“Return the refugees and you end the conflict”
“The essential problem that has not been solved is the dispossession of the Palestinian people. And you put it right by returning them to the land they came from. That is how you end the conflict. … What we are talking about is one state. The only and the ultimate aim has to be to return Palestine to what it was. Palestine was one state and we want that to happen again, and we are against dividing up our homeland and our country”, Ghada Karmi forcefully told the Ongoing Nakba conference in London, Jan 15.
Instead what do we have, she asked. We have an unending peace process, based on the idea of two states, of partitioning Palestine into two parts. At the start back in 1974 it was seen by the PLO as a first step to reclaiming the whole, and in 1988 at Algiers the PLO declared the existence of a Palestinian state, and the Oslo agreement set out steps towards a two state solution. And at that point the world weighed in, so there is today an international consensus for two states.
If you are asking “whatever happened to the refugees in the two state idea”, the answer is that in essence there is no solution for the refugees.
What people are not facing up to on the governmental level is that there is no two state solution, that it is not possible to have a two state solution. Israel has virtually created one territory, in which there are Palestinian islands. The official Arab position on the two state solution cannot happen. That position is that there should be a state on all the 1967 territories (with some modification of the border) with East Jerusalem as its capital and a “just solution for the refugees”
That cannot happen. We have to stop talking about it, because nobody will make Israel withdraw all its colonies, nobody will make Israel give up East Jerusalem. That is the reality. The only power on earth that could have done that is the US, and it’s not going to happen.. And the plan for the declaration of a state might move the argument on a bit, but the argument remains the same. It’s about partition, it’s about two states.
The Palestinians in reality have only two options. One is to accept whatever they can get out of the US, EU and Israel. That’s the reality of big power politics. The only other option we have is to say right, enough of this, let us go back to the roots of this problem which are about the dispossession and the theft of a whole country, the fact that the thief has been allowed to get away with it and that the thief is still stealing, and the only way to put that right is on the basis not of bits of land post 1967 but the return of the people back to their homeland.
This will achieve three things. One, return the dispossessed; two, restore the norms of justice and international law, and three, end the existence of zionism which has done nothing but damage our region and threaten world peace
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