Thursday, July 3, 2014

Israel's Shakespearean Plot to Punish Palestinians

It has not been proven to me that members of Hamas or any other Palestinian committed the alleged murder of the allegedly missing Israeli teenagers. The scenario put out by the Israelis just does not make sense. Given the diplomatic failures or setbacks that Israel has suffered in the past several months leads many to believe that this kidnapping was an Israeli fabrication that was conjured up to achieve Israel’s real aim without bringing on the wrath of the world leaders.
Israel is vehemently upset at the Palestinian unification government that ended the 7 year rift between Fatah and Hamas, the two leading political rivals in Palestine. This is no secret. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to world leaders not to recognize the new Palestinian unity government was rebuffed, including U.S. and Western European leaders.
It is also no secret that Israel wanted to punish the Palestinian Authority for bringing Hamas into the Palestinian government. Israel, as the collector of duty fees on products imported to the Palestinian Authority, is withholding those fees as one form of punishment. But Israel wanted to do more.
The concoction of having 3 Israeli teenagers go missing was pre-told by non-other than the head of the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, one week before the alleged kidnapping. This “terrorist” kidnapping plot against 3 Israeli teenagers would elicit the support not only with Israelis but with foreign governments—a much needed element in order for Netanyahu to carry on his plan to punish the Palestinians for its unity government with Hamas. He needed to punish the Palestinians without engaging the wrath of the US and Western powers. Thus the Netanyahu government was presented with a story about 3 missing “innocent” Israeli teenagers—what a wonderful Shakespearean plot.
So Israel carried on with this Machiavellian scenario. A news blackout was imposed during the initial hours or days of the search. The plot was developing. The sympathy from around the world was pouring in as the Israeli media broadcast the names and images of the teenagers. Their mothers were crying.
The mothers even went to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland to plea for help. They left behind 198 Palestinian mothers whose children innocence was wasted in Israeli Military jails and over 1500 Palestinian mothers whose children were killed since 2000. Motherly instincts are not exclusive to Israeli mothers and thus I wonder if they spoke on behalf of all mothers.
This Shakespearean plot was such a masterful plan aimed at achieving two results. It would elicit the sympathy Israel needed after months of diplomatic setbacks and it would allow Israel, under the cover of “rescuing” its children, to punish the Palestinian Authority and Hamas for the unification government that Israel opposed.
Israel was suffering in public opinion. In April, 2014, Israel was blamed by U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, for the collapse of the “peace” talks; settlement start announcements by Israel was hurting its image; the Palestinians united; and Palestine applied to 15 international agencies for membership. Divestment victories at U.S. campuses were gaining steam for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. The Presbyterian Church voted to divest from 3 U.S. corporations that are profiting from the Israeli occupation. Western European countries called upon their businesses to refrain from any business with corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation.
Israel could not accept any more condemnation and needed a sympathetic ploy to do what it wanted. Thus the plot to punish the Palestinians for the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah needed a cover. The scenario of having 3 Israelis being kidnapped by Hamas proved to be the cover Israel needed to carry on with its plot.
Under the cover of the alleged kidnapping and after gaining the needed sympathy of world leaders, Israel launched its media campaign and its Operation Brother’s Keeper, eloquently named to elicit maximum sympathy. It called up an army brigade which consists of 5,000 soldiers. Israel was going to war against the Palestinian Authority.
Israeli soldiers, in the past several weeks since the alleged kidnapping, freely and indiscriminately entered into over 1,000 Palestinian homes without any search warrants; killed 8 Palestinian children; arrested hundreds of Palestinian men; and ransacked homes—many times just in search of a TV which carried the World Cup games. Thousands of pictures where posted on social media sites showing Israeli soldiers blindfolding and dragging Palestinian children, as young as 7 years old off to prison. Israeli has bombarded an already devastated Gaza relentless for over the past week. The collective punishment against the Palestinian people was being carried out relentlessly and not a word was heard from world leaders.
When news broke that the 3 missing Israeli teens were found dead, Israel’s bombardment of Gaza escalated and the indiscriminate collective punishment against the Palestinian people went unabated and again without any condemnation by world leaders. Israel had achieved its objectives: gaining sympathy and punishing the Palestinians.
In analyzing the events of the past several weeks, the Shakespearean plot put out by Israel seems unrealistic. Killing the teenagers would not have served Hamas’ interests as the value of abducting Israelis is in the prisoner exchange. Murdering the teenagers has no value to Hamas, as the merciless bombing of Gaza has proven. Israelis did not like the prisoner exchange that was made to entice the Palestinians to renew the peace talks last year. In fact, Knesset members introduced legislation this year to prevent the Israeli government from agreeing to prisoner exchanges. Thus the chance of knowing that the teenagers were alive and held as a bargaining chip to exchange prisoners was not in Israel’s self-interest. Israel would have been in a real dilemma had the children been alive and it could not bargain for their release.
Thus the allegedly kidnapped teenagers were found dead. But Hamas never claimed responsibility. Again, it was not in Hamas’ interest to kill the teenagers.
Israel, a mastermind of staging media events, did not provide a picture of the bodies of the teenagers. They did not offer any evidence that members of Hamas committed the alleged kidnapping other than the preordained accusations by Netanyahu and his war hawk ministers.
The question is really not: Where is the proof that members of Hamas committed the alleged kidnapping and murder of these Israeli teenagers? The question should be: Who has the motive to present a scenario to the world that would gain sympathy for the preordained Israeli desire to punish the Palestinians for uniting? Shakespeare could not have written a better plot.
(Fadi Zanayed is an attorney and a Palestinian-American community activist. He blogs at and his poetry collection is at He can be reached at

