Sonja Karkar on Hanna Kawas

Below is an eloquent statement by a Palestinian living in Canada of what we should and should not expect Palestinians to recognise and acknowledge.

So often Palestinians and even those supporting them must make the declaration that they accept Israel’s right to exist as a state. Aside from the fact that no country other than Israel demands such recognition since states exist because of the formal recognition afforded them by other states – and in any case, international relations only acknowledge the rights of peoples not states – these are the very words that are holding the
Palestinians, particularly those in Gaza, to an impossible ransom.

Accepting that Israel exists in fact is one thing; demanding that one accepts its “right” to exist is quite another.

For the Palestinians to accept the “right to exist”, effectively means that they accept their own dispossession. Every policy and action undertaken by Israel since its establishment in 1948 is focused on creating an exclusively Jewish state in all of Palestine. Despite the 67 United Nations resolutions that have been passed acknowledging Palestinian rights, despite Israel flagrantly breaching international law and continuing to violate Palestinians and their property, despite the meticulously documented evidence of Palestinians having been massacred and terrorised into fleeing so Israel can appropriate their land, despite the voices of respected world figures exposing Israel’s apartheid practices, despite Jewish voices increasingly raised in protest against Israel’s racist policies, despite internationals risking and losing their own lives to help the Palestinians in non-violent acts of resistance, the Palestinians are staring at a future that refuses to recognise the gross injustices done to them, much less provide any protection for their existence: that is, if Israel has its way.

As long as Israel refuses to recognise Palestinian rights, and as long as international interlocutors insist on Israel’s “right to exist” over the rights of people, every attempt at negotiating peace will be doomed to failure. Isn’t it about time that the international community asks “what about the right of Palestinians to exist without discrimination in their own homeland?”

(Submitted by Ingrid b. Mork)

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