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A SINGLE PALESTINIAN STATE, SECULAR AND DEMOCRATIC

By SALAH SALAH
(Member of the Palestinian National Council, Representative of the Refugees Commission)

The re-opening of the debate on the Palestinian State is a result of the failure of the Oslo Accords, which were supposed to help bring an end to the conflict arising from Israel's Zionist project, and to allow the Palestinians to find a political solution, leading, via negotiations, to the foundation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State within five years of the signing of the Accords.

In 2010, seventeen years after the signing of these accords, the creation of a Palestinian state has not happened. Quite the contrary: the facts and the reality prove that Israel will only allow the Palestinians a simple autonomy within various separate regions completely controlled by Israel's security forces. This is because, for Israel, the Palestinian homeland, with all of its borders, including those of the West Bank (Judea and the Samaria Area) and Gaza, constitute the historical lands of Israel.

The failure of the peace efforts has been recognised by several declarations from the Palestinian parties participating in the negotiations. The Arab parties have also blamed the Israelis, accusing them of not replying favourably to the peace initiatives of the Arab League. This blockage due to the obstinacy of Israel poses several questions: Will the Palestinians and their allies bow down to the Israeli project? Will they accept "autonomy" with all that this implies, such as the confiscation of lands, the construction of new colonies, and expulsions, so that Israel can finally impose the recognition of an Israeli Jewish Zionist State?

Everyone knows that the Palestinians and their friends will never accept the Zionist State, nor abdicate before the accomplished fact which Israel seeks to impose. The Palestinians who fought against Zionist immigration and the British protectorate at the dawn of the 20th century will never renounce their country, freedom and independence.

The fact that Israel today has the ability to take advantage of its local and international powers, as well as the differences and heated discussions among Palestinian and Arab ranks, does not imply a final destiny. History has shown us that many empires have disappeared despite the absolute power which they seemed to hold, and that powerless peoples have been able to triumph as a result of unshakable will, and belief in justice and rights. Further, the exposure of Israel's racist and expansionist role, partner and ally with world imperialism in its attempt to dominate, deprives it of one of the elements of its power - international support.

Further, the corruption that poisons this State, at all levels and within all of the institutions of Israeli society, coupled with the ever-increasing Palestinian, Lebanese and Arab resistance, has destroyed the image of an "invincible" Israeli army. All of these factors, and more, have provoked severe doubts among certain representatives as to the capacity of survival of the State of Israel.

Faced with this situation, many voices (Palestinian, Arab and international) have expressed a desire to find an exit, a fair and impartial solution, recognising the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination on their own lands, while allowing those Jews who desire to live in peace and equality, equal rights with their fellow citizens within the Palestinian State.

A single Palestinian State, secular and democratic, aims to guarantee equal rights and responsibilities to citizens, regardless of race, colour, sex or religion (Muslim, Christian, Jew). This state would apply the relevant United Nations resolutions concerning the return of refugees (1948), expatriates (1967) and deportees (relative to the 1950 laws concerning disappeared persons) to their lands and properties, as well as compensation. These same rights would be accorded to Jews who refused citizenship of the single Palestinian state, and who wished to return to their country of origin. The citizens of this single State would exercise their right to self-determination on all of the historical Palestinian territory from the time of the British protectorate, and unified as one with its Arab neighbour states.

A commission representing all of the components and minorities would be formed to elaborate a Constitution for this State and to define its political and economic system, with of course the Jewish citizens being able to determine their status within this State: will they constitute a group of citizens or a religion? It will be necessary to take into consideration the status of Jews around the world to determine whether they constitute a minority or if they should be defined according to their religion.

The notion of a single secular and democratic Palestinian State would be based upon the following considerations:

The creation of Israel by war, and through an alliance between the global colonial system and the Zionist movement - due to a common interest to impose their domination on the Arab regimes - was a result of its important strategic position (importance of the Suez Canal, oil investments and their exploitation as commercial markets). This is a violation of international resolutions and laws, which reject the occupation by force of foreign territories, distorting in addition their historical characteristics.

Israel was created on lands stolen from the Palestinian people, who were subjected to the anguish of liquidation to the point of fleeing their homelands and becoming a people of refugees. In 1948, the year of the Nakba (catastrophe), the Jews represented only 33% of the population, with just 6% of Palestinian territory. The real owners of these lands, 67% of the Palestinian people, should therefore have the right to return to the 94% of the land that has been stolen from them.

The existence of the State of Israel is illegal because its adherence to the United Nations Organisation in 1949 was dependent upon its engagement to respect and conform to the UN Charter and resolutions, notably the resolutions 194 (concerning the return of refugees) and 181(concerning the creation of a Palestinian State on a surface of 46% of the totality of the Palestinian territory). The existence of the State of Israel is even more illegal given its refusal to respect hundreds of relative UNO resolutions, not counting those resolutions condemned by Israel and blocked by the American veto.

Israel is a racist State, incarnation of the Zionist movement, which has been condemned by the UN due to the extortions perpetrated against the Palestinian people in 1948, and in the stolen regions of the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel is an expansionist state: Supported by the British protectorate, Israel occupied the Palestinian territories in 1948, exceeding the limits fixed by Resolution 181. After the 1967 war, it extended its domination to Gaza and the West Bank. Further, Israel occupies illegally the Golan Heights of Syria, and the plains of Chebaa and Telal Kachub in Lebanon. This signifies that Israel exploits all occasions to start a war with the possibility to appropriate new lands to concretise the Zionist plan, which fixes the borders of Israel from the Euphrates to the Nile. In the modern world, peoples battle to win their rights to freedom, independence and sovereignty. It is a world of human rights, the right of self-determination, a world where racism, intolerance and terrorism are banned. In this world, there is no place for a terrorist, racist and expansionist state, running contrary to international will and laws, and to human rights.

The Zionist movement was created to save the Jews from the oppression perpetrated against them in Eastern and Western Europe, promising to create "a state for a people without land in a land without people", which would bring together all of the Jews of the world, in order to restore the glory of their 2000 year-old civilization. But the people of the world have exposed the hoax of these claims, because Israel is not a democratic state carrying a message of civilization to "an Arab desert". It is rather a military force which exasperates conflicts and causes wars capable even of menacing world peace (an opinion poll taken two years ago showed that 53% of the people questioned around the world considered that Israel represented the primary threat to world peace).