Monday, June 30, 2014

Condemn All Murder Of Children

The death of the three allegedly kidnapped Israeli youths saddens me. It is appalling but before we rush to judgment as to who killed them let us analyze the facts.

Israel came off one of its worst diplomatic months ever. In April, Israel reneged on releasing Palestinian prisoners it had committed to releasing and then it announced further illegal settlement housing starts amid US attempts to salvage the talks. US Officials blamed Israel. The Palestinians sought membership in 15 international agencies and are about to seek membership in the International Criminal Court. The Palestinians have ended 7 years of rift between Hamas and Fatah, much to Israel's chagrin.  Countries across the globe, including the US, welcomed the new Palestinian unity government despite by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plea otherwise.  France, UK and several other European countries warned their businesses not to do business with corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The Presbyterian Church voted to divest from 3 US corporations who so profit.

Indeed, the diplomatic tide against Israel was being written on the wall.

A week before these youths went missing, the head of the Israeli Mossad predicted that 3 Israeli youths would go missing. Israel in all its communications demanded that the PA disavow the unification agreement between Hamas and Fatah. That was the Israeli intent behind its Operation Brother's Keeper. Israel may have already known the fate of the missing teenagers.

It is not beyond the realm of belief that Israel would sacrifice the lives of its citizens for the greater good, to gain sympathy from world public opinion. So let us not condemn anyone here because it is not proven if they were kidnapped, even the NY Times questioned the "alleged" kidnapping.

It is also within the realm of belief that Israel will fabricate charges on some innocent Palestinians to cover its tracts. Let us not forget the thousands of alleged confessions that Israel gained through the use of torture.

Let us not forget that the US courts found Mohammed Salah innocent despite the torture induced confession written in Hebrew. At Israel's insistence, Salah was put on the terrorist watch list, was stripped of his ability to work and support his family and was striped of any rights. He fought back against the Israeli accusations and won.

Yes, the murders of these 3 Israelis needs to be condemned in the strongest terms. But so does the murder of 8 Palestinian children during the massive operation to find the missing Israelis.  The collective punishment perpetrated against the Palestinian population also needs to be condemned.

You cannot condemn one act and not the other.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Where Is The Outrage Against Israel?

By Fadi Zanayed

The indiscriminate collective punishment imposed by the ruthless Israeli terrorist army in search of the allegedly kidnapped illegal Israeli settlers has gone unabated and the world is not in an outrage. In Chicago we have a major crisis of children being shot and killed on a daily basis and if the Chicago police raided the homes of citizens without search warrants and arrested Chicagoans at will based on an antiquated administrative detention law that does not charge or try those accused of wrong doing, the US would be in outrage. This does not happen in America because we are a democracy. We have a constitution–Israel does not not.

Israel has ransacked over 800 homes, has arrested more than 200 Palestinians, killed one child and produced such havoc that it strikes fear in the hearts of Palestinians. While Israel ruthlessly violates all international laws in its search for the 3 Israeli children, it has kidnapped 198 Palestinian children in its military jails. Let me emphasize: CHILDREN. Where is the outrage?

