Palestine – the Engineered Disappearance of a Nation
While Israeli officials have always been keen to front a desire to achieve regional peace in the Levant by working together with the Palestinian Authority – PA – toward a political solution to the ever thorny issue which is the Palestinian dossier; Israel’s tantrum over Sweden’s decision to recognise Palestine as a sovereign state underscores its inherent hypocrisy.
If foreign powers and public opinion have felt so incline as to close their eyes to Israel’s ever-spiralling descent into genocidal darkness and fascism, let us all remember that the very cornerstone upon which Israel was built remains tainted with the blood of thousands of Palestinian men, women and children. It is difficult on such a basis to reconcile the atrocities committed on Nakba Day – May 15, 1948 – and Israel’s claims it wants to end the bloodbath – especially since Israel is doing much of the shooting.
Looking back at Israel’s long history of abuses and gross human rights violations against Palestinians, its imperious desire to disappear Palestine and its people, only to better re-write its history and finally claim moral righteousness, one can understand how “upsetting” Sweden’s decision to unclog Palestine’s legal status limbo might have been and how much of a betrayal it might have felt for a state used to getting exactly what it wants from the international community.
America’s darling could see crumble its entire house of cards at a point in time when it thought it had won already.
If Israel said to be “disappointed” by Sweden, so much so that Tel Aviv felt the need to summon Swedish Ambassador to Israel, Carl Magnus Nesser, to review the situation, it is evident that such disappointment is marring absolute fury. In an interesting comment to the press Aviv Shir-On, Israel Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general for Western Europe rationalized Tel Aviv’s objections to the idea of state recognition by alleging that such a move would “not contribute to the relations between Israel and the Palestinians, but in fact worsen them”.
He added, “The Swedish prime minister’s remarks diminish the chances of reaching an agreement, since they create among the Palestinians an unfeasible expectation of being able to reach their goal unilaterally and not through negotiations with Israel.”
Coming from a state which has based the legitimacy of its coming to political and institutional existence on the back of Zionists’ swords could come across as ironic if it wasn’t for the tragedy such narrative inherently carries. As expressed by Golda Meir in 1969, “”there is no such thing as Palestinians”.
There lies Israel’s truth, its very matrix, the cornerstone of its ideology – There can only be Israel; anything and anyone else is by definition irrelevant. Israel lives exclusively; it can only truly manifests itself wholly by the denial of the other, in this case Palestine.
Since 1948 Israel has based its narrative and its policies, both national and foreign, around the idea Palestine is but a figment of one’s imagination, a fallacy which Arab states and Palestinians have spun only to deny Jews the right of return to the Promised Land. It is this exact narrative of religious ego-centrism which has torn a once peaceful region apart; pitting faiths against each other through the promotion of war.
Israel now says that the Palestinians can only receive their promised state through direct negotiations and not through other diplomatic channels. But really it is implying that Palestinians’ fate is tied to Israel’s will, or rather its heel.
Interestingly Israel Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu seconded Shir-On’s denunciation of Sweden’s move by refuting Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven’s logic that recognition would be a step towards resolving the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to coexist peacefully. Therefore, Sweden will recognise the state of Palestine,” Loefven said on Friday.
But since PM Netanyahu made already crystal clear back in July 2014 that there will never be a two states solution and no end to Israel’s supra-colonial control over Palestinian land, it should come to no surprise that his administration would oppose any attempt to legally assert Palestine as a potent and legitimate sovereign state.
Back in 2013 in his address to the nation, President Shimon Peres blurted before the world his rejection of Palestine as not only a state or even a nation but as an existing entity by emphatically noting, “I remember how it all began. The whole state of Israel is a millimetre of the whole Middle East. A statistical error, barren and disappointing land, swamps in the north, desert in the south, two lakes, one dead and an overrated river. No natural resource apart from malaria. There was nothing here. And we now have the best agriculture in the world? This is a miracle: a land built by people.”
There it is … “There was nothing here.” There is a great ideological evil in denying not only one people’s identity but its very existence. Such affirmation of Israel’ subversive nature was however completely lost on the international community, so immunize has the world become to Palestinians’ oppression and struggle.
In a report to Electronic Intifada, Ilan Pappe raised a key concept when he stated that Zionist Israel is attempting to solve its “cognitive dissonance,” by engineering the disappearance of Palestinians and thus ultimately the idea of Palestine as a state to reconcile with its belief system.
Zionist Israel will never agree to envision a Palestinian state as it would be negating its very nature, its core and to an extent its justification as an ideology. But where does this leave Palestine?
Palestine has been a disappearing state since 1948 when hundreds of thousands of its children were forcibly expulsed from their homes, stripped from their claim to a nation on account Zionists successfully brokered a deal with colonial Britain. Since, Palestinians have suffered a thousand humiliations, expulsions, unlawful land-grabbing, unwarranted arrest, detentions and tortures.
Palestine has almost become but an institutional memory. If not for the sheer resilience of its people, their stubborn determination to stand before tyranny and never abandon their national dream, Palestine would be no more.
For all its wars and cleansing policies Israel will forever fail to break Palestine’s resolve as this land and this people are much more than just flesh, blood and earth. Palestine has come to represent the very idea of independence and absolute defiance before oppression, the expression of one’s will before evil.
Catherine Shakdam is the Associate Director of the Beirut Center for Middle Eastern Studies and a political analyst specializing in radical movements, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.