Israel has not solved the problem for Jews. To the contrary, this entity has created other problems, such as the internal contradictions of Israeli society, the corruption within all of the state institutions, the human and material losses caused by wars, as well as the fear and constant worries concerning the future of an illegal state.

Many Jewish circles, both within and outside of Israel, have started to recognise these realities and the dangers which could result. Many of these circles support the creation of a single, secular and democratic State, because it is capable of representing the salvation of Jews, while assuring the preservation of their interests, and the ending of wars which have never ceased to break out since the formation of the State of Israel.

The solution of a single State would help to bring an end to this State which has none, and respects none, of the characteristics of a real State, just as in the case of South Africa under apartheid or Algeria under French colonial occupation. This solution gives protection to the Jews against Zionism, and compensation to the Palestinians for historical injustices.

Would Israel accept this solution? Obviously not. Other Palestinian groups would also not accept this solution.

The importance of this solution shows itself in the strategic vision to bring a permanent end to the conflicts and to create the ideal conditions to live in peace. It is a vision favouring dialogue and debate among the elite, reaching out to the masses, to become an influential force for Palestinians, Jews, Arabs and the international community. This option is less harmful and more realistic than other formulas presented for discussion among various circles, such as:

return to the nationalist slogan "liberation of all of the Palestinian territories, from sea to river". In my opinion, this is a judicious slogan, but the fact to broach the subject in such a direct manner risks to lead to its rejection, and it could be conceived by some as a racist option which denies the rights of others;

To the slogan "Jewish State of Israel" there has been the counterposition of the slogan "Islamic State of Palestine". The adepts of the first slogan, invoke support from "the land promised to the Jews by God," while those of the second option promote the sacred nature of the Palestinian land, which has at heart a rich Islamic heritage. It is obvious that each of these two circles deny the existence of the other by referring to religious considerations.

Another opinion is based upon the demographic changes that would arise from the right to return of refugees based on Resolution 194 with the retrieval of possessions stolen during the Nakba (catastrophe) in 1948. This would mean a return to the thesis of the State of Israel, while at the same time insisting upon the return of those expatriated in 1967. The authors of this thesis do not consider a single state, two states or anything else.

The thesis of a 'bi-national" state is anchored on the fact that there are two nationalities, each with its own identity but recognisable within a single state. Although this is a proposition originally made by Israelis, there are nevertheless many Palestinian personalities who share this view. But the basis of this thesis is not sufficiently clear, because it raises many questions concerning the nature of each entity, their borders, as well as the need to avoid the opening of conflicts between them.

A single, secular and democratic State does not recognise, as a foundation, the legal existence of the State of Israel, nor the "Jewish nationality" established on the basis of religious considerations. The Jews in Palestine (Israel) represent just 5 million of the world-wide population of 13 million Jews. Do they form therefore a single people, in the sense of a people with a common history, a language, a civilization and common interests? The supporters of this thesis firmly believe in a single nationality with equal rights regardless of race, religion, colour, etc.

Many conferences and seminars have been held, locally and internationally. All of these meetings have shown the failure of the option of two states through negotiations, and have sought other alternatives, of which the most plausible is that of a single State, democratic and secular. This initiative was born in France and Switzerland in 1994, to be taken up in Cairo, in Vienna, in the United States, Britain and finally in Damascus in 2009.

The importance of this idea is revealed by the favourable reactions which it has received. And this article could form a project document to serve as a platform for discussions, leading to a text to open the way to a conference involving the various groups and circles which support this option (Palestinians, Arabs, Jews and other internationalist friends).

Peace initiatives

The writer and political analyst Shaker Nabulsi has recorded more than 56 initiatives between the time of the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948 and the Camp David Agreement of 1978, to arrive at the solution represented by the entity created by Zionism in Palestine (Israel).

The majority of these initiatives, aborted and very incomplete, have been organised under the watchful eye of the USA and Israel. Under various formulas, all of these initiatives have aimed at confirming the existence of Israel, its recognition by neighbouring Arab states, and more especially the establishment of normal relations with Israel (economic and political). All of these initiatives had the final goal to resolve the refugee problem, either by permanent residence in the country where they are now found with a corresponding nationality, or by their installation in countries willing to accept them. But the rejection of this approach by the Palestinians, the nationalist parties and certain Arab countries resulted in the failure of these initiatives, all of which refuse to implement (and are hence in total contradiction with) UN resolutions, especially Resolutions 181 and 194. The catastrophic Camp David initiative crowned the twelve previous attempts during which the Arab regime each time made concessions. In continuation of this, followed the "Arab Peace Initiative", decided in 2002 by the Arab Summit, in which all of Israel's demands were accepted.

The Camp David Agreements

The main reason for the initiative by former Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat, leading to the Camp David Agreements, was that 99% of the winning hand cards were in the possession of the Americans, and to gain access to these it was necessary to proceed via Israel. Driven by this conviction, Sadat undertook the surprising voyage to Israel, with all of the dangerous consequences for the Middle East region that ensued: the Wadi Araba treaty between Jordan and Israel, the Israeli invasion of South Lebanon, the expulsion of the PLO, of its leaders and its fighters in 1982, the signing of the 7th February agreement, the establishing of secret and public relations between Israel and Arab nations, and the final turn-about by the Arab League and their renouncing of all of their resolutions made after the war of 1967 (which had stipulated no settlement, recognition or negotiation with Israel), terminating in the launch of the so-called "Arab Peace Initiative" (outrageously rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Sharon as "not worth the value of its ink"). And this, despite the fact that the initiative prepared an agreement with the Arab States, and their engagement to include Islamic States.

The Camp David Agreements did not just concern Egypt and Israel. They traced a general framework for what became known as "the principles of the Oslo Accords between Palestinians and Israelis". A close comparison of the main principles of these two accords shows a complete conformity. The two agreements aimed:

To divide the Palestinian people into separate and isolated groups: the populations of Gaza and the West Bank (Region of Authority), the refugees resulting from the Nakba of 1948, those expatriated following the 1967 war, and the continued denial of rights for those Palestinians of the 1948 regions.

