/ / /

haGalil onLine -


Spenden Sie mit PayPal - schnell, kostenlos und sicher!

Search haGalil


Newsletter abonnieren
Bücher / Morascha

Koscher leben...

Aktiv gegen Nazi-Propaganda!
Jüdische Weisheit
Middle East Roundtable / Edition 39

A Palestinian View:
Nothing has changed

by Ghassan Khatib

It is one year since the late President Yasser Arafat died, and it may be instructive to take stock and see what has changed on the ground.

The short and most illuminating answer, of course, is that nothing much has changed. Palestinian demands vis-a-vis an over-all two-state solution remain exactly the same. That is not surprising, since these demands had nothing to do with Arafat, and everything to do with international law, justice, and plain common sense.

Agreement on these overarching issues, the Gaza disengagement notwithstanding, also remains as distant as when Arafat was alive. Again, this should come as a surprise to nobody since such agreement had little to do with Arafat, and everything to do with an Israeli refusal to abide by international law and legality. The West Bank including East Jerusalem is occupied territory that must form the backbone of an independent Palestinian state, yet Israel does everything in its power, as it did when Arafat was still alive, to render impossible the emergence of such a state and thus of a viable two-state solution. The most obvious and egregious Israeli measures to this end are Israel's continuing settlement expansion program, especially around Jerusalem, and the building of the separation wall, clearly in an attempt to unilaterally define future borders.

The one thing that has of course changed is the implementation of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. This is by no stretch of the imagination a complete withdrawal. Negotiators recently engaged in all-night sessions to determine the extent of Israeli involvement at Gaza's border with Egypt and ensure Palestinian control over a border for the first time. But Israeli control over sea- and air-space constitutes continued effective Israeli military control over the Strip. Nevertheless, the settlements are gone, and with them, much of the intrusive nature of the occupation that played such havoc in Gazans' lives. The Rafah agreement holds out hope for further improvement.

But, and again, this withdrawal had nothing to do with the passing of Arafat. It was a unilateral Israeli measure, and had been agreed, if not passed through the Israeli cabinet, long before Arafat died. It would have happened with or without him. Indeed, the unilateral nature of the disengagement is exactly the reason why negotiators recently had to work into the small hours.

A shaky ceasefire exists, one the Palestinian opposition factions agreed with President Mahmoud Abbas. But, just as with the unilateral hudna declared by the opposition factions in 2003 under Arafat's tenure, that ceasefire is being broken every day by Israel's continued assassination policy as well as the sweeping arrest campaigns targeting Palestinian activists in the West Bank. If it fails it will fail for the same reason that the 2003 hudna failed: because Israel won't allow it to continue.

In short, a year after Arafat little has changed. Internally there has, of course, been a change of leadership style and in the way things are done. That is hardly surprising after decades of rule by one very charismatic man whose position was unchallenged and who lived and survived through all the stages of the Palestinian national struggle. But the fact that nothing has changed regarding the overall conflict is instructive because it should, once and for all, give lie to the myth that has been propagated, mainly by Israel and propagandists for Israel, that the late president was the main obstacle to peace. If indeed Arafat had been the main obstacle to peace, we should have seen some progress by now. We haven't, and the reason ought to be obvious. The main obstacle to peace is, and always was, Israel's refusal to abide by international law, international legality, and international moral standards.- Published 14/11/2005 ©

Ghassan Khatib is coeditor of the bitterlemons family of internet publications. He is the Palestinian Authority minister of planning and has been a political analyst and media contact for many years. is an internet forum for an array of world perspectives on the Middle East and its specific concerns. It aspires to engender greater understanding about the Middle East region and open a new common space for world thinkers and political leaders to present their viewpoints and initiatives on the region. Editors Ghassan Khatib and Yossi Alpher can be reached at and, respectively. 18-11-2005

Werben in haGalil?
Ihre Anzeige hier!

Advertize in haGalil?
Your Ad here! ist kostenlos! Trotzdem: haGalil kostet Geld!

Die bei haGalil onLine und den angeschlossenen Domains veröffentlichten Texte spiegeln Meinungen und Kenntnisstand der jeweiligen Autoren.
Sie geben nicht unbedingt die Meinung der Herausgeber bzw. der Gesamtredaktion wieder.
haGalil onLine

haGalil - Postfach 900504 - D-81505 München

1995-2006 © haGalil onLine® bzw. den angeg. Rechteinhabern
Munich - Tel Aviv - All Rights Reserved