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Denying Palestinian rights is the core issue in Israeli elections
Published Saturday 05/01/2013 (updated) 08/01/2013 17:21
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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.
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1 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
05/01/2013 20:11
The Palestinians always give us hard reasons to choose "extreme parties" and then they turn around and instead of accepting responsibility for their mess, they blame the Israeli voter. Why are we voting for a right-wing government? Because you Palestinians rejected the peace process and gave us intifada #2. Because we withdrew from Gaza and got rockets in return, not peace. Because Hamas runs Gaza, not Fatah, and Hamas says they want war. The real problem? Look in the mirror, Mr. Shahin.

2 ) please cohen / USA
05/01/2013 20:50
you are colonialist invaders and occupiers....you i can tell are poilsh...go hoime to poland white boy

3 ) Billy / Micronesia
05/01/2013 21:47
Israeli political parties are racist because the Israeli public is racist. Brian Cohen must be so proud of his racist state.

4 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
05/01/2013 21:58
#2 - You the American are calling us "colonialist invaders"? You, the American? Your country is the world's top model for invasion, genocide and land theft! You are an occupation settler living on stolen land, and you point a finger at us? You come from Europe. Jews come from Palestine. Those are facts. And you, Billy, on what do you base your "racism" remark? 20% of Israel is Arabs with full rights and the vote. How many Jews live in Palestine? That's right - NONE. Who is the racist?

5 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
05/01/2013 22:32
And #2 my family is not from Poland and I'm not what most people would call white. This is in stark contrast to you, my American critic. Are you that stupid that you think Jews come from Poland? What, you never bothered to read your history books? Jews come from Palestine, #2. You, on the other hand, are the true colonist, invader and occupier. That is a fact. Your argument is laughable - you want to send 2 million Moroccan Jews "home" to Poland! What about Jews from Baddad? Cairo? Yemen?

6 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
05/01/2013 22:35
One of the things that Jews have in common is that we come from Palestine. This is our homeland. One of the things that American immigrants like you have in common is that you are not native Americans. You are a colonist invader. You are not Huron or Mohaw, or Sioux or Navajo or Hopi or any of the other native nations whose lands you, #2, stole. Your crimes are legendary. Why are you commenting here, if not to bring focus to your illegal occupation of America?

7 ) Robby / Ireland
06/01/2013 02:47
Brian Cohen is typical of the squatters, always trying to blame the Palestinians for his greed, his failure to assimilate with others because he has a superior complex.

8 ) ian / australia
06/01/2013 12:24
#1 Just to get a little fancy Brian, I don't think it's Palestinian extremism (which you wildly exaggerate) that determines how Israelis vote. I think it's fear and guilt in Israelis that make them vote for "extreme parties". I think they're conflicted. They KNOW they are a horrid state that behaves appallingly and is pretty much loathed around the world as a result. (Christian values have penetrated to that extent.) But they don't know what to do about it. The national "feel-good" myths about

9 ) ian / australia
06/01/2013 12:25
(contd.) how Israel is a great and noble endeavour only HALF convince. They know there's an evil side to "making the desert bloom" or ingathering the exiles or reviving the Jewish State. So, too scared to do the right thing (and maybe with good reason as it involves facing Palestinian anger), like cowards and bullies, they turn to "extreme parties" who promise protection, security, safety from dangers of their own making and tough leadership to confront (mostly imagined) enemies and threats.

10 ) ian / australia
06/01/2013 12:26
(contd.) Guilty and insecure, they vote for hard men who claim menacingly to "understand Arabic" with policies they KNOW are cruel and immoral (brazen accelerated land theft, obstructionism on Palestinian statehood etc.) but can see no way around. Or to put it another way: the IDEA of Israel and the evil of actually creating and sustaining Israel exist side by side. Israelis like the IDEA but have to live with the shameful and traumatic reality. And the strain shows. If they were honest,

11 ) ian / australia
06/01/2013 12:28
(contd.) they'd admit it's the IDEA that isn't tenable. Admit it Brian, it's not a nice place, you're not a happy people and it shows in the consistantly awful people you have a habit of electing as leader.

12 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
06/01/2013 16:43
The problem with Ian's arguments is that he is clearly 5000 miles away from reality. It doesn't matter what you think, Ian. Every single public opinion poll in Israel shows that majority of Israelis support the 2-state solution and peace with the Palestinians. But we know that YOU are not willing to divide Australia and give part of it back to its rightful owners. You, Ian, are the true occupation settler. It's a fact that you live on a stolen continent. And you have no guilt. Shame on you.