Not to recognise the UN resolutions as references for these agreements, while at the same time inserting new references, by various manoeuvres, benefiting the most powerful party. The American president, Jimmy Carter, commenting upon the "action framework for peace" declared that the "action framework" had treated the principles and certain details relating to the way in which a global, pacific settlement could be achieved. The American Secretary of State for foreign affairs, Cyrus Vance, announced explicitly in front of the General Assembly of the UN that the framework of the Camp David Agreements offered the Palestinians the possibility to have a vital role in determining their destiny through negotiations, so as to install their own Authorities, benefiting from their own autonomy.

Consecrate the presence of Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza, arguing that this is for a transition period, but remaining in effect until 2010. The Camp David Agreements between the United States, Egypt and Israel had, first of all, consecrated the permanent presence of Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza during all of the 5-year transition period.

The Camp David Agreements excluded the town of El Qods (Jerusalem) from administration and control by the Palestinian Authorities. On this subject, the Israeli Prime Minister, Begin, declared during his counsel's speech before the Knesset that the town of El Qods "will be the eternal unified capital of Israel".

After the signing of the Camp David Agreement, an article in the New York Times quoted a declaration by Begin in which he stated that while the Arabs governed their respective countries, the Israelis would continue, with finances from the government and protection from the army, to buy and install new colonies in the West Bank, with the goal of totally changing the physiognomy of the region in case the question of sovereignty of the region should arise at a later date. During the same period of the year 1978, the Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister, Moshe Dayan, declared before the General Assembly of the United Nations that "the Israeli colonies in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), as well as Gaza, belong to us. It is inconceivable that Israelis should be banned from residing and living in Judea and Samaria, which form the very heart of our country".

Concerning the Palestinian refugees, the Camp David Agreement stipulated that "Egypt, Israel and other parties would ensure to take common actions to introduce a fair and lasting solution to the refugee problem". This constitutes a denial of UN Resolution 194, which foresees the right to return of the refugees.

As for the "State" which the Palestinian negotiators imagined to be able to build, Begin declared before the Knesset, that during his discussions with Carter and Sadat, there had never been any question of allowing a Palestinian State.

Security is a crucial question for Israel. This is why the Camp David Agreements bring up the mission of a "Palestinian Police Force" in a context determining that all of the measures and dispositions necessary will be taken to ensure the security of Israel and its neighbours, during and after the period of transition.

To ensure this security, the autonomous authorities would have to create a powerful local police force.

But Israel could not be content with just this, because it has confidence only in its own forces to ensure security. On his subject, Begin declared "to those who would say that our forces will stay in Judea, Samaria and Gaza for a period of 5 years, I reply that our forces will stay in these regions long after 5 years". From these statements, it is evident that the Camp David Agreements, and the other positions presented by Israel, have prepared the way for the "main principles of the Oslo Accords" -- the measures of which are still in application today.

The Oslo Accords

The Oslo Accords, with all of their precedents and results, along with the many complementary agreements, have never managed to reflect a consensus among Palestinians. To the contrary, these agreements have been confronted with a vigorous opposition from the majority of Palestinian factions and large sectors of Palestinian society.

Indeed, these agreements reflect the position of the leaders holding power within the organs of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, at the head of which is the Fatah movement. They also represent a reply to Arab and international pressure upon these organs after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the American stranglehold on world politics. These agreements also reflect the sentiments of defeat, and the loss of will at the heart of this leadership and within the Arab regimes, which had always imagined, from the time of the "international peace alternative" in Madrid in 1991 to today, that they could achieve a "fair and global peace" with Israel by recognising its existence and by establishing relations. This shows the deficiencies and the failure to recognise the reality of the Zionist project which produced the creation of the State of Israel.

Did the Oslo Accords achieve their desired objectives, as well as those of certain Palestinian leaders? No analysis, deduction or statements are required to be able to reply to this question.  It is sufficient to look at the concrete realities.

The Palestinian leadership, which accepted the Oslo Accords, had abandoned the armed resistance against the occupation and had stopped the "stone-throwing" Intifada. It had also formed forces trained by British and American officers, not to ensure internal security, but rather to guarantee the security of Israel, by banning all military operations from territories under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.

Even with all of these defence systems, the Israeli army has still not left the West Bank, and has not lifted the check-points or the control towers within the regions of the P.A. To the contrary, the Israeli forces rigorously control the movements of citizens from one town to another, and undertake abusive searches in Palestinian homes to arrest or assassinate people, without recording the slightest intervention by organs of the Palestinian security forces.

The Oslo Accords should have led to the liberation of Palestinian detainees. To the contrary, their numbers have increased from 4,500 to 11,000 ,including women and children. This agreement also led to further confiscation of lands from their original owners in order to implant new colonies and to construct the Wall of Shame, of which the International High Court of Justice has demanded the demolition with compensation for those people affected.

But Israel has never replied positively to this decision, and has never undertaken to respect the resolutions banning the confiscation of lands and the implanting of new colonies. Even interventions by American presidents have had no effect. Abandoning the promises made to the Palestinians. Israel has also ignored the United Nations resolutions which consider East El Qods (East Jerusalem) as an integral part of the occupied regions, altering and modifying its characteristics, starting to isolate it from the West Bank, imposing boundaries with the implantation of new colonies, and by erecting the Wall of Shame with its control posts. Israel has also ransacked certain quarters, monopolizing them by dislodging the inhabitants, and perpetrating aggressions and attacks on Christian and Muslim religious buildings. Israel has also destroyed the industrial, agricultural and tourist economies of the Authority, reducing the population to just a society of consumers.

The Oslo Accords have legitimised the occupation of the Authority's regions, and have allowed Israel the time they required to impose certain realities on the ground, leaving the Authority finally with little other possibilities than those of an autonomous territory.

The project to create a Palestinian State has thus become a massive lie. It can be affirmed that, since their signature, the Oslo Accords have never been a prelude to peace -- neither in the text, nor in the circumstances leading to their conception, nor in the power relations which they imposed. It has therefore been imperative to seek a new solution, taking anchor on the strategic approach capable of ending conflict with the Zionist project, and correcting the historical errors to which the Palestinian people have been subjected since the Nakba of 1948.

