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50 Years After the Six-Day War: How to Make Peace in the Holy Land
Posted on Jun 4, 2017
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Fifty years ago, as the fog of the Six-Day War lifted and Israel celebrated its “miraculous” victory over Arab nations, a darker reality sank in. Israel’s military then dominated millions of Palestinians living on their own land. At the time, moral appeals within Israel and legal counsel in a secret Israeli Foreign Ministry memo warned of dire consequences if the occupation were not quickly abandoned.
Of course, the opposite happened. Year after year, thousands of Israelis, many who believed they were called by God, colonized the West Bank, threatening the dream of two populations living side by side in peace. The first Oslo Accord, signed in 1993 supposedly to facilitate a two-state solution, instead helped make one nearly impossible.
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● More than a dozen Jewish settlements now ring East Jerusalem, the would-be capital of an independent Palestinian state, virtually snuffing out the two-state dream.
● Sixty percent of the West Bank remains under Israel’s full military control, with hundreds of barriers forcing Palestinian families into increasingly isolated cantons.
● Israel essentially controls so-called Area A autonomous zones, with checkpoints at the entrances of most Palestinian towns, and frequent night raids take place, which the military implements with impunity. In one incident straight out of the Jim Crow South, soldiers took over a swimming pool in Area A, forcing Palestinians out of the water so settlers could take a dip.
Nearly all this has happened under Oslo’s derelict watch. The Oslo Declaration of Principles, which mentions security 12 times but never once independence, sovereignty, freedom or Palestine, was never designed to stop such expansion. Instead, it has facilitated it.
Fifty years after the end of the Six-Day War, the core problem remains Israel’s occupation, which has grown ever more oppressive since June 10, 1967.
So, what to do?
The reality on the ground in Israel/Palestine is already that of a single state, with sharply diverging sets of civil and human rights, depending on your nationality and (lack of) citizenship. Never mind that leaders and pundits from former Israeli prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak to John Kerry and journalist Tom Friedman have warned of the coming apartheid if Israel doesn’t solve its moral crisis of colonial land acquisition. The deed already is done, the “A” word already applies, and the situation is getting worse by the day.
For those who agree that some form of just peace is preferable to the status quo, here is a blueprint toward a durable solution in Israel and Palestine.
● Freeze settlement construction. Not a temporary halt; not a slowdown that allows for “natural growth.” A complete halt, now. Until that happens, no genuine solution will ever emerge.
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