13 ) @ Brian-1 & Ian-10 / USA
06/01/2013 16:46
It matters NOT one little bit what "reasons Palestinians always give", and what "hard men Israelis vote for", since Security is always the Core Issue. And thus Iran's nuclear program is a "core issue in Israeli elections", and A PALESTINIAN STATE WILL REMAIN ONLY A MINOR ISSUE in Israel, UNLESS PALESTINIAN RE-START Peace-Statehood NEGOTIATIONS.

14 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
06/01/2013 16:52
As for Ian's other phony and unsubstantiated arguments, Ma'an readers can simply look at Israel's ranking in the world (democracy, quality of life, freedom of the press, etc) to see for themselves that Ian's writings are motivated by hate, not by fact. We KNOW we are a great, democratic state with equal rights for all our citizens - Jews and Arabs. And we're proud of it. http://www.economist.com/media/pdf/QUALITY_OF_LIFE.pdf But then again, Ian I don't think Ian cares about the facts.

15 ) Ghassan / Palestine
06/01/2013 18:17
The existence of what so-called Israel has been built on refusing the others, not only Palestinians but any non-Jew. If Jews and Zionist legalize State-Of-Israeli in Palestine they should legalize Germany during Hitler’s time as well.

16 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
06/01/2013 19:15
Ghassan, your propaganda doesn't work. How do you explain that 20% of Israelis are not Jews, yet they have full citizenship? Israel is a legal state and a member of the international community. Palestine is an observer - on one hand your leader says Palestine is a "state", but last week he said he's ready to take it apart and give it to Israel. Make your minds up! Palestine can be a country, but only if you make peace.

17 ) Amin / The Netherlands
06/01/2013 21:22
# 14 - "We KNOW we are a great, democratic state with equal rights for all our citizens - Jews and Arabs" . That's a big lie Brian , Arabs as Israeli citizens, don't have equal rights. They are not allowed to buy land, like Israeli jews for instance. So stop with lying and go somewhere else with spreading hasbara (= Israeli propaganda).

18 ) ian / australia
06/01/2013 23:55
#12 "Every single...opinion poll...shows that...Israelis support the 2-state solution and peace with the Palestinians." So why are Israelis turning to "extreme parties" who don't? Why is Naftali Bennett so popular? Why will Bibi win when he's removed two-states from the Likud platform? This is what I'm saying. Israelis say one thing to "opinion polls" and vote, like cowards and bullies out of guilt and fear for hardline extremsts. That's conflcted. Also, polls in this case are meaningless as

19 ) ian / australia
06/01/2013 23:56
(contd.) being for "the 2-state solution and peace with the Palestinians" can mean anything. What many may actually support is Bibi's "2-state solution": no EJ, no Haram, no Jordan Valley, no settlements, no RoR, which is no "solution" at all, just cynical posturing (which is perhaps what the "majority of Israelis" really support).

20 ) ian / australia
06/01/2013 23:56
#12 "But we know that YOU are not willing to divide Australia and give part of it back to its rightful owners", "How do you explain that 20% of Israelis are not Jews, yet they have full citizenship?" (#16). This is where you get a bit unhinged Brian. We don't need to "divide Australia" as our solution to the evils of the past is equal rights for ALL Australians. You sneer at this, saying it's not good enough yet hold it up as a great achievement of ISRAELI democracy granting rights to the Arab

21 ) ian / australia
06/01/2013 23:57
(contd.) minority! "You, Ian, are the true occupation settler...And you have no guilt." You're right, we don't because unlike Israel, we have done everything in the present to atone for the sins of the past.

22 ) ian / australia
06/01/2013 23:59
#14 "...Ma'an readers can simply look at Israel's ranking in the world (democracy, quality of life, freedom of the press, etc)" Yes, things are pretty good behind the Green Line but Ma'an readers are all to aware of the crimes brazenly committed in the occupied territories! "...to see...that Ian's writings are motivated by hate" I don't hate anyone Brian. I agree with Jesus. Everyone is my neighbour. But it's a strange paranoid conclusion to leap to just because you don't like what I'm saying.