Palestine

With the borders inherited from the British protectorate, Palestine was, until 1948, an integral part of the Arab region. Its first inhabitants were the Canaanites, an Arab tribe which set up in the region some 2500 years before the Christian era.

Due to its geographic position, fertile lands and climate, it saw a flux of migratory waves, either to settle in the region and join the existing population or to conquer and steal its riches. Some crossed the region, to the east or to the west, in order to concretise the expansionist plans of their leaders.

The various invaders were never able to eliminate the original population, that is, the Canaanites. From the beginning of the Arab conquests in 636, the whole of the region was liberated from the Romans. This liberation accentuated new migratory waves by Arab tribes coming notably from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Arabia. During the Arab-Muslim reign, the region was prey to new aggressions, especially coming from the west via Turkey under the banner of the crusades. This occupation formed part of a European vision, under the leadership of the kings of England and of France, to annex the region.

The occupation of the town of El Qods took place in 1099 after fierce battles and a ferocious and valiant resistance by the population and the surrounding villages. Children and women, Muslim and Christians were savagely killed (around 70,000 dead according to historians). The Latin Kingdom of El Qods, which was then erected, stretched from the coast to the town of Saida, Galilee and the east of Jordan. During the Mameluks era in Egypt in 1250, the leaders, including Baïbars El Daher, decided to stand up to the Francs and liberate Palestine and the Arab regions, which were won back in 1291. There were many battles, including the valiant campaign undertaken by Salah-Eddin El Ayoubi (Saladin), who unified the Arab armies of Egypt, Syria, and Iraq to win an enormous victory at the battle of Hattin in 1187, which liberated El Qods. Did the British and French leaders have the right to claim ownership of the lands which they had occupied, in the name of the Latin Kingdom of El Qods, for 200 years?

After, the Arab region was subjugated by the Ottoman Empire in the name of Islam for nearly 400 years, perpetrating exploitation, domination and arbitrary justice. Do the Turks have a right to claim domination of the Arab region, or to annex it, in the name of the Ottoman Empire, which they governed for hundreds of years?

The Arab liberation movement

The birth of the Arab liberation movement coincided with the start of the First World War. Arab interests converged with those of the Allies against the Ottomans. From this, started the discussions and correspondence between MacMahon, the British representative, and the Arab representative, the mayor Hussein, terminating in 1915 with Great Britain recognizing the independence of the Arab region stretching from Mersina and Adana in the north, the borders of Iran and the Gulf of Arabia in the east, the Indian Ocean to the south, and to the Red Sea, Sinai, and the Mediterranean sea in the west (including Palestine). Based upon this, mayor Hussein declared war on the Ottomans. The majority of the Arab officers and soldiers had left the Ottoman army to join the Allies, and the Arab army progressed from Arabia toward Syria, Jordan and Palestine. This is how a large part of the Arab region was liberated, allowing a decisive victory for the Allies over the Axis forces

Quickly, the betrayal of the Arabs came to light with its load of catastrophes, crimes and suffering (the effects of which last until today), notably through the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916, which allowed Britain and France to share the zones of influence, thus dividing the Arab region into small states. To this must be added the Balfour declaration in 1917, in which Britain undertook to help the Zionist movement to create a national home for the Jews in Palestine, as well as the Allies' San Remo conference in 1920, placing Palestine under British protection to satisfy Zionist demands.

It was in 1922, with the mandate of protectorate given to Great Britain, that the League of Nations approved the Balfour declaration and its introduction.

Zionism

The Zionist movement was created in 1897 as a Jewish organisation, as a framework to house all energies and potentialities, with a view to creating a home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement, based his action on the hypothesis that the Jews lived among peoples who were basically anti-Semitic. He considered that the problem of the Jews could not be resolved by political reforms or changes in society, and that integration would be a solution for only a small minority.

There are four major ideas underlining the creation of Zionism:

The religious dimension has been the anchor-point of Zionism for the creation of a homeland reserved for Jews, with the objective to protect them from aggression and anti-Semitism in the countries where they lived. In the introduction to his work, Herzl wrote: "Two important factors have illustrated the imperative necessity to find a homeland for the Jews, the suffering of the Jews and anti-Semitism. Herzl himself considered that the responsibility for these comportments could be incumbent on the Jews themselves. He wrote, "I understand anti-Semitism. We, the Jews have remained, even if it is not our fault, foreign bodies at the heart of various nations. (S) In the ghetto, we have taken on many unsocial characteristics".

In his book, "The Jewish State", published in 1896, Herzl established the method to follow for the creation of a Zionist movement, just as was fixed during the Bale congress of 1897. This congress assembled delegates representing Jewish associations and institutions around the world, and notably the "Lovers of Zion, an association from Russia created in 1881 by the Jewish doctor Leon Pinker as a reaction to the oppression exercised against the Jewish population. The later preceded Herzl in inviting the Jews "to liberate themselves", because "the world has no respect for the Jews because they do not constitute a nation", considering "that they were foreigners in all of the countries where they lived", and that the only solution would be "the creation of a national homeland for the Jews". Thanks to financial aid from the Jewish capitalist Rothschild, the "Lovers of Zion" established the first Jewish colony in Palestine in 1882.

This is how Zionism saw the light of day in 1897 during its first congress, where the objective of "the creation of a national homeland for Jews" was mapped out, to be achieved by the following actions:

If Weizmann recognizes the services to Zionism by Herzl, he nevertheless accuses him of have never cited "Palestine" or the Hebrew language. He praises the Jews coming from the West (Russia) for designating Palestine and evoking the Hebrew language. By this link, Weizmann established a correlation between the political and religious dimensions of Zionism. Zionism is a nationalist political movement with a spiritual dimension.

The spiritual dimension is the second factor which helped to attract Jews to the Zionist project, because, for them, Palestine was "the promised land" given to Abraham, stretching from the river of Egypt to the grand River Euphrates, according to verses 18.25 and 18.17 of the Bible.

The adepts of Zionism were able to use this religious catalyst to incite Jews to emigrate to Palestine, under the pretext that the real belief could only be exercised in Jerusalem.

