Geneva Accords: A Bantustan Palestine
By Iqbal Jassat
Palestinians are in no mood for politicking. Neither are they in any way inclined to give serious consideration to charlatans posing as sympathetic benefactors. More importantly, given their long history of betrayal by Western governments and their lackeys, the Palestinians could justifiably argue that they are deeply suspicious of overtures packaged as groundbreaking.
The latest overture that has ignited vigorous debate within the camp of the Zionists and which has been swiftly dismissed by the Islamic Movement in Palestine, HAMAS, is known as Geneva Accords.
It has been described as the best peace deal on offer. Former U.S. presidents have embraced it, while other Western leaders are enthusiastically calling for wider global support. Rumor also has it that its unelected signatories are making travel arrangements to South Africa to seek Madibas endorsement.
On the other hand HAMAS views the accords as bondage and a new capitulation, citing the fact that it rescinds the right of return of millions of displaced Palestinian refugees and promises a state of Palestine which is no more than an unarmed protectorate.
Numerous other Palestinian groups have also condemned the accords. AL-AWDA, the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, has called on its members and supporters to reject the accords outright. They claim that the agreement reached between members of the Israeli opposition and a Palestinian delegation ignores the natural and historical rights of Palestinian refugees to return. That they also ignore United Nations resolutions, makes the accords a disastrous precedent and is therefore totally unacceptable.
Anti-Zionist Jewish human rights activists in Israel have also rejected the accords. Speaking from Moscow where he is delivering a series of seminars on Israeli apartheid, Dr Uri Davis has called on the international community not to endorse this negative document.
The author of numerous books critical of Zionist racism, Davis warns that the purpose of the Geneva Accords is to nullify all previous UN resolutions on the question of Palestine. He points out that Article 17 of the Draft stipulates including a final clause providing for a UN Security Council/UN General Assembly Resolution endorsing the agreement and superceding previous UN Resolutions.
He is certain that the accords will tear at the seams for the same reasons that brought about the demise of the Oslo Accords and the subsequent peace process. The primary cause for such a predicted demise according to Davis is represented by the failure to address the core issues of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, namely, the ethnic cleansing of the territories that came under the control of the Israeli army. This led to the razing of some 400 Palestinian rural and urban localities to the ground in the course of and subsequent to the 1948-49 war. This crime against humanity was underpinned with the apartheid legislation of pre-1967 Israel and the Defense [Emergency] Regulations of 1945 in the post 1967 occupied territories.
It is no coincidence that the choice of Switzerland as the venue for signing the accords, is the same country, which was the birthplace of the first international Zionist conference over a hundred years ago that launched the idea of establishing a homeland for Jews on the land of Palestine.
Hence it is imperative that South Africa reaffirms the inviolability of all outstanding UN Resolutions, which compel Israel to comply. In solidarity with Palestine we must be guided by values, which rejected the notion of apartheid-inspired Bantustans and join the teeming masses of Palestinians in renouncing the Geneva Accords as yet another sham.
Lest it be forgotten in the false euphoria: The Palestinian right to return is an inalienable, natural and historical right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The Geneva Convention and UN Resolution 194.
Iqbal Jassat is Chairman Of Media Review, An Advocacy Group Based In Pretoria, South Africa.
Media Review Network, December 3, 2003