Over two hundred Palestinian academics and activists, supported by Israeli and Western colleagues, signed a statement urging the Israeli public to take a stand with them against the injustices which are being carried out by the Israeli government which they fear will lead to a further escalation of conflict and “perhaps even to war.”
“The stubborn and escalating use of Israel’s overwhelming military power in order to crush the current uprising and terrify the Palestinian people into submission shows a dangerous and willful refusal to address the underlying causes,” the statement said.
It added that under the pretext of the Oslo accord, Israel has witnessed an unprecedented expansion of settlements, almost double the settler population. The statement also said that the freedom of Palestinian movement has been severely curtailed, adding that settler violence against Palestinian communities continues without restraint while the Palestinian population itself has no physical, legal or political means of protecting itself.
Under the guise of the Oslo accord, the academics went on to say, the Israeli government under both Labor and Likud has been able to create a series of disconnected areas which are being identified as the emerging Palestine.
“The Israeli government has continued to imagine that given its massive military balance of force it would be able to impose its unjust vision of a final settlement and pretend that the conflict is resolved…..the delusion that a deeply unjust agreement can be made by Israel with President Yasser Arafat alone is profoundly shortsighted and has inevitably led to the critical situation that confronts us now.”
The statement also said that over the past few weeks, many of those who signed the statement were not holding stones or guns but instead were holding candles for those who died trying to make the world hear their plea about the injustices that were taking place on the ground.
“The naive and dangerous notion that Palestinians took to the streets following Yasser Arafat’s orders is not only an insult to our intelligence, but a clear sign of the lack of understanding of the reality in which we live.”
The signatories who included renowned physicians, researchers, professors, writers and journalists said that they believed there must be peace, but that it has to be just, equitable, and based on four basic principals:
1) Negotiations must be based on the principles that all the lands occupied by Israel in 1967 are, in fact, occupied territories and that peace will only be achieved by ending the occupation of these territories and thus enabling Palestinians to exercise their right to self-determination and sovereignty.
2) East Jerusalem is part of the Palestinians territories occupied by Israel in 1967. Consequently, a final settlement must include Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem and the commitment to Jerusalem as the recognized capital of two states.
3) Israel’s recognition of its responsibility in the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem in 1948 is a pre-requisite to finding a just and lasting resolution to the plight of the refugee in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions.
4) Both sides must recognize the spiritual and historical affinities of each other to sites and locations within their own borders and they must affirm and guarantee the access and protection of other people who visit these places within their own borders. But in neither case should the existence of such sites be used to advance extra-territorial claims to locations within each other’s borders. – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)