The battle between Israel and Palestine is continuously a sufferer of competing narratives — and sometimes the extra profitable narrative isn’t the right one. Take, for instance, Israel’s bid to unilaterally annex about 30 p.c of occupied Palestinian lands.
The prevailing Israeli narrative would possibly initially appear to make sense however it’s useless flawed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tries to persuade the world that Palestinians don’t want peace and have refused each overture that was made, and that motion taken by Israel merely goals to “force” them to simply accept an olive department that will grant them some form of homeland, with out infringing on Israel or its safety and non secular wants.
People beneath occupation should not obliged to make compromises or settle for the return of some elements of their land in return for the withdrawal of “benevolent” occupiers. No one requested the Kuwaitis if they might agree to permit Saddam Hussein to carry onto a small a part of their nation as a result of “it is the 19th governorate of Iraq.” Russian President Vladimir Putin was not given a go and allowed to maintain the annexed Crimea and elements of japanese Ukraine simply because the individuals there communicate Russian. Argentina’s try and seize the Falklands was not negotiated, and met with the total drive of the British fleet.
The worldwide group agreed after the Second World War to not tolerate makes an attempt by highly effective nations to take land from their neighbors. This precept was acknowledged bluntly within the preamble to UN Security Council Resolution 242, unanimously adopted in 1967, which states it’s inadmissible to accumulate land by means of struggle.
Despite the truth that the Israeli occupiers had no proper to bounty because of their offensive struggle in June 1967, Palestinians accepted the idea of annexation, albeit as a part of an settlement by which small land swaps might be made.
Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasser Arafat agreed to the idea of mutually agreed land swaps on situation they had been equal in measurement and type. Netanyahu needs to arbitrarily and unilaterally select which land to maintain. The proven fact that the US president has prompt, additionally unilaterally, a imaginative and prescient for fixing the Palestinian-Israeli battle additionally makes a mockery of the concept of any equitable, mutually agreed-upon land exchanges.
Contrary to the Israeli narrative, Palestinians should not those who ended peace negotiations. Former US Secretary of State John Kerry made this abundantly clear throughout his testimony to the US Senate in 2014, when he blamed the Israelis for the collapse of talks.
Efforts by quite a lot of nations, most lately Russia, to arrange face-to-face peace talks have failed twice lately as a result of the Israelis refused to take part, not as a result of Palestinians don’t want peace or should not prepared to barter.
Another false declare is that as a result of it’s understood that the Israelis will in the end get to maintain a few of their closely populated settlements on Palestinian land near Israel, annexing that land is not going to hurt the possibilities of peace. Again, this narrative falls aside as a result of it’s a unilateral assumption. It is one factor to simply accept “slight border adjustments,” as the most recent Palestinian peace provide suggests; it’s fairly one other to preempt peace talks by unilaterally seizing Palestinian land in advance.
The concept that “your land is mine” (as a result of it’s, in some way, a divine proper) and “what remains of your land is negotiable” feels extra like a diktat from the successful aspect in a struggle than a mutually agreed-upon peace settlement.
Some Israelis definitely subscribe to the idea that the Palestinians have misplaced and should settle for regardless of the victorious Israelis determine. This concept, nevertheless, is predicated on an imagined Palestinian give up and is futile. Palestinians haven’t, and can, not give up their rights or their land. And whereas the occupation has gone on far too lengthy, it has all the time been understood to be short-term, not everlasting.
Annexation, whether or not in depth or restricted, makes an attempt to legitimize an occupation described by the UN Security Council as “inadmissible.” As lengthy because the world believes that proper is would possibly, and never which may is true, no nation on the planet ought to settle for that.
In making an attempt to deflect from this actuality, the Israelis are masters on the apply of “whataboutism,” which makes an attempt to deflect consideration from an accusation or tough query by making counteraccusations or elevating completely different points.
They attempt to deny the internationally declared standing of the Palestinian territories as occupied by calling them “disputed” areas. They attempt to deny the authentic nationwide rights of Palestinians by claiming that there by no means was a state of Palestine. Instead of accepting the fitting of the Palestinian individuals to self-determination on their very own lands, they push idiotic concepts equivalent to “Jordan is Palestine,” or that Palestinians don’t deserve a state as a result of they don’t apply Jeffersonian democracy.
The option to finish the Palestinian-Israeli battle is to acknowledge the humanity of Palestinians and their authentic rights. This can start with an settlement to finish the “inadmissible” occupation and return to the final-status talks that had been a part of the signed Palestinian-Israeli Declaration of Principles, not a biased US/Israel imaginative and prescient by which Palestinians didn’t take part.
Daoud Kuttab is a former professor at Princeton University, and the founder and former director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al-Quds University in Ramallah. Twitter: @daoudkuttab