Commentary: There Must Be a Palestinian State!

February 27, 2006

by Michael Thorburn

The U.S.-Israeli aggressors are carrying out new attacks against the Palestinian people.

- On February 19, the Israeli army, using 30 armored vehicles and helicopter gunships, invaded the Balata refugee camp near Nablus. At least 5 Palestinians, including 2 children, have been killed and 50 wounded. The Israeli army raided Palestinian homes and arrested hundreds of people.

- On the same day, the Israeli cabinet voted to stop paying some $50 million/month collected as taxes by Israel and owed to the Palestinian Authority. Israel and the U.S. are also pressuring the international community to cut off assistance to Palestine.

- On February 18, as the new Palestinian parliament constituted itself, Israel stopped dozens of elected legislators from participating by confining them to the Gaza Strip. Israel is threatening a series of additional measures to further seal off Gaza and separate it from the rest of Palestine.

The U.S. and Israeli governments justify this new invasion, the killing, starving and besieging of Palestine, by saying that they don't like the newly elected Palestinian Authority. The U.S. government and the capitalist media are relentlessly slandering the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people as "terrorist." The Bush administration and Israel insist that before they will even talk with the new Palestinian Authority, it must: 1) recognize in perpetuity the state of Israel; 2) renounce resistance to Israeli occupation and aggression and 3) "respect" and "honor" previous agreements and treaties.

These demands follow the usual perverted logic of the U.S.-Israeli aggressors who blame their own crimes on their victims.

Let us begin by examining the issue of international treaties and agreements.

It is Israel and the U.S. who have shown utter contempt for every international agreement on the question of Palestine. Just to cite a few:

- the U.N. partition plan, which Israel cites as the legal basis of its existence as a state, was violated by Israel before it could even be implemented. In 1948, before the plan was put into effect, Israel declared its statehood and went to war to grab 80% of Palestine and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. The U.S. financed and directed this war.

- After the Israeli invasion and occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, UN resolution 242 demanded the immediate withdrawal of Israel. This resolution has been reaffirmed time and again. The U.S. government not only ignores this resolution but funds Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

- Dozens of U.N. resolutions, international protocols, and agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Israel demand an end to Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and the dismantling of existing settlements. Israel continues its settlement program and the U.S. government officially claims that Israel has the "right" to annex settlements in the West Bank.

In other words, the U.S. and Israel "honor" and "respect" nothing but their "right" to colonize Palestine, to terrorize and subjugate the people.

As for "recognizing the state of Israel," just which Israel are Palestinians supposed to "recognize?" Are they supposed to "recognize" the Israel of the U.N. partition plan which was to occupy 54% of the land of Palestine, or the Israel established through the 1948 war which occupied 80% of the land of Palestine? Or the Israel which since 1967 has maintained military rule over 100% of Palestine and established its settlements on 90% of the land. Or perhaps, the Palestinians and all Arab peoples have to "recognize" the Israel envisioned by the zionist movement and called for in various Knesset resolutions - the Israel which extends from the Nile river in Egypt to the Tigris and Euphrates?

Moreover, there is no sovereign Palestinian state which could "recognize" any Israel. It is not the "rights" of Israel which are being suppressed - it is not Israel which is without a state. It is the Palestinian people who are denied their inalienable right to their own state in their historic homeland. This is the issue which the whole world "recognizes" but which the U.S. and Israel refuse to resolve.

The reality which the Palestinian people recognize is that their rights and sovereignty can only be reclaimed through uncompromising struggle against the aggressive, colonial Israeli state and its sponsor U.S. imperialism.

It is the elementary democratic duty of every American to demand an immediate end to all U.S. aid and support for the aggressive Israeli state and to support the struggle of the Palestinian people for national salvation and liberation.