World No Longer Bound to Defend Israel Internationally – Daoud Kuttab
AMMAN — The Israeli electorate had a choice to make. By re-electing a leader who publicly reneged on his commitments to peace and a two-state solution, they voted against peace. What remains now is how the Palestinians and the world will react to the closure of the charade that was called the peace process.
Palestinians have for years lost hope in the peace process and have been telling everyone who is willing to listen that the Israeli leaders are merely giving lip service to it as their own bulldozers were gobbling up Palestinian lands. The world kept on believing in the lip service until the Israeli public forced their leader to state his case in Hebrew to his own people. Now that we know that Israel is not a democracy to all its citizens (see Netanyahu’s racist comments about Arab citizens) and Netanyahu never meant his commitment to a Palestinian state, the world must react.
The vote by the Israeli public has sealed the fate of Mahmoud Abbas who had placed his bets on the peace process and the support of the international community. The 79-year-old will certainly set the stage for a new generation of Palestinian leaders during the upcoming seventh congress of Fatah. But in the meantime he has been given a mandate to follow-up on efforts to ostracize Israeli internationally while suspending security cooperation.
The efforts by the UN’s non-member state of Palestine to pursue Israel in the International Criminal Court must now be seen as a positive nonviolent act that is much kinder to Israel than what should happen to an occupying power. Instead of criticizing Palestine, the US and other western countries must praise the actions of Mahmoud Abbas as a moderate peaceful alternative to various offers of resistance.
Abbas’s efforts to go to the ICC have been recently approved by the Palestinian Central Council, which also approved the need to suspend security cooperation with Israel. Palestinians have for years made life easy to its occupiers by providing intelligence and security cooperation to thwart any efforts to resist the illegal occupation of its territories and the colonial settlement of its lands.
Palestinian and world eyes will now be focused on the post-election Israeli relations with Washington and the rest of the international community. Will the US continue in defending Israeli in the Security council after Netanyahu renounced the two-state solution without presenting a credible alternative. The Obama Administration is still reeling from his efforts to sabotage a possible deal with Iran over its nuclear plans without giving a credible alternative. The same situation is now present in the Palestinian issue after Netanyahu renounced his own commitments to recognize a Palestinian state (albeit with conditions) without offering any alternative. As the veteran anchor Christiane Amanpour said on CNN Tuesday, without support for a Palestinian state, the Israeli leader is offering no alternative except for an apartheid-like situation where four million Palestinian under Israeli military control have no political rights.
The vote for the Israeli Knesset and the shift to the right by Israel’s presumptive re-elected prime minister has relieved Palestinians of any worry about moving seriously in the direction of internationalizing the conflict. Attempts to say that the conflict can be resolved if both parties just sit down and talk was based on the assumption that Israel is a democratic state for all its citizens and thus can’t accept to politically disenfranchise another people and that the state of Israel accepts to replace the occupation with an independent Palestinian state. Both these assumptions have been wiped by Netanyahu and therefore Palestinians are no longer bound by the need to continue to pretend that the conflict can be solved simply through direct Palestinian-Israeli engagement.
The role and the responsibilities of the international community to resolve a conflict that all agree has poisoned the air in the Middle East region is now paramount. It is no longer acceptable that international instruments such as the Security Council and the International Criminal Court be disabled in favor of Israel. No one country should be allowed to be above international law. And Israel has now lost any chance of world powers protecting it from international justice.