Palestine and peace


THE Trump decision to move the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem confirms the obvious. The US has no respect for international law, UN resolutions or international agreements. It has zero credibility as an honest broker anywhere. Its credibility is its power not its leadership. The clash of civilisations may have been intellectually debunked, but it is alive and well in American strategies that serve its ruling military-corporate-finance complex (MCFC.)

None of the above should hide the truth about the degraded state of the Muslim world today. So many of its rulers are in league with enemies of their own people! They conspire against their human and political development which they fear would challenge their arbitrary power.

Despite the salience of other crises in the Middle East, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the ‘mother’ crisis. Over the past seven decades, it has directly and indirectly inflamed the region, and in varying degrees, the whole Muslim world. Other crises in the region from time to time eclipse the Israeli-Palestinian issue in their savagery, bloodshed, and regional and international impact.

But without a just settlement of this mother issue, the people of the region will remain targets of increasingly barbaric and murderous assaults by the US and Israel; by their panicking monarchies and corrupt dictatorships; and by the terrorist reactions of radicalised and traumatised victims of domestic and external state terror. This hell for the Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims and other victims is a paradise for the American MCFC and their regional minions!

The US and its satellites are ensuring a century of more terrible state and non-state terrorism.

Israel has made it absolutely clear it will never allow a win-win peace settlement which would benefit both Israelis and Palestinians. With US and regional minion support, it is bent on a final solution in which the Palestinians will either be progressively expelled from Palestine or reduced to a meaningless and totally dependent existence in a few non-viable cantons separated from each other by ever-expanding Israeli settlements and corridors that cut the West Bank in pieces. Moreover, the West Bank will be permanently cut off from Gaza. Palestinians will be imprisoned between Israel and Egypt in Gaza, and between Israel and Jordan in the West Bank.

The Palestinians will never be allowed space to become an independent political community. Regular military assaults are expected to reconcile them to their hopeless situation. Those who refuse to be reconciled to a life of hell on earth will automatically qualify as terrorists to be taken care of through Global Assassination Programs (GAP) ie murder by drones and black-ops. This Israeli/US final solution is aided and abetted by regional flunkies.

Modi has a somewhat similar plan in mind for a final solution in India-held Kashmir. He has similar American support. Pakistan is entitled according to international law to assist a Kashmiri armed freedom struggle for the exercise of their UN-recognised rights which have been denied them by Indian occupation. This, of course, does not justify any support for acts of terror. However, there are other more effective options to explore to help the Kashmir cause including effective and relentless diplomacy, engaging with India for a settlement acceptable to Kashmiris, implementing Kashmir and India-Pakistan CBMs, making permanent a LoC ceasefire, increasing trade and other exchanges with India, etc.

The OIC is politically dysfunctional. But under President Erdogan’s leadership the Istanbul Summit made a new beginning. Saudi Arabia sent a lower-level representative. Sadly, along with Egypt it is in alliance with the US and Israel, ostensibly against Iran, but in effect against the Palestinians and the people of the entire region, including their own. Erdogan’s call for the formal recognition of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its occupied capital is an important step. He also called Trump’s provocation a “turning point” for the Muslim world. Unfortunately, the Muslim world today is of little use to itself as it is mostly governed by elites who fear the potential of their own people.

In a globalising world, the basic norms and obligations of international conduct which are enshrined in the UN Charter need to be universally practised. The West, including the US, prides itself on being a culture and civilisation that developed and embodied these “age of enlightenment” norms and obligations. But in a world overtaken by technology, power and greed, they no longer hold despite all the fine talk about the imperative of collectively overcoming the challenges of global survival.

The UN Charter was the world promising itself that the evil ideologies and policies that led to the indescribable horrors of two world wars and the Holocaust would never be repeated. The charter lies in tatters today. This is largely because of the policies of “the sole hyper-power”. Since the end of the Cold War, and particularly 9/11, UN peace-keeping, peace-restoring and peace-building operations have had some successes. But they have been rendered politically redundant where US military assaults and black operations have destroyed entire political societies.

While 9/11 was one of the most egregious acts of terror, it pales into insignificance compared to the state terror the US and its allies have unleashed upon the Muslim world since that fateful day. The latest Trump decision regarding Jerusalem threatens to open up an even more traumatic chapter for Muslims and other peoples of the world. India’s obduracy or political opportunism over Kashmir represents a similar threat, especially given the nuclear factor. Pakistan’s policies in support of a just Kashmir settlement must factor in these risks and realities.

In the name of counterterrorism and regional peace the US and its satellites are ensuring a century of more terrible state and non-state terrorism, ever more devastating conflicts, and human displacements on an unprecedented scale. There are powerful low lives that plan to profit from such an end-of-the-world prospect!

Solutions to dangerous issues, including Palestine and Kashmir, can only emerge from an international consensus in support of an overriding and enforceable commitment to uphold human dignity and human rights everywhere, without exception. A UN-centred new world order including an amended UN Charter is the 21st-century imperative.

The writer is a former ambassador to the US, India and China and head of UN missions in Iraq and Sudan.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2017