By Majdi Khaldi
Senior Diplomatic Advisor to Palestinian President
RAMALLAH, Saturday, October 17, 2020 (WAFA) - When you ask any Israeli government official or diplomat about the borders and map of the State of Israel, surely you will not get a clear answer. Successive Israeli governments, backed up by the Zionist movement worldwide, have ambitions to gain control of most of the occupied Palestinian territory, far exceeding the armistice lines of 1949.
Israel is carrying out this enterprise by strategically confiscating C classified areas amounting to 60% of the West Bank, in addition to its complete control over the city of East Jerusalem, which has been occupied since 1967, and keeping the Gaza Strip separate from the distant Palestinian cities and villages in the West Bank.
The announcement by the Israeli government, on the day of the ratification by the Israeli Knesset of normalization agreements with Arab countries, of the plan to build five thousand new settlement units, and the statements of its Prime Minister and his Cabinet Members that the land- for peace formula has fallen, and that an independent Palestinian State will not be established alongside the State of Israel, and that unified Jerusalem, with all its sanctities, will remain fully united under Israeli sovereignty, is the best evidence of the occupation state's determination to go ahead with its colonial plans, as it no longer fears anyone and acts as an authority above international law, because it is simply not afraid of the consequences, but rather gets rewards through “opening doors” to it in some countries of the world, and some Arab countries respond to it by establishing normalization relations under pretexts, all of which are not convincing.
Israel's continuation of settlement and annexation plans will inevitably undermine the two-state solution according to the 1967 borders, and will lead to the one-state reality under an apartheid regime, which will not bring security, peace and stability to the Middle East and the world.
The pretext of Israel, which has a nuclear arsenal, F-35 aircrafts, and other modern types of weapons that it will not withdraw from the Palestinian areas in the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, which is about a quarter of the area of the West Bank, under the false pretext of security, is aimed at maintaining its occupation and continuing its settlement program and annexation plans that it has not abandoned.
If Israel is not stopped and obligated to conclude a peace agreement with the State of Palestine on the basis of the 1967 borders in accordance with the two-state solution and international legitimacy decisions, then its expansionist ambitions at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian people and the occupied Palestinian land will not stop, but will extend to the extent of extending its influence and control to its neighboring states under its dream of a “Greater Israel”.
But the bigger question remains: What can be done to oblige Israel to respect international legitimacy and international law to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, at a time when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is showing the Palestinians' willingness for serious negotiations on the basis of international legitimacy, and has invited the Secretary-General of the United Nations to organize an international peace conference early next year? The answer to what can be done consists of several points:
All states have to affirm that the two-state solution is based on the 1967 borders in accordance with international legitimacy and international law, and that Israel must withdraw from all occupied Palestinian lands, including East Jerusalem and not accept settlements and annexation plans, and affirm that this is the only way to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Second, world countries must refrain from concluding any agreement that involves any portion of the Palestinian occupied territory since 1967 and a special clause to confirm this must be added in any agreement.
Linking the development of relations with Israel to the extent of its commitment to international law, and that violating this will have consequences or a reduction in the level of relations.
As a matter of justice and preserving the two-state solution, the states that recognize Israel and have not yet recognized the State of Palestine, should recognize the Palestinian State on the basis of the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in order to preserve what remains of a slight chance to reach the existing just and comprehensive peace based on the international legitimacy and international law, in a manner that guarantees security, stability and peace for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, the region and the whole world.
Finally, in order to erase the Sykes-Picot and Balfour Declaration stigma and put an end to Jewish emigration to Palestine and Palestinian expulsion from their homeland, countries who have been directly or indirectly responsible for that stigma must voluntarily assist the Palestinian people to obtain their right for self-determination. These countries must as well recognize the State of Palestine on pre-June 1967 borders and find a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem that has been in existence for more than 72 years, in accordance with international legitimacy.
The Palestinian cause is a just cause, and for this reason, it has gained international support since its inception. Several UN resolutions have been issued in its favor awaiting implementation. We need to build on the brave voices that have stood with justice, freedom and peace, and denounced the Israeli practices, including the Israeli annexation plan. Those voices have unequivocally called upon Israel to abide by international legitimacy as a foundation for resolving the Palestine-Israeli conflict.
The voices include that of the EU calling for the two-state solution and labeling Israeli settlement products. There is also the voice of the brave Indonesian government that based its relations with Australia on the latter’s decision whether to move its embassy to occupied Jerusalem.
In addition, we have the statement of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan calling for the establishment of relations with Israel based on the level of Israel’s commitment to the realization of peace. Moreover, there is the article of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in which he calls on Israel to refrain from the annexation process because it contradicts international legitimacy. Furthermore, there is the decision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to name the Dhahran summit the “Jerusalem Summit”, and the Algerian President Abdel Majid Taboun strong stance rejecting all forms of normalization with Israel and reaffirmed his support to the Palestinian people.
Lastly, the EU, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the African Union, the Non-Aligned Movement, China, Russia, Japan, India, Egypt, South Africa and other major countries have supported and called for the implementation of UN resolutions in order to speed up the realization of peace and grant the Palestinian people their right to freedom, independence and self-determination.
Within the same context, we would like to caution countries, eminent personalities, students and business people who are invited to take part in conferences or open offices in the city of Jerusalem, to be aware lest they become partners with the Israeli occupying forces in their plans for annexation and illegal practices. In this context, it is possible to build on many positive models that stand firmly for justice, truth and freedom.
Currently, the entire world is unified in its fight against global warming. International decisions and warnings have been issued to limit heat emissions and mobilize efforts to measure international performance in order to preserve our planet. The same kind of measurement can be carried out with regard to the implementation of international law and concerning the Palestinian just cause that has been victim of historical injustice, distortion and falsification of factual narrative.
Accordingly, if serious steps are not taken and energies are not mobilized to stop the occupation from continuing its incursion on the Palestinian people, and its violation of international law we might reach a catastrophe the results of which can be devastating.
Therefore, we need to make up for the lost time. Unless we take collective measures to stop Israel, demand an end to its occupation and draw up its borders with the State of Palestine, there will be disastrous consequences on the international theater and not only on the Middle East.
There are 13 million Palestinians around the world of whom 5 million suffer under the fire of the Israeli military forces, while the rest are refugees or are living in the diaspora, dreaming of the time when their flights would land them at the airport of their country and their hearts beat with hope for peace and freedom like all other nations in the world.