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April 11, 2002
What next?

By Hasan Abu Nimah


The Jordan Times
April 11, 2002

WHEN THE dust of the savage Israeli onslaught on the innocent civilian occupied Palestinians settles, if it does at all soon, a big question is likely to emerge: What next?

One possibility, probably a certainty, is that the "peace makers" will ignore the harsh lessons of this devastating war and quickly rush to the vicious cycle of futile "negotiations", which precipitated this mounting escalation in the first place.

Israel will undoubtedly insist on trading every meaningless step it may agree to take with further humiliating concessions from the Palestinian leadership. The Israelis will claim that they were not allowed to finish the job of destroying "terror" and dismantling the "terrorist" infrastructure and, therefore, the PNA will have to comply with endless new demands of arrests, weapons collection and dismantling of what they view as "terrorist" organisations.

In short, Israel will demand a comprehensive and total stripping of the Palestinians of any means of defending themselves, their very survival, and their legitimate struggle to achieve freedom from occupation.

Unquestionably, the US, which at the highest level has been regularly and repeatedly blaming Arafat for not condemning terror and stopping it, will endorse and support such Israeli positions, by putting further pressure on the Palestinian side. Should this be the case, and there are no indications that it should not, the region should brace itself for the next round of an even bloodier and more cruel war which may spread beyond the most pessimistic predictions.

The reality, which one hopes should be taken into very serious consideration particularly by the US administration, is that Israel is steadily destroying any chance for resuming the "peace process" or the little left of it.

The Israelis have been arrogantly and recklessly demonstrating utter contempt for international law, world opinion, human dignity and even the peace which they falsely claim they have been pursuing.

The ongoing Israeli attack on Palestinian refugee camps, towns and villages, and the use of the heaviest and most advanced military means against unarmed, occupied, besieged, impoverished, destitute Palestinians, have inflicted so much injustice, humiliation and destruction on Palestinian life and property that the return to the old, exhausted outdated methods would be wrong and counterproductive.

The Israelis have succeeded all along, with American support, in making a mockery of the so-called peace process. They have the ability to let negotiations drag on endlessly while, at the same time, they continue to create facts on the ground, committing illegitimate, outrageous atrocities against the rightful owners of the land.

Israel should not be allowed any longer to dictate the agenda and the substance of any future negotiations. It should not be permitted to continue with its deceit, its disrespect for agreed arrangements, and its despicable delaying tactics while continuing with the frenzied implementation of its Zionist colonialist aggressive project.

Israeli behaviour, all along, the savagery and the barbaric atrocities its army has been constantly committing, and the recent unprecedented war of destruction and racist genocide have deepened the wounds of hatred and distanced the chances of reconciliation and peace.

The task of dealing with the resulting damage requires much more than the fruitless effort to implement the Mitchell and Tenet understandings, in their original or amended forms, to suit the Israeli purposes.

The Palestinians have been hit hard and they may brace themselves for more. In addition to the physical and painful harm inflicted upon them by the Israeli warplanes, rockets and tanks, they have to cope with the deeper pain of a world ruled by hypocrisy, injustice and double standards.

Such a catastrophic tragedy would leave no Palestinians in the mood for anything less than a direct and daring jump to tackle the problem. If peace is to prevail, if violence is to end, and if the Israelis will get the security they want, then the occupation should go, the settlements, all the settlements, should go, the refugee problem should be resolved and the Palestinians should determine their future on their own.

Any attempt to deal with this historic conflict short of that will only prolong the agony and the war.

The writer is former ambassador and permanent representative of Jordan to the UN. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times www.jordantimes.com.

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