Palestinsk stat 4. mai?

Knut Rognes (
Thu, 18 Mar 1999 17:18:16 +0100


her er noe om erklæringen av en palestinsk stat klippet fra Haaretz i dag.

Knut Rognes

Thursday, March 18, 1999
The Moloch state
By Amira Hass
While the U.S. and Europe are not leaving much doubt as to their opposition
to a declaration of Palestinian statehood on May 4, 1999, Yasser Arafat is
still keeping the world in suspense over his plans for that date.During
1998, his repeated promises to declare Palestinian independence once the
interim period ends forced the international community, including Oslo's
sponsors, to pay renewed attention to the limping, weary process that it
would rather leave in the hands of the Israelis and Palestinians. This
international attention is what moved Benjamin Netanyahu to embark on the
talks that led to the Wye memorandum. Two years earlier, another
Palestinian initiative forced the U.S. to force Netanyahu to complete the
Hebron agreement's implementation. Although it undermined the campaign for
Palestinian statehood, it was a blood-soaked initiative that followed the
Western Wall tunnel riots.
The Palestinian drive for statehood is limited to diplomatic channels,
precisely because, after the Hebron accord, people began to ask themselves
and to indirectly ask their leaders whether the blood of the 80 individuals
killed in the clashes with the IDF was worth this agreement, which was
custom-tailored to meet the demands of Hebron's Jewish residents, split
Palestinian Hebron into two, and did not force Israel to complete its
redeployment on the West Bank. The frozen Wye memorandum, at least, did not
arise from the homes of dozens of bereaved families, although its labor
pains in September 1997 involved the arrest of dozens of Islamic activists
who are still in prison cells in the Palestinian Authority and who have not
yet been put on trial. This tactical-diplomatic initiative had its own
logic: it was intended to prevent the peace process from stagnating in a
temporary-permanent state of affairs: a limited form of self-rule with few
land and water resources and little elbow room for an undefined period. But
right now, Israel and the world are primarily interested in the initiative
because they want to see how Netanyahu's electioneering will utilize it.
Apparently, if Arafat sticks by his decision and declares statehood on May
4, Netanyahu will use the opportunity to warn of the dangers of the
concessions of a "leftist" government to feed Palestinian "irredentism." If
Arafat postpones the declaration, the voters will be told that Netanyahu's
tough nationalist policies pay off.
Gassan Al-Hatib, a lecturer at Bir Zeit University and director of the
Jerusalem communications center, referred to this Catch-22 situation last
week at a conference organized in East Jerusalem by the women's network (an
umbrella group of a Palestinian women's organization and an Israeli
Beyond the mild fascination of the question who will win in the
international arena and how - that old tactical fox, Arafat, or that
television juggler, Netanyahu - it seems that the very possibility of a
declaration of statehood does not much interest the Palestinian public. As
far as it is concerned, a state already exists in nationalist terms - as an
ethnic entity whose components are expected to serve it (and serve the
leadership's very private interests) - and in terms of power - as a
political organization that has law enforcement agencies, such as security
agencies, taxation authorities, courts of law, and prisons, and which has
the authority to sentence someone to prison, hard labor and even death.
All that is missing is a state that can serve the interests of the
individual and the general good. Will international support for the
symbolic declaration of statehood lead the Palestinian public to a reality
in which it is transformed by a national ethos instead of carrying it on
their shoulders like a sledge hammer or like a Moloch that demands an
infinite number of human sacrifices?
If the answer to how the dream can be realized could be provided from
within, there would be no problem, relatively speaking (although
implementation would not be so simple). In that case, the Palestinian
people would have to go ahead with its task of educating its elite and
teach them the meaning of equality and human dignity.
But the answer is still in the hands of Israel, the sole sovereign power
west of the Jordan. The question being asked by the Palestinian public is
whether a declaration of independence would cancel, or at least reduce,
Israel's involvement in the day-to-day life of the individual Palestinian.
This involvement is regularly achieved, for example, through the imposition
of closure, which prevents not only entry to Israel but also any steady
link between Gaza and the West Bank that is both permanent and open. This
enables Israel to control 20 percent of Gaza and 70 percent of the West
Bank and to prevent the Palestinians from engaging in long-range
agricultural, urban, industrial, and commercial development or in the
long-range nurturing of their tourist attractions.
Israel also interferes through its settlements, which require security
arrangements such as IDF roadblocks in every city, sudden arrests, and
attempts to blackmail Palestinians into becoming collaborators. Israel
interferes through its control of border crossings, which limit Palestinian
trade with the world and prevents Palestinians from being reunited with
their families. Israeli interference creates constant uncertainty, which
affects every Palestinian individual and all of Palestinian society.
Will a ceremonial declaration of independence provide the Palestinians and
the world with something to persuade Israel - regardless of which party
forms the government - to forgo the license it has issued to itself in the
management of Palestinian life
© copyright 1999 Ha'aretz. All Rights Reserved