23 ) ian / australia
07/01/2013 00:02
(cond.) And does anyone other than Jews/Israelis think like that? If I say Italian politics is shambolic and risible would Italians say I'm motivated by hate? Or that the English can't cook? Or that Americans are ignorant, brainwashed and fat and can't protect their school children from their own psychotic citizens? Does that mean I hate Americans? And would Americans jump to that conclusion?

24 ) ian / australia
07/01/2013 12:43
#14 "We KNOW we are a great, democratic state...And we're proud of it." The hypocrisy rises to heaven. Are you proud of your record in the West Bank or Gaza or Hebron? Outpost settlers gone feral attacking shepherds and stabbing sheep? Border police killing a teenager with his birthday cake then making up a story about an assault with a toy gun? Do you kvell at this reprehensible record? "But then again...I don't think Ian cares about the facts." I assure you Brian, that's ALL Ian cares about.

25 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
07/01/2013 19:07
Ian - the bottom line is that Israelis want peace with the Palestinians. Every single public opinion poll shows that. The leadership on both sides sucks bigtime, however the Palestinians are indeed much more incompetent (and that shows you how bad they are). Your anti-Israel hatred shows in your rage. People like you bring about war, not peace. Stay in Australia, please. Your ignorance of most of the facts and issues shows in your postings. Or you can come visit. I'll pick you up at the airport.

26 ) BornFree&Equal / Scotland
07/01/2013 23:09
Brian, Palestinians have offered the Arab Peace Plan since 2002 - it is based on international law and offers full recognition of Israel. In contrast, Israel has no peace plan. Instead it contravenes international law and settles its population on occupied territory. Would you be happy if Palestinians were forcefully building colonies around Tel Aviv? Of course not.

27 ) Anna / Germany
08/01/2013 10:12
"however the Palestinians are indeed much more incompetent (and that shows you how bad they are)" Brian, I hope you realize how racist that one sentence is and it tells me everything about Israeli attitude towards Palestinians: Palestinians are not seen as humans, but as inferior beings. It is a shame.

28 ) mohamrd / somalia
08/01/2013 11:36
Thanks for Uk on this issue.

29 ) Thomas / Canada
08/01/2013 18:11
@Brian Cohen you are the textbook definition of an internet troll. For the most part you have nothing worthwhile to add. Your main mission is to comment and oppose anyone who does not align themselves with your racist views. LONG LIVE PALESTINE! Love and support from Canada..

30 ) Palestinian Rights are / NOT an Issue
08/01/2013 21:28
A recent poll shows that "denying Palestinian rights" is NOT an issue at all,
where Jewish Israelis are concerned with:
- SECURITY (with 53% favoring Likud's Netanyahu), and
- ECONOMY (with 45% favoring Labor's Yacomovich), and think
- the PEACE process will remain at a standstill (regardless of election results), and also oppose East Jerusalem becoming part of Palestinian state, or dismantling Jewish settlements !!!

31 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
08/01/2013 22:21
Thomas - living in Canada you post on a Palestinian website and call *me* an internet troll? Get off it, you hoser. I live here. You're a troll 8000 km away. My main issue is to get the Palestinians back to the negotiating table to hammer out a peace treaty for two countries: Israel and Palestine. Palestine is the national homeland of the Palestinian people and Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people. You, Thomas, live on occupied land. You are the racist, not me.

32 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
08/01/2013 22:26
Anna - even the Palestinians call their own leadership incompetent (and worse). And racism? Germany was the world champ! Your attitude tells me everything about you, not Germans. You exist on stereotypes and don't bother to go on the ground to check your facts. I dare you to come meet me in the west bank and sit down with me and my Palestinian neighbors. I despise ignorant foreigners who pretend they know everything. Prove that you aren't one. Come meet me here.

33 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
08/01/2013 22:29
#26 - why are you referring to the 2002 plan as if it were the answer? It's not. And Israel has indeed offered several peace plans. Would you be happy if outsiders came and concluded that Scotland is indeed a legal part of England and you parliament should disband? Heck - it's the one state solution: English and Scottish living happily equal under one flag! You're telling us that's the solution, right? You like picking and choosing your pet facts, don't you?

34 ) Colin Wright / USA
09/01/2013 02:52
This essay has a dynamite beginning. I'm copying it and pasting it. As to the rest -- well, in my case at least you're preaching to the converted. I know perfectly well Israel is evil.

