I am over at the Huffington Post and Common Dreams today, writing about tomorrow’s request from the Palestinian Authority that the State of Palestine be recognized as a member of the United Nations. Here’s an excerpt:
It has been 36 years since the UN adopted General Assembly Resolution 3379 condemning Zionism as a form of racism. It has been 30 since UN Resolution 36/226 was passed declaring opposition to the Israeli policy of settlement in Palestine. It has been 18 years since three leaders, Presidents Clinton, Yitzhak Rabin and Chairman Arafat began discussions that could have led to the cessation of hostilities and a modicum of redress for the people of Palestine. It has been 16 years since President Rabin was assassinated by one of his own people. For the record, the PLO agreed to the conditions negotiated by President Clinton pending clarifications. With Sharon’s visit to Al-Aqsa mosque and his election, that agreement was called off by both sides. It was Sharon, after all, who was responsible for the massacre of more than 800 Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps outside Beirut in 1982. An act which prompted his resignation as minister of Defense after an Israeli commission held him responsible. And it was Sharon who re-ignited the flames of hatred in Israel during a fragile moment when the prospect for peace had come into an albeit distant view.
Israel has a right to exist. Not because there is agreement that the foundation of that nation was right, but because time moves forward, not backwards. Unless we are thinking about returning all the national treasures plundered by the British Commonwealth from all the countries it colonized, unless we are talking about taking the influence of France out of the continent of Africa, unless we are discussing the return to pride of place for the Native Americans in the United States, unless we are at the table to discuss all these and more…….we cannot talk about an absence of the nation of Israel. What has been done, has been done. The task at hand is figuring out how close we can come to rectifying the injustices that have been perpetrated against the people of Palestine. How compensate them for the loss of land, homes, livelihood and children? For the very absence of what people in other countries call “childhood”? And how to accomplish all this while allowing Israelis the safe-conduct of their own lives.
Contrary to popular belief here in America, “the world” made no agreements with the Arab nations. Astonishing as it might seem, a collection of short-sighted officials from the United States, Britain and France, do not constitute the world. This moment is about Palestine and Israel. There are no “rebels” here. There are people who have been crushed by superior force and who must now figure out how to live beside and despite that force. This moment is about the inalienable right of the people of Palestine to self-determination, to freedom, and the re-establishment of normalcy to the lives of their children, within the context of reconstruction and reconciliation with a powerful, powerfully supported and certainly well-armed neighbor. This moment is also about laying the groundwork for allaying the fears of Israelis