Israel displays the grieving mothers of the 3 Israeli children but the anguish of the 198 mothers of the Palestinian children abducted by Israel are ignored. Israel has every right to search for the missing 3 Israelis and everyone hopes that they return safe and sound back to their parents. But at the same time Israel must recognize that the right for children to be with their parents is not an exclusive right for Israelis alone. Palestinian children also have a right to be with their parents and not lingering in isolation inside Israeli prisons far away from their homes where there parents cannot visit them because Israel will not allow them to travel through military checkpoints.

The world continues to be outraged at the missing 300 African girls who were kidnapped last month. The world should be outraged at the kidnapping of the 3 Israeli children. And the world should be outraged at the illegal kidnapping of the 198 Palestinian children. The world should also be outraged at Israel for its ruthless indiscriminate collective punishment it is imposing upon the Palestinian population in direct violation of the Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Where is the outrage against Israel?
(Fadi Zanayed is an attorney and American-Arab Community Leader. He blogs at His poetry is at He can be reached at

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Keeping the Momentum Going - Seek ICC Membership

By: Fadi Zanayed

The momentum towards achieving a Palestinian State is swinging in favor of the Palestinians. With increased activity by Palestinians and supporters on social media sites with the Boycott;Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS); at college campuses, and in international diplomatic levels, the momentum has shifted. The question facing Palestinians is whether they can keep this momentum going? 

The momentum in the social media is increasing. The video showing how Israeli soldiers killed 2 Palestinian children, who posed no imminent danger to the soldiers, during Nakba commemorations has gone viral--so much so that the UN and US State Department have independently called for a transparent investigation. To increase social media activity, the Palestinian authority should require internet and cellular companies in Palestine to install video cameras at major confrontational areas with the occupying Israeli army. Additionally, the Palestine should employ the children of jailed Palestinian political prisoners and pay them for video and picture evidence taken on the atrocities committed by Israeli soldiers. This will justify the payments that are going to families of imprisoned political Palestinians lingering in Israeli military jails.

The momentum with the BDS Movement is also increasing. The actions of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) are getting widespread media coverage as they bring forth resolutions before the US universities' student governments to divest from corporations who profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Many US university student body governments are taking up the issue of divestment. These university student body governments are engaged in a non-violent peaceful and democratic activity to bring public awareness of the Israeli apartheid practices and the US corporations that help Israel continue the occupation.

While the SJP students may not win every vote, the public discourse and awareness generated by these student's efforts are to be praised.

Israel is pulling all stops to swing the momentum back toward its favor and divert attention to its apartheid regime. University faculty are being provided junkets to Israel to persuade them against supporting divestment movements. Public relation firms are behind advertisement campaigns against the divestment movements on university campuses. Despite all the advertising and junk money, the BDS movement is growing stronger every day.

The momentum on Facebook, Twitter and other social media are also increasing. Each day more and more Palestinians and supporters are posting and sharing stories that bring to light what the Israeli occupation is doing to everyday lives of the Palestinians. Statements, articles, news stories, videos and pictures are being posted.  A recent photo-shopped picture of Salma Hayek displaying a "#FreePalestine" message went viral with the message "Perception is Reality."

The momentum in Palestine is growing stronger and it must continue. The momentum generated by the brave Palestinian youth who daily confront the Israeli terrorist soldiers with rocks is growing--nothing can stop them for their human spirit to be free is insurmountable.

Neither Israel nor her supporters can stop this momentum. Sheldon Adelson's billions thrown at Republican candidates cannot stop this momentum. 

The momentum on all fronts needs to continue to grow, especially the political front.

April, 2013 was a great month for the Palestinian cause, especially on the political front, despite the faltering of the "talks". The Palestinians sought membership in 15 nternational agencies and a unification agreement was signed by Fatah and Hamas, the two leading parties in Palestine. Even American officials blamed Israel for the faltering of the talks. 

To keep this momentum going, a great majority of Palestinians now desire that Palestine seek membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The momentum for seeking international organization membership and seeking to hold Israeli officials accountable for war crimes is now during President Barrack Obama's second term. Waiting to take action during a first term US president in 2016 will not be as effective as the new president, wishing to be re-elected in 2020, will then have to appease the supporter's  of an entrenched Israel in return for the political contributions..