35 ) BornFree&Equal / Scotland
09/01/2013 03:04
Brian you don't get it. A valid Israeli peace plan would be based on international law and UN resolutions not the annexation of land taken by military force and maintained by brutal military occupation. A just peace requires you to respect the Human Rights of Jews and everyone equally. You don't understand Scottish governance but be assured that it gives equal rights to Jews and all races/religions.

36 ) ian / australia
09/01/2013 07:11
#27 I don't think that's really fair Anna and I think you misunderstand what Brian means. This is one of his nicer posts. (That and offering to pick me up at the airport.) He's criticising BOTH Palestinian and Israeli leadership for the failure to bring about peace, and the Palestinians specifically for being "incompetent"..."much more incompetent" EVEN than Israel, which "shows you how bad they are". It's a joke. It's nice, and new as Brian never criticises Israel! Whether you agree

37 ) ian / australia
09/01/2013 07:12
(contd.) is another matter. (The inability of Fatah and Hamas to reconcile does come across as incompetent, along with lots of other little blunders, but not Pres. Abbas' historic successes at the UN. Bibi's Likud government is too cunning and proactive to project incompetence...though in the long run it may prove to be..."evil" would be my designation.) And I don't think charges of racism are really true either. Israelis seem conflicted to me. Like everyone they don't want to LOSE anything.

38 ) ian / australia
09/01/2013 07:14
(contd.) Most want peace and two states, if what Brian says about opinion polls is true, yet will vote for extremists like Likud who don't. They're torn between being decent and humane (and less an isolated pariah) and scared of losing out if they are. It doesn't make them racist, just human.

39 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
09/01/2013 14:11
Scottie - beam yourself back up, please. Just like you don't seem to know very much or bother learning about Israeli vs Palestinian governance, why should I bother learning about Scottish reality when I can pontificate like you and extrapolate any point to grandiose conclusions? So what if Scots are humanists - by your logic you are part of England and Scotland should be dissolved and go away. Peace is negotiated by 2 sides, not imposed by you. We want peace.

40 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
09/01/2013 14:24
Thank you Ian for getting beyond the rhetoric and actually reading my posts. Yes, leadership on both sides sucks. Israel has the advantage of having the high ground with our military-industrial complex. As our right-wing extremist leaders have repeatedly said (Olmert, Netanyahu, Sharon) just like our left wing leader (Barak) - Israel will indeed make painful concessions in return for peace. Look at Sinai. Look at Gaza. We can do it if the conditions are right. As of now, they are not.

41 ) ian / australia
10/01/2013 01:12
#40 "Thank you Ian for getting beyond the rhetoric and actually reading my posts." You're welcome. I always do. They're always interesting. This one no exception. "Israel will indeed make painful concessions in return for peace. Look at Sinai. Look at Gaza." Sinai? Gaza? Surely just withdrawal from neighbouring territory Israel shouldn't have been in the first place. Hardly a painful concession. (A "painful concession" would be the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.) "We can do it if the conditions

42 ) ian / australia
10/01/2013 01:12
(contd.) are right. As of now, they are not." If the bar is set too high, the danger is "conditions" will NEVER be "right". A leap of faith is required. Not the endless excuse that conditions aren't right. 2013. Insha'Allah.

43 ) ian / australia
10/01/2013 01:19
#25 "Ian - the bottom line is that Israelis want peace with the Palestinians. Every single public opinion poll shows that." But what are those polls really worth Brian? Who wouldn't answer yes when asked "Do you want peace?" or "Do you support two states?" Different, more specific questions might reveal something else about the opinions of Israelis: "Should Israel give up the Temple Mount?" or "Is East Jerusalem occupied Palestine territory as the ICJ has ruled or part of Israel?" "Should the

44 ) ian / australia
10/01/2013 01:19
(contd.) Palestinian state be on the '67 line?" "If so should Israel graciously accept the Kotel as a gift and good will gesture and give up the rest of the Old City (which isn't Israel's in the first place)?" "Should Israel evacuate Ariel, Gilo and Har Homa, perhaps accepting Pizgat Ze'ev as another generous concession?" They're better questions don't you think, with a better chance of revealing what the "majority of Israelis" who "support the 2-state solution and peace with the Palestinians"

45 ) ian / australia
10/01/2013 01:20
(contd.) actually MEAN by it. (Your answers would be revealing too.)
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