The Mitchell Report Will Not Bring Peace

Category: World Affairs Topics: Conflicts And War, Occupation, Palestine Views: 953

Palestinians protesters battle Israeli forces at the Ar-Ram checkpoint at the northern entrance of Jerusalem 15 May 2001. Israeli troops killed three Palestinians and wounded more than 120 others as clashes erupted throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as Palestinians marked Al-Nakba or 'catastrophe,' the term Palestinians use for the creation of the state of Israel 53 years ago which made hundreds of thousands of Palestinians homeless.

The Mitchell Report is just another American attempt to sabotage Alaqsa Intifada, the current uprising, and deprive the Palestinians of their inalienable rights. The Report's main recommendations are "an unconditional cessation of violence" and "immediately resuming security cooperation." The Report treats the two sides to the conflict as equal adversaries and fails tospecify that one side is a regional military power, while the other is a captive civilian population without even an army. It fails to recognizethat oneside is the occupying force violating international laws and carrying out a number of war crimes, while the other is rightfully defending itself from an oppressive occupation. The Report effectively aims fora return to the status quo ante, which led to this whole situation in the first place.Its focus on "violence" and "security cooperation" practically assigns the Palestinian Authority the role of policing the occupied territories on Israel's behalf, arguably an occupation in disguise.

While the Report specifically dictates that "the PA will make a 100 percent effort to prevent terrorist operations and to punish perpetrators, includingimmediate steps to apprehend and incarcerate terrorists," the IDF should merely "encourage non-lethal responses to unarmed demonstrators" and should "consider withdrawing to positions held before September 28, 2000." If Israel is to "consider" returning to the Sept. 28 positions, the whole point of Alaqsa Intifada is missed. What is required and long overdue is complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, i.e a return to the June 6, 1967 positions. This is the premises that the Oslo agreements were based on, a monumental Palestinian concession, liberating only 22% of their original homeland.

After seven years of a process which has taken the Palestinian people backward instead of forward, the Palestinians have finally realized that this "negotiating table" was another American-sponsoredtrick which allowed Israel to buy time andchange the facts on the ground. Israel has continuously stalled and delayed the phases of the "peace process", always reinterpreting and renegotiating previous agreements to its own advantage. The vigorous expansion of settlements and connecting roads were in clear violation of the Oslo accords, and aimed specifically to break down the future Palestinian state into a number of small unconnected enclaves, or "bantustans".Barak's late "generous offer" did not meet the minimum of Palestinian requirements, andcould not possibly be accepted by any Palestinian, not even by the Palestinian Authority which has proven to be most lenient in signing away Palestinian rights. This deadlock is what caused Alaqsa Intifada, and the only way out is an assertion that the Palestinians will attain their long aspired sovereignty in a viable state.

By Sharon's infamous visit to the Haram Al Sharif compound, the Israelis sent a clear message that East Jerusalem will remain under Israeli control, part of the "eternal, undivided capital of Israel." And now during Alaqsa Intifada, Israel has also proven that it does not have any peaceful intentions. Israel has proven that if only it were not for international opinion, it would be quite willing to inflict on the Palestinians another "mass transfer," as some Knesset members are already advocating. If Israel had the faintest desire for peace with the Palestinians, it would not have unleashed tanks, gun ships, Apache helicopters, and F-16s, shelling Palestinian towns, killing more than 500 Palestinians, mostly unarmed civilians, assassinating their leaders and injuring an additional 14,000 people. If the Israelis were truly serious about peace, it would not have placed the entire Palestinian populationunder seige and collective punishment, confiscated and razed Palestinian farmlands and olive trees, and demolished dozens of houses while their inhabitants were sleeping in them. Those are not signs of a country that is seeking peace, but rather a country which has no regard for Palestinian human rights.
Accepting the Mitchell Report is tantamount to a Palestinian surrender and an Israeli victory. The Palestinians would be exactly where they started on September 28, 2000, in addition to thehuman losses and destruction inflicted upon them by the Israeli army. The Israelis have lost nothing, not even a commitment to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or even dismantling their illegal settlements.
For these reasons, Alaqsa Intifada should continue until the Palestinians achieve their inalienable rights to self-determination, starting with full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem,the complete dismantling of the settlements, and the declaration of a sovereign, independent, democraticPalestinian state.


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  Category: World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War, Occupation, Palestine
Views: 953

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