Now is the time for Palestine to seek membership in the ICC. President Abbas' must be under tremendous pressure as he recently stated that Palestine is not seeking such application. He did leave some encouragement when during the swearing in of the new unity government in Palestine he stated that any Israeli punitive action for the reunification between Fatah and Hamas will be countered on the international level. 

The will of the Palestinian people in Palestine and in the Diaspora is to seek membership in the ICC. The pressure from a new US president in 2 1/2 years will be much greater as the political momentum will shift if action is not taken now.

President Abbas needs to strengthen the political momentum by seeking membership in the ICC and by bringing to justice those Israelis who have committed war crimes against Palestinians.

President Abbas can use the Nakba Rememberance Day killing of Nadime Siam Abu Nuwara, 17, and Mohammed Awad Salemeh Abu Thaher, 22, by the Israeli soldiers as a justification to seek membership in the ICC. He can use the video which shows that these martyrs posed no imminent threat to the soldiers and thus are criminally liable. This move will give great hope to the Palestinian people, especially in Palestine and it will give the Israeli leaders and soldiers pause before they fire another bullet aimed at Palestinian children.

Despite Israel's whitewash of this video, President Abbas needs to capture the moment to keep the political momentum going. He has a duty to protect the Palestinian people. Israeli soldiers are killing innocent Palestinians and they need to be brought to justice. ICC membership by Palestine is the next step to keeping the momentum going. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

US/Israeli Interests Diverge as Palestinians seek UN agency membership

The implications of Palestine seeking membership in UN and international organizations are seismic for Israel, Palestine and the US.  The divergent interests of the US and Israel will come to a head in Congress as members will have to choose between US interests and the Israeli interests. For Palestine, it is now more at parity with Israel as the threat of seeking justice within these UN agencies makes Israelis shiver as the threats of international sanctions, economic boycott and international criminal trials for its current and former leaders loom in the horizon.

For the Palestinians, the decision to seek membership in UN agencies is a win-win move which was precipitated by Israel’s breach of its commitment to release the last of the 104 Palestinian prisoners it was holding before the Oslo Agreement.  Palestinians were enticed by Secretary of State John Kerry to restart peace talks with Israel in July, 2013 on condition that 104 Palestinians will be released and that final status discussions would be addressed. The Palestinians agreed not to seek membership in UN agencies.

When Israel breached its part of the agreement, the Palestinians, seeing no progress on the final status issues, applied to 15 UN agencies for membership.  Israel wanted Palestine to recommit to the talks beyond the April 29, 2014 deadline set out when the “talks” began but the Palestinians stated that the release of the prisoners was already agreed to and would not commit to extend the talks for the same agreement. The US then tried to sweeten the deal by considering releasing the notorious Navy spy Jonathan Pollard in exchange for the release of 400 Palestinian women and children prisoners held by Israel. (The reader should note very clearly that this is an admission by Israel that it is imprisoning Palestinian children.)

Additionally, Secretary Kerry elicited a show of “restraint” by Israel in new housing starts that did not include settlements in East Jerusalem and did not include housing starts already announced. On Tuesday, April 1, 2014, Israel, in what it thought was a cunning move before an agreement could be reached, announced over 700 new housing starts. This was the last straw for the Palestinians and the Palestinian Liberation Organization Action Committee unanimously voted to seek UN agency membership.

The divergence of US and Israeli interests was evident when Palestine was granted membership in the UN agency UNESCO in 2012.  The US had to stop paying its membership dues in UNESCO as two US laws, over 20 years old, compel the US to de-fund any UN organizations which approves Palestine’s membership. The laws were intended to keep Palestine out of these organizations as a way to protect Israel. The law, however, was ill conceived for it has and will hurt the United States while protecting Israeli interests.  Congress attempted to influence member nations of these organizations to vote against the acceptance of Palestine for fear of losing significant US funding.  Members of UNESCO were not easily bribed.

For two years the Obama administration sought a waiver from Congress without success, and last November the U.S. lost its voting rights at UNESCO as a result of being two years in arrears.  US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers urged Congress on April 2, 2014 to repeal or waive the law in its application to Palestine stating that defunding UN agencies that admit Palestine is not in the interests of the US. She stated that defunding these agencies would be a “double win” for the Palestinians. With US influence in these agencies diminished through losing its voting rights, Russia, China and even Cuba would take the lead.

