The Answers Have Changed

Miko Peled

It is said of Albert Einstein that he gave a particular exam to a class that had already been given that exam. Alarmed at what he saw and thinking it to be the result of the professor’s absent-mindedness, an assistant warned Einstein of what he was about to do. The Professor just smiled and said: It’s alright the answers have changed. The same thing goes for the Israeli Palestinian conflict, the questions remain the same but now sixty years after the establishment of the Jewish State, the answers have changed.

Until about ten years ago the answer to the question of how to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East was clear: Allowing the Palestinians to establish a free, independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, alongside Israel. But this answer known as the “Two State Solution” belongs to a reality that no longer exists. Today, after 40 years of occupation the West Bank is riddled with settlements and highways designated for Jews only; Palestinians in the West bank and Gaza are imprisoned within a wall, impoverished and starved and there is no political will within Israel to partition the land of Israel and allow Palestinian independence — all of which indicate that clearly the answers have changed.

So what is the answer to this very difficult question? Ten million people reside between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Approximately 5.5 million Jewish Israelis and 4.5 million Palestinians, all ruled by the state of Israel, the Jewish State. The conditions under which Palestinians live range between being third class citizens within Israel, and living under a military occupation with no representation, no human rights and no civil rights. Clearly this cannot go on forever and at some point Israel will be forced to grant the Palestinians equal rights. What remains to be seen is whether this will come as a result of intense violence and bloodshed or a negotiated agreement.

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Mockery and deception continue

Hasan Abu Nimah

When Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas flew to Damascus last weekend to meet with Khaled Mishaal, the head of the Hamas politburo, he took with him many expectations. It was hoped that this meeting could put an end to the political infighting that has been going on ever since Abbas’ Fatah movement refused, with Western-backing, to accept the result of the elections one year ago that gave Hamas a sweeping majority of seats and the right to form a Cabinet.

With both parties nominally committed to a “national unity government”, it was also hoped that an agreement would put an end to the US-Israeli-EU siege and boycott of the Palestinian Authority that has brought an occupied people to unprecedented levels of suffering and misery. After a delay, resolved through Syrian mediation, Abbas and Mishaal did meet, but they did not achieve the sought-after agreement. Both committed themselves to further talks, and Mishaal reiterated Hamas’ position that it would not allow the Palestinians to be drawn into the civil war that their external enemies want and plan for them.

Why have repeated efforts to persuade the two conflicting Palestinian sides to agree on one political programme failed? The answer is simple: it is not possible to reconcile the irreconcilable; it is not possible to invent a formula that can easily disguise the significant aspects of two contradictory political programmes.

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Haaretz: “West Bank heart surgeon faces possible deportation from Israel”

Israel has no heart (pun was intended) when deporting one of the few practicing heart surgeons in the occupied West Bank. What possible reason could there be to deport a heart surgeon?

One of the few open-heart surgeons based in the occupied West Bank said on Saturday he had been detained at Israel’s airport and faced possible deportation.

After being detained for more than a day at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, Israel granted Dirgham Abu Ramadan, a German cardiologist of Palestinian origin, a one-week extension on his tourist visa and allowed him to enter the country.

“They told me I was allowed in for seven days during which I would either get a work permit or I leave the country,” Abu Ramadan told Reuters.

Abu Ramadan has performed surgeries at hospitals across the occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip for years. He said he has 270 surgeries scheduled in the coming months.

Mazen al-Shawa, general manager of the al-Mezan Hospital in the West Bank city of Hebron, said Abu Ramadan was scheduled to perform eight procedures on Saturday alone. “This is a very grave issue. He’s the only professional surgeon in the West Bank,” al-Shawa said.

Some Palestinians can receive treatment at Israeli hospitals but it is difficult to get permits and many cases have been refused.

Palestine: Testing Dilemmas

Maher Othman

The Palestinian scene is flooded with predicaments that seem insoluble any time soon, unless the concerned parties, which are Palestinian, Arab and international, are determined to avoid the eruption of Palestinian infighting and achieve a settlement for the Palestinian-Israeli struggle.

On the Palestinian front, there is still a failure from the dialogue to establish a national unity government that can work to lift the international political, economic and financial embargo. This leaves the door wide open to a resumption of violence that is in essence a struggle for power in the southern mini-quadrant. There are no occupation forces there, but it is instead surrounded by these forces, while there is armed chaos and poverty and tension that could explode, thanks to a single spark from the respective campaigns launched by both Hamas and Fatah.

It is absurd for the two sides to hide behind the slogans they repeat, such as Palestinian blood is a red line, and that national unity is a sacred objective and a state of affairs that must be maintained at any price, if actual practices of either of the two parties indicate otherwise.

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