Weizmann wrote a note which he addressed to the Conference for Peace held in Paris in 1911, in which he gave details of the borders of the "promised land" with a view to the setting up of a Jewish State, taking in Palestine, the south of Lebanon as far as Saida, the south of Syria as far as Damascus, the Gulf of Arabia and the sources of the Jordan River. This vision, taken from the Torah, forms the basis of Zionist racism which rests upon the same principles as German racism, which considered the German people as the best and the most gifted of peoples (Aryan race).

This is how the emigration of certain religious groups to Palestine started. Some capitalists, such as Rothschild, started the construction of agricultural colonies to absorb and use the deprived Jews, to be able to welcome later those fleeing oppression in Europe. Herzl gave priority to Palestine, but did not exclude to accept any other location which filled the conditions necessary for the creation of "one nation in one country" to allow Jews to express themselves. He was very receptive with regard to the propositions made by the Allies, especially the British (Uganda, Argentina, Syria, Cyprus, Sinai and El Arish). The final option of the choice of Palestine for the creation of a Jewish State was not taken until after the death of Herzl, during the 7th conference of 1905, which excluded any implantation other than in territory of Palestine.

It was hence that emigration became the third important factor leading to the success of the Zionist project. The Zionist leaders exploited every opportunity to promote immigration to Palestine, religion, the oppression exercised against the Jews especially in Eastern Europe as a result of the growing anti-Semitic tendencies, and the massacre of Jews under Czarism.

The emigration to Palestine increased after the Balfour Declaration. A few months after this proclamation, Weizmann presided over a Zionist Committee at the request of the British Government in order to study the general situation in Palestine and lay the foundations for the creation of a national homeland for the Jews. This committee supervised the holding of the Jewish immigration conference in Palestine (1918), which promoted "the need to create an association for Jewish colonization, recognized by the League of Nations, with large allocations to organize the emigration of Jews to Palestine".

Given the correlation between emigration and land, the congress also took another decision, that of using to the machinery and property of the State with a view to exploit and promote them. The British delegate Robert Samuel, himself a Zionist Jew, accepted this request, giving to the Jews 58% of the territory under their control in 1948, but which represented just 6% of the total surface of Palestine. It should be noted that despite all of the arrangements, facilities and encouragements provided by capitalist Jews, as well as Jewish influence at an international level, the number of Jews hardly exceeded 33% of the total population of Palestine.

The extraordinary Zionist conference held in London gave birth to a central bureau for immigration. Jabotinsky, the radical reformist Zionist leader, recommended the development of immigration for the introduction of Zionist colonization, so as to form a Jewish majority in Palestine, resorting to the use of arms.

The fourth factor, which considerably helped the success of Zionism and the realization of its project was the junction with the colonial interests in the region. Europe had preceded Zionism with colonization of the region. After the failure of his colonizing campaign before the walls of Acre in 1797, Napoleon implored the Jews of the world to rally to him in order to restore in El Qods "the lost glory and honour of the Jews".

Zionism also benefited from the support of the United States of America to promote the immigration of Jews to Palestine, as well as financial support from the Jewish community living in America. The decisive moment for the transferring of strategic relationships toward the United States came during the Baltimore conference held in New York in 1944, which led to the decision to open wide the doors of Palestine to Jews, in order to accelerate the implantation of colonies, and the occupation and exploitation of "unpopulated areas" so as to increase their worth. Hence, Palestine became part of the Commonwealth, integrating the democratic new world: "It is in this way that justice will be done to repair the suffering endured by the Jewish people".

European colonisation had been essentially motivated by the manna of petrol, and the profits that this generated for the exporting countries, which importing countries injected into their banks and their projects. The second colonial manna was linked to the industrial revolution and to the markets that consumed raw materials. A ferocious competition opposed the two major colonizing countries, Great Britain and France. This was controlled by the sharing-out of influence zones following the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916. Zionism took advantage of this competition, which deteriorated into armed conflict between colonizing powers (the two World Wars), through the influence of Zionist Jews in the decision centres of several countries around the world.

Zionism was also able to exploit the two World Wars to make considerable advances. During the First World War it was able to benefit from the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which announced "the recognition of Palestine as the national homeland for the Jewish people".

In 1922, the League of Nations recognized the British protectorate of Palestine, allowing the British to implement their promises, and hence open the possibility for Zionism to increase the number of Jewish immigrants, to seize large areas for colonies, and develop a military power in terms of numbers of men and equipment.

After the Second World War, in 1947, Zionism obtained the decision to carve up and share Palestine with the decisive support of the United States.

Israel

Since its creation, Israel has never ceased to beat about the bush with regard to the United Nations resolutions, especially the resolutions 181, 194, and 3236 of 1974, which specifically give undeniable rights to the Palestinian people, especially the right to self-determination without foreign intervention, the right to independence and national sovereignty, and confirmation of the undeniable rights for Palestinians to return and to recover their stolen properties.

In 1976, the General Assembly of the United Nations created a Commission, representing 37 countries, to ensure that the resolutions previously cited were duly respected. This commission elaborated recommendations which were transmitted to the Security Council, underlining many principles, including the basic principle to ban the occupation by force of the territories, insisting upon their immediate liberation, and at the same time condemning Israel.

This commission recommended that the Security Council demand that Israel abstain from creating new colonies, to evacuate those created since 1967, and to establish a calendar for the withdrawal of its military forces from the territories occupied in 1967. But the USA blocked, by imposing their veto, the passing of a resolution to implement the recommendations.

The same scenario was seen with the ad-hoc commission charged to investigate Israeli behaviour on human rights with regard to the population of the occupied territories, especially after the Israeli refusal to implement Resolution 237/1967 with the demand "to ensure the security and the integrity of the populations residing within zones subjected to military intervention, and to give priority to the return of those persons having fled the fighting". The General Assembly created this commission at the end of 1968. It enabled the presentation of proof, documents and information illustrating the flagrant violation of human rights by Israel. In the intermediary report of 1976 rendered by this commission, very illustrative passages revealed the expansionist designs and ambitions of Israel: "The very essence of Israeli politics in the occupied territories rests on the theory of the nation extolled by the Israeli government".