UNESCO’s purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the UN Charter.  Some UNESCO sponsored projects include literacy, technical, and teacher-training programs; international science programs; the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press; regional and cultural history projects; the promotion of cultural diversity; translations of world literature; international cooperation agreements to secure the world cultural and natural heritage and to preserve human rights, and attempts to bridge the worldwide digital divide. These are all within the interests of the US but with the loss of its voting rights, that influence has been negated—all because Congress has put Israel’s interests ahead of the interests of the US.

A pro-Israeli Congress would be reluctant to allow Congressional members to vote their conscience to grant a waiver or repeal these laws. The Israeli lobby, true to its history of championing Israeli interests over US interests, will not allow Israel interests to be hurt and therefore, its considerable power over Congress will restrain Congressional members from voting for US interests and against Israeli interests. The Israeli lobby has demonstrated on numerous occasions that it champions Israel’s interest over the US interests; most recently over President’s policy visa vie Syria and Iran. The lobby in both cases wanted the US to attack these countries over a reluctant American public’s weariness over two unfunded wars.

With the Israeli lobby ever threatening each member’s election over their loyalty to Israel, members of Congress will be in a quagmire trying to decide whether they should act in the best interest of the US or Israel—or more accurately whether they are willing to put their own re-election interests at the mercy of the Israeli lobby or whether they will do the very thing they were elected—protecting US interests.

Secretary of State John Kerry was perceptive in January, 2014 when he stated that if a peace agreement is not reached, Israel will be further isolated.  He must have foreseen that the US must now act in its own self-interest and cannot therefore base its international relations based on the interests of Israel.

The US cannot allow other nations’ political agenda to drive the US out of the UN and its agencies. The decision whether to fund these agencies must be based on the totality of US security, political, and economic interests served by the agencies. Congress will have to stand up for American interests and tell Israel that the divergence of US and Israeli interests is at hand. US foreign policy cannot be based on the interests of another nation.

U.S. diplomats have warned Israel that the United States cannot stop further Palestinian moves at the United Nations, especially if the current negotiations collapse—which they have despite the statement by Secretary Kerry to not write off the “talks”.

The move to seek membership in UN agencies is yet another step toward legitimacy for the Palestinian State after having won “non-member observer state” status in 2012 from the UN General Assembly.  Legitimacy for the Palestinian Authority is also achieved from the Palestinian people who have been exasperated by yet another round of “talks” with Israel that are endless and lead to no end. A great majority of Palestinians, most of which are moderate and who were supporters of the Oslo Accords, have become frustrated with an endless state of talks that never end, that are always conditioned upon an agreement to agree on something else in the future.  They were also frustrated that as the Palestinian Authority was conducting “talks” with Israel, Israel killed over 60 and wounded over 900 Palestinians; Israel kept building and building more Israeli settlement housing; and the illegal Israeli settlers were cutting down more and more Palestinian olive groves. Thus, taking the step to seek membership in UN agencies is very much favored by the Palestinian people in Palestine and around the globe.

Once Palestine is a member of UN agencies, it can seek to address the Israeli violations. For example, Article 2 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that signatories are bound by the convention both in war, armed conflicts where war has not been declared, and in an occupation of another country's territory. In addition, the United Nations Security Council, in 1993, adopted a report that concluded that the Geneva Conventions had passed into the body of customary international law, thus making them binding on non-signatories to the Conventions whenever they engage in armed conflicts. 

The Fourth Geneva Convention clearly states the illegality of an occupying power moving its people to occupied areas. The International Court of Justice has given an advisory statement regarding the Israeli wall built deep on Palestinian land. The advisory ruling in 2007 states clearly that as an occupying power, Israel is forbidden to settle in Arab areas captured during the 1967 war.  Thus the status of the Israeli colonization (settlements as the press calls them) will be legally challenged through legal means once Palestine is granted membership in the Fourth Geneva Convention and the International Court of Justice.

