If Not Now, When?

palestine land

We have a saying in Arabic that literally translates into “An unprotected property will encourage a thief.”

In this case the thief needs no encouragement. This is a particular thief, well-practiced, seasoned and used to getting away with ill-gotten gains. We are speaking of course of Israel. And most particularly about the current longest serving Prime Minister, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu. As for the unprotected property, I lay all the blame at the door of Hamas, the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, who while pretending to protect our land are actually playing a major part in its theft.

It is not easy for me to say this, but you only need to examine the amount of land that has been usurped by Israel and the amount of illegal settlements and outposts that were built on this stolen land since the Oslo Accord in 1993 and you might agree that the verdict must be ‘guilty as charged’.

As we all know, Mr Netanyahu and his coalition partner, namely General Gantz of The Blue and White centre right party, glued their coalition together on the premise that they will carry out further annexation of Palestinian land, namely the illegal settlements of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley which amounts to 30% of the land mass of what remains of Palestine.

As a result, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas declared over a week ago that: “The Palestine Liberation Organisation and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments… Those understandings”, he said, “include all security agreements.”

At a glance this means the abolition of the Oslo Accord agreements and since the Palestinian Authority was born of the Oslo Accord agreements does that mean that the Palestinian Authority is null and void?

I don’t want to be misunderstood here, I have been against any agreement with the occupier of our land that does not guarantee, in no uncertain terms, the rights of the Palestinian people, all the rights and all the Palestinian people who were displaced in 1948, 1967 and are being displaced now. I have called on Mr Abbas to dissolve the Palestinian Authority and put the burden of the occupation on the shoulders of the occupiers not on the occupied on many occasions. Is this at last the occasion where Mr Mahmoud Abbas will “hand over the keys of the Palestinian Authority” to any Israeli lieutenant that he comes across? That, of course, remains to be seen.

Mr Netanyahu, on his part, doubled down on his threat to annex the West Bank and the Jordan Valley at a meeting with his Likud partners.
“We have an opportunity that hasn’t existed since 1948 to apply sovereignty in a wise way and as a diplomatic step in Judea and Samaria, and we will not let this opportunity pass..We have a target date in July to apply sovereignty and we will not change it.”

Mr Abbas and his cohorts in Ramallah have presided over the West Bank, witnessing on a daily basis, Israeli Occupation Forces’ encroachment on Palestinian towns and villages, on Palestinian homes, on Palestinian mosques and churches, on on Palestinian media outlets. And, of course, the continuous and catastrophic assaults on Gaza. They even stopped his own Ministers and Prime Ministers at check-points and Mr Abbas did not bat an eyelid. So where is your authority, Mr Abbas? When you, personally, need a permit from the Israeli occupying force to travel about Palestine or when you cross the Jordan River to travel internationally, where is your authority, Mr Abbas?

According to Dr Hanan Ashrawi, the Israeli occupation forces have killed over 21 innocent Palestinian citizens since the beginning of this year. Two of which were murdered in cold blood in Jerusalem only this last week. One of them an autistic young man. Where is your authority, Mr Abbas?

In conclusion, I feel that all my optimism regarding the future of my beloved land and its people is in jeopardy. The international community is very busy with the corona virus pandemic and can only give us lip service. The United States of America is particularly busy with an economic war with China and with plans to attack Iran. Add to this toxic mix the historic opportunity that Mr Netanyahu was referring to which means the presidency of Mr Donald Trump. Even if by some miracle Mr Trump doesn’t win his second term, come November, Mr Biden has already declared his Zionist credentials and his love and support of Israel and Mr Netanyahu and the picture gets even more gloomy.

The Arabs? They are also involved in the corona virus pandemic, along with internal strife and divisions and the indifference to the fate of Palestine and the Palestinians. And there are rumours that those who matter, such as Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are actually in agreement over the annexation. The picture gets even gloomier.

The most gloomy of all is the realisation that despite the imminent danger to Palestine, the Palestinians and the sacred Palestinian Cause we do not see one micrometer of a move towards unity between Hamas and Fatah.

If not now, then when?

Jafar M Ramini is a Palestinian writer and political analyst, based in London, presently in Perth, Western Australia. He was born in Jenin in 1943 and was five years old when he and his family had to flee the terror of the Urgun and Stern gangs. Justice for the people of Palestine is a life-long commitment.



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