This theory declares that "the territories occupied following the war of June 1967 are an integral part of the natural borders of Israel". They do not constitute therefore occupied territories in the sense of international law. However, permission is given to those Palestinian civilians living in these territories to remain.

Today, Israel has its own interpretation of the Goldstone report, presented on behalf of the International Committee on Human Rights, and approved by the UN General Assembly, and which, further, condemns Israeli soldiers for war crimes in Gaza demanding that they be brought to justice.

Israel also distinguished itself for the non-respect of resolutions of the International Committee on Human Rights in 1968, which repeated the previous decisions concerning Palestinian rights and demanding "the cancelling of all measures concerning El Qods, to cease without delay all dispositions aiming to denaturise this town, and to stop immediately the destruction of Arab civilian housing in the occupied regions, as well as to ensure the strict respect of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Convention".

These are just a few examples, among hundreds, of resolutions taken by various bodies of the UN, and tens of others blocked by the American veto. It follows that Israel is the only country in the world which escapes international law.

For the Palestinian negotiator, Saëb Erekat, all of the Israeli manoeuvres since the Oslo Accords have led to the unavoidable belief that "the hour of truth has arrived to tell the Palestinian people that we cannot concretise the solution of two States, via negotiations which have lasted eighteen years". In the Israeli paper Maariv, a commentator declared that "the peace process is dead". And the burial of the process was completed during the strange meeting between Netanyahu and Barack Obama. Other Israeli representatives have made similar declarations. This has led the president of the Palestinian Authorities, Abu Mazen, to announce that he will not be a candidate for president during the forthcoming elections, to express his despair concerning the Israeli promises and manoeuvres of the last 18 years.

It is apparent that Israel does not seek peace, but uses various manoeuvres to block all initiatives, including Arab initiatives, with the single goal to gain time to create new realities on the ground. This conforms with Israeli doctrine refusing any return of the Palestinian refugees, any withdrawal from occupied territories to the borders existing before June 1967, and seeking to preserve the unity of the town of El Qods as the "eternal unified capital of the State of Israel", taking steps to preserve its Judeaisation, and to continue the confiscation of lands and the implanting of new colonies. This doctrine is also consecrated to the division and isolation of Gaza with regard to the West Bank, by exasperating conflict between the two powers, and finally the occupation of Syrian and Lebanese territories.

Israel's expansionist policy is based on four main factors:

  1. Zionist ideology, synthesized by slogans promoted in the hall of the Knesset, which indicate that the borders of Israel " stretch from the banks of the Nile to the Euphrates."
  2. The use of force, which allowed the creation of Israel with its spreading borders, projecting further expansions and aggressions. This poses a vital question to the United Nations and the countries of the world: "What are the recognised borders of Israel? Those of 1947? Those of 1948? or the current borders, including the Palestinian territories and the occupied Syrian and Lebanese territories?
  3. Herzl had declared, "Force creates Right". This underscores an essential factor: a common interest with world capitalism / imperialism under the leadership of the United States of America, which ensures material support for Israel, political cover, and military supremacy over the unified Arab regions.
  4. The incapacity of the Arab regimes to handle the situation, maintained in a position of dependence and under-development by a colonialism which exasperated internal conflicts (borders, ethnic, religious). This led them to a position where they renounced the decision of the Khartoum conference rejecting any recognition of, or negotiation with Israel, and also adopted the "Arab Peace Initiative" during the Beirut summit in 2002. An initiative to which Israel accorded absolutely no importance.

United Nations Resolution 3379 / 1975 indicated that "Zionism is a form of racism". This is an evaluation, in word and spirit of the Zionist entity that is Israel. It is true that this resolution was rescinded in 1991, following a vast campaign by the Israelis and under the influence of certain forces in the United States.

The OAU summit of 1975 adopted a resolution that compared the racist regimes presiding over the destinies of Zimbabwe and South Africa to that governing Palestine: a common colonialist origin, an identical structure transporting a single and same policy, aiming to destroy human dignity and its integrity. The same year, the policy declaration of the conference of Foreign Affairs ministers of the movement of non-aligned countries strongly condemned Zionism, qualifying it as a menace to peace and international security, and exhorting all countries to combat this racist and imperialist ideology. The existence of the State of Israel was a corollary for a magnitude of racist practices, especially:

The occupation of foreign territory by force, and dispersion of the population;

Ethnic cleansing using all forms of violence, terrorism, exactions and massacres of the civilian population;

The right to return of Jews around the world, allowing them to settle in Israel, while at the same time denying the right to return of Palestinians, the real owners of these lands;

The construction of a racist wall, and refusal to respect the High Court of Justice of The Hague, which ordered its destruction and compensation to people wronged;

The massacres perpetuated in Gaza, revealed by the Goldstone report, described as "war crimes", as well as the organised blockade around Gaza;

Occupation of the West Bank and the implantation of new Jewish colonies, barriers, control points and towers to control and manage the circulation of the population, occupation of water sources, the destruction of local industries, as well as bans on harvesting agricultural products;

Isolation of the town of El Qods with a view to its Judeaisation, and the creation of a tunnel beneath the Al Aqsa mosque threatening it with destruction;

Blatant racism with regard to citizenship between Palestinians and Jews in Israel;

The conception of Israel as a state above the law, scorning international resolutions, without fear and with no consideration of human and moral criteria.

Israel, a state incapable of resolving the Jewish question: Herzl and Weizmann, the two main personalities of Zionism, had different definitions of the reasons favouring the creation of Israel, but agreed on the objective to be achieved, that is, the creation of such a State.

Herzl wrote in his book: "There are two factors which govern the creation of the Jewish State, namely, the suffering of the Jews and anti-Semitism".

As for Weizmann, he did not consider these factors to be important "because Zionism and the claims for a country (national homeland) do not come from Jewish suffering but from the need for a country which can regroup all of the Jews. This country is Palestine, their historical country". The installation of the State of Israel generates two problems for the Jews. The population is confronted with a permanent danger to its existence. Proof of this are the successive and continual wars against the Palestinians and Arabs, the massacres, racist practices, the use of force, the spoiling of Palestinian lands, the occupation of neighbouring Arab territories, the rejection of all peace initiatives, which can in no way guarantee the security and stability for Jews in the State of Israel. To the contrary, these factors can only exasperate the hate with regard to this population.