Palestine will be in position not only to bring war crimes against Israeli officials but against countries and corporations who support or benefit from the occupation of Palestine. Tzipi Livni, Israel's foreign minister during the War on Gaza in 2008-2009, was cautioned by legal experts not to leave Israel if the Palestinians resorted to the “nuclear option”, i.e. seeking membership in UN agencies. Corporations worldwide, like Caterpillar, can be sued for aiding in the Israeli practice of demolishing Palestinian homes, 27,000 since 1967. Legal precedents have been set by the case against former Yugoslavia President Slobodan Milošević and against Shell Oil--which had to make a hefty settlement to Nigerian farmers after being indicted for human rights violations in its efforts to extract oil. The tide is turning towards justice for the Palestinian people.

By applying for membership in UN agencies, the Palestinians are on the road to achieving parity with Israel. Parity is much needed. The latest action by the Palestinian Authority may be the action that achieves parity. Parity has been thwarted by the diplomatic shield that the US has been giving Israel for more than 6 decades. That shield is evaporating as Palestine’s admission into these agencies has caused a diversion of US and Israeli interests.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Palestinian Exasperation - Israeli Desperation

In July, 2013 United States Secretary of State John Kerry brought the Palestinian and Israeli parties to the negotiating table to discuss peace yet again. The deadline for those talks was set as April 29, 2014. To entice the parties to the table, certain agreements were made by both sides.  But the alluring factor for many Palestinians was that final status issues would also be discussed.  With less than a month before that deadline, we are entrenched in a dispute not over those core issues but about whether side issues will be met or whether the Palestinians will seek justice at international forums.  Another 9 months have been wasted and the status quo has gone from exasperation to desperation.

There was a great reluctance among the majority of Palestinians to begin yet another chapter of talks with the Israelis. Many Palestinians felt and continue to feel that they do not need to endlessly talk to no real end and that talking to Israel served Israel’s interest to perpetuate the decades old cruel military occupation of their land and their people and preventing the Palestinians from seeking justice through international forums.  Israel, instead of agreeing to stop all settlement building activities, agreed to release 104 pre-Oslo prisoners in four installments, the latest of which has been breached. The Palestinians agreed not to go to United Nations forums to seek international justice against the Israelis—and Palestinians have thus far kept their end of the bargain.

Now the talks are at a juncture which is not aimed at resolving the issues of the status of Jerusalem, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, the border issues or even water rights—a fundamental issue to any peace agreement but which has not been given much consideration by the parties and the media.  Instead the topic of discussion is whether the Israelis will release the last batch of Palestinian prisoners and who will decide which prisoners will be released but only for extending the talks.  

During the last 9 months of “talks” Palestinians have witnessed

  •          over 60 Palestinians being killed and over 900 wounded by Israeli soldiers.
  •          an increase in housing starts in the illegal settlements

o   August 12, 2013."Israel approves 900 additional homes in East Jerusalem".
o   On 10 January 2014. Israel approved plans for 1,400 settler homes.
o   January 21, 2014. Peace hopes fade as Israel plans 381 more settler homes
  •       reports of olive trees being cut down are rampant in the media. Here is but a sampling:

o   March 27, 2014 Settlers cut down 50 olive trees near Nablus
o   October 5, 2013 Palestinian farmer: West Bank settlers destroyed 129 olive trees
o   October 21, 2013 Israeli Settlers Chop down more Palestinian Olive Trees (having destroyed 800,000 since 1967)
o   March 3, 2014  Israeli settlers destroy olive trees in West Bank

The results of the talks have been a step forward for Palestinians, not in terms of achieving a State anytime soon, but in terms of positioning in negotiations.  While it is the Palestinians who were and continue to be exasperated, it is the Israelis who are desperate. The Palestinians have been exasperated by 20+ years of endless talks that have led to no end. Palestinians are no closer to a State then in 1993 or the last 9 months. The Israelis are desperate to prevent the Palestinians from seeking justice at UN forums, especially at the Human Rights Commission and at the International Criminal Court. Additionally, Israelis are deathly afraid of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions Movement which is growing by leaps and bounds.  Secretary of State Kerry has warned Israel of a third Intifada and further isolation.

Continuing the “talks” without any real progress to date is an exercise in futility for Palestinians and will only serve Israel’s interests.  By agreeing to the continuation of the talks, Palestinians will allow Israel to buy additional time to continue building more settlements; continue building the apartheid wall; continue to murder, wound and imprison more Palestinians; and continue to uproot more and more Palestinian olive trees.  Additionally, the abusive Israeli military checkpoints will not be eased and Israeli dominance over Palestinian lives will go unabated.

