Perpetuating Conflict

By Massad, Joseph | Harvard International Review, Winter 2006 | Go to article overview

Perpetuating Conflict


Massad, Joseph, Harvard International Review


In "From Geneva to Gaza: Implementing the Endgame Strategy of the Geneva Initiative" (Fall 2005), Daniel Levy wrote that the difference between the Geneva Initiative, of which he was a lead drafter, and previous solutions is that the Geneva Initiative offers a "comprehensive, bilaterally negotiated end game." The Initiative, however, has gone further in imposing an Israeli agenda on the Palestinians and on world Jewry.

The Oslo process transformed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from a liberation movement representing the entire Palestinian people into the Palestinian Authority (PA), representing one-third of Palestinians (those living in the West Bank and Gaza). Following US and Israeli designation, the PA refers to diaspora Palestinians as "refugees" and to Palestinian Israelis as "Israeli Arabs." Not only has the Geneva Initiative substantially reduced the Palestinian leadership's representative status of the Palestinian people, a status the United Nations ratified in 1974, but the Palestinian people themselves were reduced by two-thirds.

According to the Geneva Initiative, which insists on this exclusion, all the grievances of the excluded Palestinians are rendered void after Yasser Abed Rabbo signed the Initiative on behalf of the PLO, not the PA. This is how it works: the PA will no longer fight for the rights of diaspora Palestinians and Palestinian Israelis, but in temporarily reclaiming its former status as the PLO by having unofficial representatives sign the Geneva Initiative, it can surrender all their rights to gain some rights for the portion of the Palestinians it now claims as "the Palestinian people." To achieve this, the PA recognizes Israel's "right" to be a "Jewish" state, a right guaranteed by racist laws that discriminate against non-Jewish citizens, including the Law of Return (1950), Law of Absentee Property (1950), Law of the State's Property (1951), Law of Citizenship (1952), Status Law (1952), Israel Lands Administration Law (1960), and the Construction and Building Law (1965).

In the Geneva Initiative, the signatories affirm "that this agreement marks the recognition of the right of the Jewish people to statehood. …

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