The Jewish population should always remember that national Palestinian resistance has been recognized as a right by the UN to gain independence, national sovereignty and self-determination. The UN has also recognised the PLO as representative of the Palestinian people with a statute of observer. As for the first Intifada of 1987, the Israeli leaders cannot stop it.

The Palestinian national movement

Throughout its history, the Arab region has never known borders other than its natural borders of seas, rivers and mountains. In this region, there was just a single people, the Arab people with a few minorities having nothing to distinguish them from the others. Palestine was an integral part of the Arab nation. The Arab States only appeared, in the Middle East especially after the First World War, during the carving up of the Arab region among the colonising countries (notably Great Britain and France), as a result of the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916), followed by the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which allowed Zionism to create a "national homeland for the Jews" in Palestine.

In this way, the League of Nations proclaimed in 1922 the British Protectorate of Palestine to implement the promise made by Balfour. The national Palestinian movement was born to fight against the Zionist- colonialist project, which aimed to steal Palestinian lands and to disperse its original population to build Jewish colonies.

The first Palestinian conference was held in 1919. Others followed annually. An executive committee was elected by the congresses to make contact with the protectorate and defend the rights of the Palestinian people. These rights were consigned in a national charter defined by the 5th congress:

Independence for Palestine and the end of the British protectorate;
Arab unity, notably with Syria and rejection of the Jewish nation;
Halt of the Jewish immigration to Palestine.

Palestinian activism developed under various forms. The first consisted of organizing delegations to convince the government of the British protectorate not to align itself with Zionist policies, to recognise the rights of the Palestinian people consecrated by their own charter. One of these delegations visited London, in conformity with the decision of the 4th conference. This resulted in a decision by the Cabinet recommending the revision of British policy in Palestine and the cancelling of the Balfour Declaration. But the House of Commons invalidated this decision.

The other form of Palestinian activism was the organizing of strikes and insurrectional movements, of which the most important was in 1936 across all of the Palestinian territory. The government of the Protectorate used every repressive method possible to strangle this strike.

But in vain. To the contrary, an Arab committee was formed, composing all of the groups in favour of the strike, to proclaim civil disobedience and to refuse to pay taxes. Other committees in local areas were formed to lead the strike until its transformation in armed revolt.

Very quickly, the Palestinian resistance developed into local Intifada movements, spreading from villages to towns during the years 1919, 1921, 1929, to take on the character of a military action in 1935. The government of the British protectorate resorted to all forms of repression to try to strangle the resistance of the Palestinian people, without success. The banning of protests, the imprisonment and the execution of activists (with absolute power given to the military as a result of the state of emergency), the exasperation of internal conflicts (Muslim - Christian), conflicts among families (between the el Husseini and el Nachachibi families for example), between partisans (between , "National Defence", "Palestinian Arab", Istiqlal, Islah, the National Group, etc.) were just some of the forms of repression and of destabilising manoeuvres used by the British protectorate.

After each failure, the British government sent Commissions of Enquiry, including that of Haycraft in 1929, which concluded the dissatisfaction of the Arabs, and their animosity toward the Jews for political and economic reasons related to Jewish immigration. This commission also developed the fear of the Arabs to see the Jews gaining a dominant position.

One month after this report, and given the increase in the number of acts of resistance, the British delegate (Herbert L Samuel) was forced to declare: "It is inconceivable that the British government can impose (upon the Arabs) a policy contrary to their religion and their political and economic interests". He suggested putting a stop to immigration. It was the intervention of the Colonies Minister, Winston Churchill, and the publication of his White Paper, which re-established the government's engagement to implement the Balfour Declaration.

Next came the Shaw Commission, which remained in Palestine during 5 months after the riots of El Bourak in 1929. This Commission noted that the main cause of these bloody clashes was the despair of the Arabs (Palestinians) faced with the absence of any national political perspective and the fears concerning their economic future. The resistance increased in 1936, growing further until 1939, despite British reinforcements and the presence of Zionist criminal bands.

The situation of the British army in Palestine became very difficult, especially after the outbreak of the Second World War. It was in this context that was held the conference in London, with the participation of Palestinian and Zionist delegations. Following the failure of this conference, Great Britain was forced to publish its third White Paper, which recognized in many of its sections the aspirations and claims of the Palestinians, including the halting of immigration, and recognition "that the future for Palestine should be its independence". This White Paper also noted that "the British Government would work toward the creation of an independent Palestinian government".

The White Paper was a big victory for the Palestinians because it abridged the Balfour Declaration and prioritised the stopping of projects leading to division and immigration, limiting this to one third of the Palestinian population. It recognized the independence of Palestine with an Arab majority population.

In 1947, the Arab countries' Foreign Affairs ministers underlined that "Great Britain's engagements concerning the halt of Jewish immigration, the preservation of Arab territories and independence for Palestine are an integral part of undeniable Arab rights" and decided that each government would transmit a note to the English government asking it to honour its engagements held in the White Paper.

At the end of the Second World War, the Palestinians and Arabs found themselves confronted with a new betrayal following the British renouncement, in coordination with the Americans, of the engagements written in the White Paper. As a result, Jewish immigration restarted at a new rhythm, with the possibility given to Jews to acquire lands, to construct administrational and institutional buildings, and to reinforce their military capacities.

This policy was initiated by an Anglo-American committee, created in 1946, to undertake an evaluation of the situation and to propose solutions. This committee noted the capacity of Zionism to achieve its project, while noting at the same time the weakening of the Palestinian side, mainly because of the situation of the Arab countries. Given that it was virtually impossible to reconcile the interests of Arabs, real owners of the lands, with those of Jewish immigrants, the British Minister for Foreign Affairs decided that this question should be submitted to the United Nations, in order to find a solution. A commission for international reconciliation was hence formed. It considered that the British protectorate had run its course, and that the question of independence for Palestine, with the creation of an international administration of religious sites, should be considered. But under American-Zionist pressure, this commission retracted its decision, to adopt another recommendation giving priority to "the division of Palestine into two States, Palestinian and Jewish".

