling while the Israeli ones were escalating; despite the rise of the new form of anti-Israeli resistance spearheaded by Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas.

In simple and short terms again, though Israel’s refusal to relent has resulted in creating an Arab camp that is prepared to accept its agenda, it also created another camp that has vowed to fiercely resist any settlement that does not provide justice to the Palestinian people, and this latter group has become battle-hardened and prepared to fight and inflict serious damage to Israel’s might.

The most prominent player here is the Hezbollah military factor that rained rockets on Israel during the July 2006 war, even hitting a frigate, and sees itself more capable in any future escalation. Hezbollah is deeply embedded in the Lebanese society and cannot be uprooted. It sees time to be on its side and it is moving from strength to strength.

The axis-of-resistance is living in the euphoria of the outcome of the July 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, the many setbacks of Israel in Gaza and the victory of Syria against all odds.

The resistance side is waiting and poised for further confrontations. Hezbollah therefore will not easily accept any resolution that does not provide it with some real and tangible victory.

Meanwhile, Israel is tooth and nail still hanging on to the euphoria of the outcome of the 1967 Six-Day War. The Israeli side is not yet prepared to accept that time is not on its side. In a nutshell, Israel is not yet prepared to give so it can take (peace).

This will be Russia’s main obstacle in bringing all parties to negotiations on pragmatic grounds. Short of being able to convince Israel to give, Russia may find that the only way for this paradigm shift to happen in the Israeli psyche is through war; and in this case by a resounding Israeli defeat. This is perhaps why Russia is bolstering Syrian defences and specifically air defences. After all, if Israel loses its superiority in the air, and if its ground defences are unable to stop Hezbollah’s rockets, or at least some of them, then the new balance of power will no longer be on Israel’s side.

Now, will Netanyahu’s government, or any other future Israeli government for that matter, be prepared to take the risk of a new military confrontation with the prior knowledge that it has lost its upper hand in the fight? Will Israel accept to sacrifice its citizens in the hope that a new battle will restore its military superiority against all odds? To ask the question in a different way, what punishment does Israel need in order to be brought down to the negotiating table, the agenda of which is to find a way to establish a two-state solution let alone a one-state solution? But once again, Israel is not yet ready to give and take. It won’t return the Golan for any political gain, and it won’t even agree to lift the siege on Gaza.

At this stage, the best outcome to expect from Russian-mediated peace talks, with or without a war, if one is reached at all, is perhaps a two-state solution. This will be a huge step in the right direction, but in reality, such a resolution is nothing more than a disengagement. That said, Sharon’s wall has made it virtually impossible to draw practical border lines for a viable Palestinian state to exist, and thus created a nightmare for any future serious two-state-based peace talks. Whilst walls can be reconfigured, or even better torn down, in the long run, an apartheid two-state solution will always be morally wrong, and at best, should be regarded as an interim step towards establishing one state that ensures equal rights to all of its citizens.

No connection between Judaism and Al-Aqsa, suggests UN resolution

Source

Muslims arrive at Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound to perform the Friday prayer in Jerusalem on 26 October 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
MEMO | December 3, 2018

The UN General Assembly has apparently rejected any connection between Judaism and the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa. In a vote held on Friday, the General Assembly passed six resolutions condemning Israeli violations against Palestinians. Among them was Resolution A/73/L.29 entitled “Jerusalem” which called for “respect for the historic status quo at the holy places of Jerusalem, including the Haram Al-Sharif.”

The use of the Arabic name for the sanctuary has been interpreted as a not-so-subtle rejection of the site’s alleged connection with Judaism. The Jewish name for the Noble Sanctuary, the Temple Mount, is not mentioned anywhere in the UN document.

The resolution received 148 votes in favour and just 11 against. It also stressed that the UN General Assembly,

“Reiterates its determination that any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to immediately cease all such illegal and unilateral measures.”

The Assembly passed several other resolutions on the question of Israel-Palestine this weekend. One — A/73/L.29 The Syrian Golan — rejected Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights, “demand[ing] once more that Israel withdraw from all the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June 1967 in implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions.”

The resolution also declared that “the Israeli decision of 14 December 1981 to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void,” adding: “The continued [Israeli] occupation of the Syrian Golan and its de facto annexation constitute a stumbling block in the way of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.”

The General Assembly resolutions were condemned vehemently in the Israeli media, with Breaking Israel News slamming them as evidence of the UN “[continuing] its streak of frequently condemning the Jewish state”. Other media cited NGO UN Watch — which is known for calling the UN anti-Israel or anti-Semitic – as saying that the “Jerusalem” resolution “implies that Israeli administration of Jerusalem hinders freedom of religion when in fact the opposite is true.” UN Watch also labelled the “Syrian Golan” resolution as being “oblivious to [the] genocidal massacres taking place now in Syria, and its security implications for Israel and the civilians of the Golan Heights.”

The resolutions, however, were hailed as a success by the Palestinian Authority, Wafa reported. “By voting in favour of the five resolutions,” said Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the UN, Riyad Mansour, “the international community affirms its support of our national cause, despite the efforts made by the US administration in international forums to resist this.”

In a rare move, following the General Assembly vote, the European Union publicly warned the Palestinians that they must drop their UN bid to use only Al-Haram Al-Sharif to refer to Jerusalem’s holiest site. In a statement, the EU “[stressed] the need for language on the holy sites of Jerusalem to reflect the importance and historical significance of the holy sites for the three monotheistic religions, and to respect religious and cultural sensitivities.” It added that the future choice of language “may affect the EU’s collective support for the resolutions.”

Commenting on the EU statement, the Jerusalem Post observed, “Until now, the EU has not taken a united stand on a drive by both the Arab states and the Palestinians to subtly change UN language with regard to the Temple Mount [Al-Haram Al-Sharif].” Its opposition or decision to abstain on any future resolutions of this nature “would mark a dramatic shift in its policy.”

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