Denying Palestinian rights is the core issue in Israeli elections
Published Saturday 05/01/2013 (updated) 08/01/2013 17:21
For the Palestinians, especially in the occupied territories, Israeli elections always mean an acceleration of actions against them; it means more violations of human rights, collective punishment, more arrests, land confiscation and other unjust measures. In general, it is an unpleasant event.
Israeli political parties compete between each other as to how they will deal more harshly with the Palestinians, how they will create more obstacles before the peace settlement and obstruct peace negotiations, and how they will frustrate the ambitions of the Palestinians to have their own independent state.
After 45 years of occupation and more than six decades of conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, Palestinian people and leaders are familiar with the goals of Israel.
When Britain granted the Jewish people what is known as the "Balfour Declaration", the goal was to create an entity to serve the United Kingdom's colonialist interests in the region, and to get rid of the Jewish people living in Britain, and in Europe in general.
Under many slogans and justifications, Jewish people around Europe were convinced, manipulated and in many cases dragged or pushed to migrate to historical Palestine, which they were told is their promised land and the land of their ancestors, despite the fact that they were Europeans, and Europe was their home and their ancestors lived and died there.
The goal for the British and Zionist leaders was clear, their intention was to build a colonialist entity more than anything else.
Since then, the conflict has taken on many facets, resulting in the establishment of Israel in 1948, after more than 450 villages were wiped from the map of Palestine, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were uprooted from their lands, with Zionist gangs committing massacre after massacre in many towns and villages.
The Zionist leaders, who have ruled Israel for 65 years, still believe in their myth - a land without a people for a people without a land - a myth which many Israeli historians have denied and disproved, a myth which UN resolution 194 corrects, unambiguously, by stating that Palestinians have a right to return, therefore proving that Palestine was inhabited by its people.
Zionist Israel is still dealing with Palestinians as if they do not exist, regardless of anything said about peace processes and negotiations launched in Oslo two decades ago.
The practices of Israel's occupation on the ground reflect how Israeli leaders continue denying Palestinian people their rights and deny the fact they exist and have a right to have their own independent state.
A simple review of the electoral programs of the Israeli parties shows the competition between them; promises of confiscating more Palestinian lands, empowering and expanding existing colonies and building new colonies on occupied Palestinian land.
The calls for enhancing the peace process almost disappear in the electoral publicity and programs, some parties are calling for annexing what is called Area C, which is about 60 percent of the West Bank, while others vow to build more Jewish colonies in Jerusalem and around it, in order to make the Palestinians a minority in the city.
A few days ago, when the Israeli President Shimon Perez described Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas as a "brave man" and "a real partner for peace" he was attacked furiously by Likud officials and Benjamin Netanyahu; Israeli daily Haaretz described the attack as hysterical.
In recent years, Israeli society has been heading to the right, with more rightist parties and leaders coming to the surface of the political arena in Israel. These leaders and parties know that as long as they address their crowds with more extreme rhetoric, they will win more votes and more popularity.
There is not much difference between the left and right parties in Israel; both are calling for more land confiscation and more settlement building.
During the years of occupation, reality and facts on the ground show that the Israeli Labor party, which is classified as a leftist party, has confiscated more Palestinian land than the Likud did, with many more colonies built during the Labor party era.
Commentators predict that Likud will once again come to power with a coalition from the very fundamentalist right-wing groups and parties, and this will be the choice of the Israeli people. The position of this coalition with regard to a peace process is clear; more land confiscation, more colonies, judaizing the occupied part of Jerusalem, "East Jerusalem", denying Palestinian rights and the two state solution.
When Hamas was elected by Palestinians in 2006, Palestinian people were collectively punished for their choice, the Western countries with the backing of the USA, accused Palestinians of being extremists for choosing an "extreme" party.
If the Israeli people will choose (and they will) extreme parties, are the Western countries going to act in the same way? Are they going to boycott the "extreme government" to be formed in Israel? Or will the same double standards be applied, as usual, to Israel ?
The author is a Palestinian writer and journalist based in Bethlehem.