MIFTAH
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Friday, 15 October. 2021
 
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy
 
 
 

All the signs are there. From Israel’s reaction to popular and peaceful Palestinian resistance tactics, to the platforms of Israeli candidates ahead of tomorrow’s parliamentary elections, the plan is clearer than it has ever been before: eliminate any chance of ever allowing for a Palestinian state, not only by taking as much land as possible but by walling out as many Palestinians as well.

Tomorrow, Israel will go to the polls and most likely reinstate Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu back in office. This is a bleak future for the Palestinians in particular, but not bleaker than the alternatives. If Netanyahu does not win (again, unlikely) who do we have to look forward to? Habayet Hayehuda’s (Jewish Home) Naftali Bennet who proposes that Israel annex Area C of the West Bank? Or Likud candidate Moshe Feiglin who so generously offered to pay each Palestinian in the West Bank half a million dollars to leave? Or perhaps Habayet Hayehuda’s Jeremy Gimpel, who in a speech in Florida in 2001 called for the explosion of the Dome of the Rock so it could be replaced by the Third Temple. Tempting choices, indeed.

Hence, it is fair to say that no matter which Israeli leader sits at the helm of government, it will not spell out anything good for Palestinians. There is not one candidate – even the so-called centrists – who aspire to make real peace with the Palestinians. Take Ehud Barak, now Israel’s defense minister but who was the Israeli leader negotiating at the Camp David II summit back in 2000 and who “almost made peace” with the Palestinians. Today, he is making no secret to his plans to wall off and keep out Palestinians from the so-called E1 area and thus, from Jerusalem. With a decision to close off an opening in the separation wall between Jerusalem and the settlement of Maaleh Adumim, Barak is effectively isolating the Palestinians of Al Zaayim neighborhood from Jerusalem and also from the area to be confiscated in the E1 corridor.

His move was most likely prompted by the newly adopted tactic in Palestinian popular resistance involving setting up ‘villages’ in Palestinian areas slated for settlement construction. The first of these villages, Bab Al Shams, was established in part of this E1 corridor of the West Bank. That was of course, torn down by Israeli forces. No sooner had that gone down then another village popped up, this time in Beit Iksa, northwest of Jerusalem. Tents and a makeshift mosque were erected with hundreds of activists digging their heels in the almost 500 dunam area of land that Israel now wants to steal for the sake of settlement expansion.

Of course, that too was demolished and its residents banished. Israel will have no sign of independent, creative and – yes dangerous – nonviolent actions that undermine its complete control over the occupied Palestinian territories. This initiative actually beat Israel to the punch, taking it by surprise with its innovation and creativity. Instead of the Palestinians reacting to an immediate Israeli action, this time Israel did all the reacting, which it implemented with full force.

The Palestinians are at a crossroads, to say the least. With Israel pushing as hard as it can to squash any initiative with even a hint of Palestinian independence, the Palestinian people and leadership must counter that with equal might. Israel’s long-term plans have always been clear even if they only lurked in the shadows at times, disguised by a smokescreen of ‘peace talk’, negotiations and agreements.

Now the smokescreens are all down. Israel’s right wing is nothing if it is not to the point. Netanyahu was brutally blunt when he said he would not dismantle settlements and continue to build in and outside the perimeters of Israel’s main settlement blocs once he is back in office. So, there are no illusions as to what tomorrow’s elections will bring. Israel and its leaders are clear in what they strive for and obviously will go to any lengths to achieve it. If we can learn anything from them, it is to muster up that same determination and strength to push right back.

Joharah Baker is a Writer for the Media and Information Department at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at mid@miftah.org.

 
 
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