Thursday, May 14, 2009

In Bethlehem, Pope Benedict XVI makes strongest call yet for a Palestinian homeland.

It used to be the case that those of us who argued for the need for a state of Palestine were seen as being on the far left of the political spectrum. We were almost portrayed as being friends of the suicide bomber.

Which only makes the distance which that particular political pendulum has swung all the more remarkable.

Today the pope made his strongest call yet for a "sovereign Palestinian homeland". He said mass in Bethlehem's Manger Square and offered his "solidarity" to the Palestinians of Gaza, telling them he wanted to see the Israeli blockade of the coastal strip lifted.

With the pope calling for a homeland, and even people like Bush calling for a Palestinian state, then it becomes really clear just how much Netanyahu is on the wrong side of history with his obstructionism.

The world is really tired of Israel's excuses. And, even Israeli leaders leaving office appear to find it impossible to keep up the charade.

"If God forbid, we procrastinate, we could lose support for a two-state solution," he said, referring to the creation of a Palestinian homeland alongside Israel, a concept at the foundation of U.S.-sponsored peace negotiations.

"The decision must be taken now, without hesitation, before ... the narrow window of opportunity to plant (that) solution in the consciousness of our people and the nations of the world vanishes in front of our eyes," Olmert said.

Olmert has said that failure to establish a Palestinian state could lead to pressure on Israel to agree to a binational state including the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in which a higher Arab birthrate would eventually ensure Jews became the minority.

He continued:
"If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Haaretz Wednesday, the day the Annapolis conference ended in an agreement to try to reach a Mideast peace settlement by the end of 2008.

"The Jewish organizations, which were our power base in America, will be the first to come out against us," Olmert said, "because they will say they cannot support a state that does not support democracy and equal voting rights for all its residents."
Should we ever get to the stage where a two state solution is impossible to implement, then Israel will have three choices; and none of them will be good ones. She can either (a) implement a full Apartheid system in which the Palestinians are citizens, but second class ones. Or (b) attempt to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians from the land. Or (c) grant the Palestinians full rights of citizenship and watch the Jewish state effectively disappear.

Those are the dreadful choices which Israel will eventually have to face if she does not grasp the nettle of peace now.

She cannot procrastinate forever. Even right wing popes appear to have worked this out by now.

Click title for full article.

No comments: