World must stand with Palestine against Israel

Netanyahu has been emboldened by US President Donald Trump. His administration has failed to offer a real peace deal in the Middle East.

By Christiane Waked (Regional Mix)

Published: Sat 14 Sep 2019, 9:22 PM

Last updated: Sat 14 Sep 2019, 11:23 PM

The strategy to prevent a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is becoming strikingly clear.
Once again, the Palestinians feel abandoned to fate after Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is struggling in his political life since various corruption scandals surfaced, shared his plan to annex large swathes of the Palestinian territories if he is re-elected.
Such a move could have a detrimental impact on Palestine. Living conditions for the Palestinians could deteriorate further, and feed into the fears of people, helping terrorist groups recruit new members and spread terror and chaos everywhere.
Netanyahu has been emboldened by US President Donald Trump. The US administration has failed to offer a real peace deal and is not interested in mediating anymore.
Earlier this year, the American President endorsed Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights in a tweet. Golan Heights is a plateau that Israel captured from Syria in 1967 and was annexed in 1981. Naturally, Israel welcomed Trump's tweet.
The present United States government has shown little care or concern for the Palestinian narrative, and their everyday struggle to live a decent life. There are no conversations about the problems of the people who have been living a refugee life in their own land.
Gaza Strip is one of the most populous places in the world. The living conditions are dismal and the youth see no future. They are frustrated and vent it out through acts of violence.
Israel has been blatantly remodelling the landscape of the region to promote Zionist agenda. Its aim is to erase Palestinian identity and history. From arbitrary arrests, destruction of houses, confiscation of lands to forced induction of colonies, the Palestinian culture is still being denied and annihilated.
A newly released UNCTAD report warned that the Israeli security measures could lead to the collapse of the Palestinian economy. The Israeli military operations, most of the time, leave the lands ravaged and Gaza farmers are denied access to 35 per cent of the enclave's fertile lands. Moreover, any change or adverse movement in this part of the land affects Lebanon and Jordan the most.
Over the years, a majority of the displaced Palestinians have sought refugee in neighbouring Arab countries such as Jordan and Lebanon and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while a few have fled to other countries.
Fifteen years of civil war in Lebanon was, in fact, triggered by an exodus of Palestinians into their territory. Around two million Palestinians live in Jordan and most of them were naturalised during the years, However, if Israel keeps pushing Palestinians away by making their life difficult, Jordan could see a new wave of refugees. The country is already battered by an influx of Syrian refugees (around 1.5 million) who fled violence in their country and made Jordan their new home. Amman is facing severe refugee fatigue as the country has strained its resources, utilities, and potential.
The US, meanwhile, has been pushing the Palestinians to the wall. The Palestine Authority no longer features among the list of Middle East countries on the US State Department's website. The Arab League has denounced this decision and also severely criticised Netanyahu's vows to annex Jordan Valley. But more must be done through diplomatic channels and high official meetings.
It is now or never to stand for Palestine before it is erased completely from the map. If we don't raise our voice today, all that would be left with us would be memories of Palestine. There will be mythologies, stories, and songs referring to Palestine, but no place for real because even history books will erase the chapter that talks about the land of olives.
Palestine's most loved poet, Mahmoud Darwish, had said: "If the olive trees knew the hands that planted them, their oil would become tears."
Christiane Waked is a political analyst based in Beirut

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