Exasperated by another Israeli demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, Palestinians obtained the support of the Arab League in rejecting this demand.  This demand was not imposed upon the Jordanians or the Egyptians when Israel negotiated peace treaties with these countries. Additionally, this was not addressed in the Oslo Accords or any of its ancillary agreements. It is yet another demand creatively concocted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not for any altruistic purpose but for Israel’s selfish purpose—to kill the peace process. This is not Nethanyahu’s first attempt to redefine terms or impose new wordings in order to kill the peace process. In 1996 during his first stint as Prime Minister, he changed the Madrid Conference formula from “land for peace” to “land for security” which inevitably destroyed the Oslo movement towards a comprehensive peace.

Today, Netanyahu is concocting all sorts of schemes to maintain the status quo for as long as possible and to preventing the Palestinians from seeking justice at international forums. All the following proposals are aimed at eliciting a rejection so as to blame someone other than Israel for the failure of the “talks”:

·         Besides, the Jewish State recognition demand, Netayahu wants to maintain a military presence in the Jordanian valley thus eliminating a border between Palestine and Jordan.
·         March 2, 2014. Israel: Stop nuclear Iran and we’ll agree to Palestinian state
·         March 23, 2014 Swap proposed over release of Palestinian prisoners and spy (Jonathan Pollard)  Israel’s yet another attempt to have the notorious Israeli spy released from an American prison.
·         Netanyahu earlier tried to tie the Wye River Agreement to the release of Jonathan Pollard in October, 1998.

The one proposal that will win over hearts and minds for peace is not even suggested by Netanyahu—freezing settlement activity. While Netanyahu does not want peace, he wants the peace talks to endlessly go on to no real end. This duplicity in political posturing has caught up with him as the world understands his witty proposals are not aimed at furthering peace but at perpetuating the Israeli hegemony over the Palestinian people and land.

After nine months of “talks” there is a complete perpetuation of everything negative about the occupation. Palestinians are positioned at this time with a stronger negotiating power. They should use this power effectively.

The “talks” can go on for another 6 months but only if the Palestinians extract certain conditions from the Israelis. Palestinians should demand the following in exchange for not pursuing unilateral diplomatic actions in international forums, such as taking Israel to the International Criminal Court:

  •         Demand that any further Palestinian deaths at the hands of Israeli soldiers be investigated by a trilateral Palestinian/Israeli/US tribunal.
  •          Demand that all Israeli settlement building activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem be frozen, including but not limited to “natural growth.”
  •          Release of additional Palestinian prisoners including Marwan Bargouti
  •          Demand that a joint tribunal of Israelis and Palestinians will investigate and prosecute those responsible for destroying the Palestinian olive trees.
  •          Demand that Israel arrests and tries Israeli settlers who commit crimes against Palestinians.

Should Israel not agree to these demands, Palestinians should walk away from the “talks”. There is no need to discuss anything with Israel while Palestinian rights, land and dignity are continually trampled upon.  

Should the Talks Collapse, Palestinians should then then employ the following (from my article Should the Talks Collapse—What Then?  

  •         Palestinians should demand that Fatah and Hamas reconcile.
  •          The Palestinian police should be ordered to take their guns and give them to the Israeli soldiers at the checkpoints. We need to be David using a rock against the military might of the Big Israeli Army.  We do not need the guns that are not effective against the Mighty Israel Army.  We should confront Israel with our stones from Mother Earth against the tanks and helicopter gunships.
  •          The Palestinian Authority should no longer accept money from donor nations.  We cannot afford to be bribed into complacency and to accept the status quo of a continued brutal military occupation.
  •        Palestinians should use their cameras, camcorders and cell phones to inundate Facebook, Twitter, blogs and all forms of social media with images of the atrocities of the Israeli army.
  •        Support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel
  •        Palestinians need to organize a coherent message of non-violence that needs to be shared by thousands on these social media outlets.  Throwing stones against the military occupier is within the international right of Palestinians to resist the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
  •        Palestinian youth need to understand the power of the land and use it against the military occupation forces.  This is not a call to arms but a call to repel the occupation. 

Additionally, Palestinians should do what the Israelis fear most—go directly to the International Criminal Court and hold Israeli officials accountable for its human rights abuses toward Palestinians.