The United Nations approved this recommendation 29-2 in 1947, after enormous pressure and interventions by the USA. Two important factors were responsible for the change in the situation:

  1. The decision adopted by the United Nations for a truce, which was used by Zionism to obtain reinforcements and to benefit from American-British military support;
  2. The intervention by Arab armies in 1948 "to save Palestine", under the control of a British intelligence officer, giving order to the Palestine resistance to withdraw from their positions.

Zionism was hence able to claim the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, thanks to Arab and international complicity.

The Nakba (the catastrophe)

One of the expressions of the Nakba of 1948 resides in the expulsion of nearly one million Palestinians from their lands, with the stealing of their property and their homes, reducing them to refugee status. Their numbers increased following the seizure by Israel of so-called military zones, outlined in the truce agreements with neighbouring Arab countries and the expulsion of the populations living there, and then as a consequence of the 1967 war and the occupation by Israel of the remaining territories of Palestine, the West Bank and Gaza. Add to these massive expulsions the high birth rate within the camps, leading the Palestinian report of 2008 to calculate the total number of refugees today at 7.4 million.

During the year of the Nakba (1948) the General Assembly of the United Nations decided to create a Committee for international reconciliation to supervise the return of the refugees. The United Nations' text underlined the necessity to allow the return of those refugees desiring to return to their homes and to live in peace with their neighbours; to compensate those who refused to return and those subjected to damages and prejudices, in accordance with the laws on international rights, and in order to respect equality.

Because of Israel's consistent refusal to allow the return of refugees, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted another resolution in 1949 leading to the creation of the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) to oversee the plight of refugees living under inhuman conditions. These were highlighted by the director of the agency in his report presented to the General Assembly in 1954 / 1955, where he underlined that "only 27% of the refugees questioned lived in camps under the control of the agency, while the rest lived with their wives and children in camps of fortune or hovels or unhealthy caves".

Since this date, not one initiative has been made to introduce Resolution 194 with respect to the return of the refugees, or to place pressure on Israel to concretise this objective. To the contrary, the U.S. administration, in perfect agreement with Great Britain, used the Agency of the United Nations to present projects aimed at integrating Palestinians into those countries where they lived. The head delegate of the Agency, an American by the name of Ford, concluded in his annual report of 1950, on "the difficulty to concretise the return of the refugees in Palestine". As a result, the General Assembly decided to create a fund for the integration of the Palestinians.

This policy is still in place today. The projects cdevoted to this effort aim to support the integration of the refugees in the country where they find themselves, and their naturalization. But the Palestinian refugees oppose this with force and have succeeded in causing its failure. Despite the catastrophic situations in which the refugees live, the complicity of certain Arab regimes and the pressure applied on the Palestinians, (chased, imprisoned, tortured, unfairly sacked from their work, corruption and other processes), the projects of the Agency have not been achieved. The director of the agency, in his report addressed to the UN in 1957, underlined that the "refugees are determined to return to Palestine and that it will be impossible to concretise any other objective than the return".

This phase of Palestinian political activism and the large mobilisation of the population was the prelude to the creation of the "Palestine Liberation Organization" (PLO) and the start of armed struggle as an option to enable the Palestinians to win their rights, after having been totally ignored by the international community and even by certain Arab countries.

The Palestinian revolution was able to concretise certain important achievements, notably:

Transformation of the camps, considered as places of suffering and of oppression of the Palestinian people, into cradles of the armed struggle, centres for the training and preparation of fighters to perpetrate heroic military operations against Israel;

Recognition in 1974 of the PLO in its capacity as legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and as observer member of all of the UN organizations. PLO offices were opened in 104 countries around the world, without modification of its charter.

Adoption by the UN of numerous resolutions recognizing the right to return of the Palestinian refugees, and even those recognizing the right to use all activist forms to achieve independence, sovereignty and self-determination, notably resolution 3236 which stipulates:

The right to self-determination with no foreign intervention;

The right of the Palestinian people to independence and national sovereignty;

The undeniable right of Palestinians to return to their homes;

The General Assembly recognized that the Palestinian people form an essential group to contribute to the concretisation of a fair and lasting peace in the Middle East;

The recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to recover their rights by all possible means, in conformity with the objectives and principles contained in the United Nations Charter;

An invitation to all countries to increase their assistance to the Palestinian people to recuperate their legitimate rights.

The Palestinian revolution has become an assembling centre for all revolutionaries and activists against colonialism and dictatorial regimes, giving it a national, international and humanitarian dimension.

The influence of the Palestinian revolution is so strong that ownership of an activist PLO card could allow a Palestinian to cross borders between Lebanon, Syria and Jordan without the need to present a passport or entry visa.

There is no doubt that all of these elements and factors together have led certain Arab regimes to want to dominate the PLO, to control or contain it, by exploiting any error or slip-up to justify measures aiming to silence or strangle it. For this, they received encouragement from the Americans and Europeans in complicity with the acts of aggression perpetrated by Israeli forces against Fedayeen bases and Palestinian civilians.

This explains the carnage created by Jordanian forces in September 1970, just as those committed during the Israeli invasions of Lebanese territories, notably in 1978 and 1982, with the excuse of pursuing Fedayeen Palestinians.

All of these successive wars against the Palestinian revolution (its bases, leaders, fighters and people) have led to the end of its existence in neighbouring Arab countries, and destroyed its capacity to undertake military actions.

Then followed the 1987 Intifada in the regions occupied in 1967 (West Bank and Gaza). Israel used all of its security forces and other processes to create dissensions and contradictions among the Palestinian people, without success. To the contrary, the strength and determination in face of Israeli occupation with just rudimentary means "the Intifada of stones" favoured the emergence of a large reaction from the international community, condemning Israel's criminal acts against the Palestinian people. Israel was then forced to admit something which it had refused for decades, namely the existence of the Palestinian people with the PLO as its leadership. But this leadership did not succeed in protecting the revolution or in gaining benefit from the results of the Intifada, due to the signing of the Oslo Accords.

The national Palestinian movement has returned to the starting point. Only a new period, based upon the construction of a single, democratic and secular State, will be capable of correcting not only the injustices of history against the Palestinian people, but also of saving the Jews from the threats that weigh upon them as a result of the racist Zionist project.

From DIALOGUE REVIEW ( www.dialogue-review.com )