The exit of Abbas need not be the end of the peace process. The onus is now on Israel. It MUST accept Arafat as the true representative of the Palestinian people and negotiate with them. That is the only way out.
Ultimately, it is the Palestinian people who will decide who leads them. Washington or Israel cannot and should not even try to select a representative for the Palestinians, which is what both Washington and its client state Israel are doing.
Arafat has remained the leader of the Palestinian people for so many decades because the Palestinian people want him there. The churlish behavior displayed by Israel’s current leadership of refusing to acknowledge Arafat’s position is a sign of a certain insecurity. The systematic Tarnishing of Arafat’s name and reputation as a “terrorist” by the US-Israel axis is seen in much of the democratic world for what it really is: the ‘normal’ blackening of personalities that accompanies all imperialist campaigns.
I ask why Arafat should be excluded from talks. Why is Israel seeking to push aside Arafat? Either it wants to create an un-surmountable roadblock in the peace process by making demands that the Palestinians cannot meet and thus refuse to make further concessions, or it wants to deal a blow to the Palestinian freedom struggle and continue its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. Same thing in the end!
Arafat’s alleged History is being trotted out as a reason for setting him aside. But ironically, a closer examination of the Israeli leadership, in particular the master criminal Ariel Sharon, would show that the Palestinians can make a equal if not stronger case to call for a dismissal of Ariel Sharon as a precondition to further talks.
Lets take a look at Ariel Sharons past. I am quoting excerpts from a number of books on Israel’s history that I picked up from the local British Council Library.
The name of Ariel Sharon first comes out in an incident in a village called Qibya way back in 1953, where his platoon and he himself won decorations for the “heroic” task of burning down over 45 houses and butchering over 69 innocent civilians, half of them women and children. Even a brief glance at the tiny paragraph listing out the Qibya massacre is enough to send shivers down anybody’s spine as it amply describes the bestiality of the man who is today Israel’s Prime Minister. Looking at this particular incident, it wouldn’t be inappropriate to label Sharon as the “Butcher of Qibya”.
His name appears again in another essay called “Our Gods Cried”: a horrifying account of the mass murders in the Palestinian refugee camps in Sabra and Shatila masterminded personally by, guess who: Ariel Sharon!!
The latest abomination in a long list of his unforgivable crimes against humanity is the state sponsored mass murder of innocents, including women and newborn babies in the occupied Palestinian town of Jenin just last year.
Of course, apologists will bring forward a long list of Arafat’s ‘crimes’ as well, but that’s not my point. Both sides have behaved badly. And if the peace process has to be taken forward, then both sides have to unconditionally agree to come to the discussion table. The Palestinians must adopt a non-violent freedom struggle and give up terrorism. The American remote control over Israel is part of the problem, and hence America must be set aside if a solution has to be found. So Israel on its part must cut the apron strings tying it to America.
In any case America has been carrying out classic “Balance of Power” politics to ensure its influence in all regions of importance, and not just in the middle-east. Israel is part of American strategy in the Middle-East. Al the tax benefits given to Jewish charities operating in the US and the subsidizing of Israel is payment for a role that Israel has been playing to perfection since 1948. So resolving the issue completely is not in American interest. Nor is it in their interest to ensure victory of any one party. Hence the latest round of antics scripted to perfection by the US State Department: trying to appear neutral and all that, when it is clear as hell that they are not! Both Israel and Palestinian leaders have to curry favour with Washington. The sizable Jewish lobby in the US ensures that it will always be an unequal battle. Hence Israeli actions of demolitions is merely “Slum Clearance”, while any reactions from Palestinian freedom fighters is “terrorism”.
To solve the West-Asian problem, one has to go to the core. What is the source of this “problem”? A struggle of the kind that Palestinians have been relentlessly waging for the past half century would not have been sustained if the core issue had not been a denial of justice. It is for this reason that even the wholesale backing of Israel by the Americans has not managed to cow down the Palestinian people. So lets get this straight: There can be no peace without justice. And yet, it is precisely this:JUSTICE, that has ben singularly lacking in all the previous American attempts to force a solution down arab throats, whether it was Madrid, Washington, Oslo or Wye River. And does the latest “Roadmap” scripted by the tarnstalantic axis-of-evil of Bush-Blair do anything to resolve this core issue? Nopes. For all the verbal semantics, the Roadmap fails to address the core issue, and at the end of the road, the Palestine as proposed by Bush is lacking in all the attributes of a nation state. AT most it can be another version of Panchayati Raj as sen in Nepal (Village level self governance).
Hence even the roadmap wont solve the problems, because it does not address the core issue or indeed ANY of the issues affecting the Palestinians. What they are being offered is a moth-eaten Palestine, and warning: take it or leave it, because Israel has powerful allies! Not very helpful.
The only solution to the vexed West Asian problem is the one proposed by Jawaharlal Nehru: establish a federal DEMOCRATIC and SECULAR state on the Indian model with autonomous Jewish and Arab units each with local self government looking after all aspects of governance except defense and foreign affairs which could be administered by the federal government chosen from BOTH units on the British Westminster model as it is done in India.