I am off to Baghdad on Sunday for an Arab League conference on Palestinian detainees held in Israel. This is part of my determination to devote more of my time to helping the Palestinian cause. It seems to me we are at a crucial point where the Palestinians are in genuine danger of an accelerated genocide, as Israeli intentions to annex Est Jerusalem and the West Bank become ever plainer.
In retrospect, my life has mostly been based on the idea that I may not be able to do much to help in a particular situation, but it is incumbent on me to try. So I am trying.
A “two state” solution has, from the start, been advanced in bad faith by promoters such as Blair and Bush, with the intention always that it would be a Bantustan solution. For those too young to recall, the grand plan of apartheid South Africa was that the black population would be corraled into a number of small regions which would become “independent states”.
I have said before that I am often pleasantly surprised by Sky News security correspondent Sam Kiley, who seems to get away with talking great sense by hiding behind a Ross Kemp style persona. A couple of days ago he reported from the West Bank that Israel was “moving towards an apartheid state”. There is no doubt that is true – even in Israel proper, there are over three hundred ethnically based Israeli laws prescribing different treatment for Jews and others, across almost every activity of the state. I fear Sam Kiley will not be on mainstream TV long – a tendency to tell the truth being career fatal.
Bibi’s desire to kill off the two state solution is a terrible, genocidal threat but strangely also an opportunity. Botha and De Klerk did not succeed, and Bibi may not either. I personally would have deplored a Bantustan based solution, with crammed and split Palestinian lands deprived of resources, water, communications and any hope of economic viability.
The ultimate solution must involve a proper single state in Israel/Palestine which is blind and fair in its laws to race and religion. That solution can ultimately bring security to the people of Israel, not based on their ability to kill or evict their neighbours and steal their land. The essentials of the agreement will have to be most people staying where they are – including most West Bank settlers – and very serious compensation to dispossessed Palestinians, with the settlements enlarged to become mixed communities.
On the Palestinian detainee question, for me it shows up yet again Israel’s extraordinary capacity for shameless sophistry in matters of international law. Israel justifies its naval blockade on the San Remo Convention, which is only applicable in times of armed conflict. Israel states that it is in a de facto permanent armed conflict. However it denies being in an armed conflict when it comes to its treatment of Palestinain detainees, captured outside Israel, who are not treated as prisoners of war. Both positions cannot be held simultaneously, but secure in the collusion of the West’s bought politicians, Israel does so.