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The Israeli announcement about deporting the Palestinian

“infiltrators” from Gaza to the Gaza Strip or to Jordan is the beginning of a new stage in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

It is the beginning of a dangerous stage that can be considered tantamount to a declaration of continuous war. It is the beginning of the implementation of the “transfer” policy, the policy of collective deportation until the “Jewishness” of the state is achieved, and then until achieving the imposition of Israeli solutions for the Palestinians and the Palestinian issue. These Israeli solutions could be either the concept of the alternative homeland in Jordan, which the Palestinians and Jordanians reject, or the concept of exchange of territories at a regional level between Israel, the Palestinian Authority [PA], Jordan, and Egypt, according to the plan of Maj-Gen Giora Eiland, who has reemerged at the international level.

The first aspect of the Israeli deportation decision encroaches first of all upon the Oslo Accord. It expresses an Israeli plan that means abolishing the Oslo Accord, as it abolishes the geographical unity stipulated in the accord between Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and Jericho region, because it considers anyone who comes from Gaza Strip to the West Bank as infiltrator.

The second aspect of the deportation decision encroaches upon the PA, which becomes officially prohibited from deciding the fate of its Palestinian citizens. From now on such decision is up to the Israeli military governor, as he is the one to detain, put on trial, and deport the citizens. Despite the fact that the Israeli occupation authority always has had the upper hand in all issues, especially the security ones, now this is assuming a new dimension that abolishes the principle of “cooperation” that has existed between the PA and the occupation authority. The convention between the two sides is that the Palestinian side submits applications to the occupation authority on the basis of which entry and permanent residence permissions are given; now the PA has been set aside, and it no longer has even the role of agent, as the entire issue is under the control of the Israeli military governor.

As this plan has started to be implemented in this direction, the next logical step is to apply it to the sons of the West Bank, who entered “the territories of the State of Israel,” resided there according to the Israeli law, sometimes married Palestinian women according to the Israeli law, had children, and these children now are young men and women. These people now could be subject to decisions of deportation to the West Bank, regardless of what that might mean of destruction of the entire structure of the family.

These two steps, the deportation from the West Bank and then the deportation to the West Bank, will not be anything other than an introduction to the Israeli greater and more dangerous decision, namely the continuous application of the transfer policy, i.e. the policy of the comprehensive deportation of the Palestinians from their country to wherever they want or to wherever they are forced to go. This is in implementation of the concept of the “Jewishness” of the state, and in pursuit of changing the demographic balance that worries Israel.

Since the first Herzliya Conference in 2000, which was attended by all the colors of the Israeli elite spectrum, Israel adopted a strategic decision to work toward evicting the Palestinians from the country, Palestine. The number of the evicted Palestinians so far is 1.5 million. Despite the fact that this decision was not implemented at that time, the political debate over it has continued in Israel between those calling for starting the eviction by force and coercion, and those calling for a strange theory called voluntary departure through making the life so difficult for the Palestinian citizen to the extent that he would not find any available solution other than leaving. Between these two sides, plans were drawn up that were called the plans for developing Galilee and Negev, where there is a Palestinian majority, to bring in Israelis to the heart of these regions in order to change the demographic balance.

What is even more dangerous in this issue is that this Israeli policy enters the realm of implementation simultaneously with a retreat in the US political stance toward the political settlement, which has to be given special Palestinian and Arab attention. A few days ago it was reported that the United States intended to present a plan for settlement, i.e. a plan to be implemented, and perhaps a plan to be imposed on both sides if it were not agreed through negotiations. These reports started circulating after President Barack Obama hosted a number of former national security advisers, who advised him to crystallize a US plan based on the Camp David negotiations in 2000 between late President Yasser Arafat and the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Baraq, and also based on the settlement plan by former US President Bill Clinton, which he announced 50 days before the end of his term. However, what was announced after that, whether officially or by some of those who attended the consultative meeting at the White House, has diminished the horizons of optimism, and restored the US stance to what it used to be, either as a one that is not serious in sponsoring the settlement, or as one that is biased in favor of Israel and against the interests of the Palestinians and the Arabs.

The official US stance, which ended the optimism that was promoted by the media, came through the US President himself in his statements to the press (Reuters 13 April 2010), and in which the following indications emerged:

First: President Obama has retreated from saying that the political disagreement is between him and Netanyahu, and presented the political dispute as including the Palestinians and also the Arabs. President Obama said: “Perhaps the Israelis and the Palestinians are not ready to settle their conflicts whatever the volume of pressure exerted by Washington.”

Second: Obama announced that the solutions proposed by the United States would be for negotiations and not to be imposed. He said: “The United States cannot impose solutions if the sides of the conflicts are not prepared to abandon the old types of hostility.”

Third: Obama announced that the settlement to be sponsored by the United States might stumble and grind to a stop. He said: “Progress in issues such as the peace in the Middle East should not be measured by days and weeks, as it will take time, there will be halting of the progress, and there will be frustrations.”

We do not think that any US politician has ever announced his retreat from a policy, which he personally launched, in the same way as Obama. We do not believe that any US president has ever retreated in front of Israel after a public dispute between them in the same way as Obama.

Obama has adopted this stance, which abolishes any Arab optimism that his policy might improve, after consulting senior US experts. The most prominent of these experts (Zbigniew Brzezinski – the Washington Post) hastened to announce an advice to Obama, which included an explicit call on the Palestinians to concede the right to return; Brzezinski said: “The Palestinian leaders know that peace cannot be reached without conceding something that much of the Palestinian people consider to be a sacred right, the right to return.” Brzezinski prophesied that whoever rejected such a solution would be exposed to international pressure in order to acquiesce and accept it; he said: “If the offer is rejected by one side or by both sides, the United States will try to get the agreement of the UN Security Council to a framework to achieve such peace, and hence there will be international pressure exerted on the objecting side.”

Thus, the round of disagreement between Obama and Netanyahu has ended. It has ended in a way that satisfies Israel. What remains for the Arab ruler is to infer the meaning and significance of the new Israeli policy, and the meaning and significance of the new US political tactics. Such policies indicate wars; and whoever sees the indications of war and does not prepare for it is wrong. He should be prepared politically, economically, and militarily.

Bilal Hassen

Bilal Hassen is a renowned Palestinian writer and political analyst.

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