Requiem For Palestine (II): Can Gruyere Be A Solution?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Baher Kamal and Fareed Mahdy

Over six years ago, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair asked Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf: What can we (the West) do for you (Pakistan) to strengthen you position in the region? Musharraf replied: Solve the Palestinian problem!

Source: Al Jazeera

Four years later, former U.S. National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft (under George H. W. Bush 1989-1993 and previously Gerald Ford 1975-1977) appeared to hold a similar view.

Both Blair and Scowcroft rightly considered that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an indispensable step to take, in order to better deal with the other Great Middle East conflicts, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan included, not mentioning Central Asia in its whole. This solution consists of creating a Palestinian State.

Nothing new so far. 62 years ago, the United Nations formally announced the creation of the State of Israel, while officially establishing the right of Palestinians to set up a sovereign State.

Everybody Knows That, But…

Therefore, everybody from the UN to regional leaders and laymen did know that this was –and still is– the right thing to do.

Everybody knew that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the most efficient and shortest way to reduce tensions, fanaticisms, the power of war lords (Muslim and other religious extremists, war industry, ruling ideologies), terrorism and wars on terrorism, which have led nowhere, except to smash more and more civil rights everywhere.

Talk, Just Talk!

There has been one side, however, that has consistently insisted in reversing the equation. Under both George W. Bush’s administration and now Barack Obama’s, Tel Aviv has been advocating, for the immediate future, a policy that would involve: first attack Syria and Iran, and then talk about a Palestinian State. Talk about it, mind you, just talk!

President Obama has a difficult task: how to persuade Tel Aviv that the two-state solution (Israel and Palestine) is becoming a political must to disarm Iranian influence and, by the way, the uncontrolled power of all kinds of fanaticisms.

But even if Obama succeeded, the two-state solution would be neither viable nor efficient – it would most probably lead to more tensions and wars. Not because of the two-state principle itself, but due to the idea that USA and Israel, and Europe of course, have about such Palestinian State.

A State Full Of Holes

Their idea is to give the Palestinians a Gruyere cheese State, full of holes. These holes consist in Israel keeping its settlements, spread everywhere in the West Bank, surrounding them with security areas, linking them with each other, and all of them with Israel through security corridors. Israel would also take from the West Bank and Gaza, several pieces of land that it deems necessary to ensure its security.

The point is that in Israel’s perception security is much too wide a concept. It includes protection against eventual attacks, water safety by controlling all current and future sources, ground and underground, agricultural production by taking the best fertile arable lands, and of course keeping its full war nuclear stock intact while not allowing any other country in the region to fall prey to any nuclear temptation.

The Whole ‘State’ Under Irony Control

All this against a fully demilitarised Palestinian State, with Israel controlling its roads, ports and airports, and all kind of communications – to ensure the security of Israel. This perception of security includes giving up no lands, not allowing Jerusalem to become the capital of an eventual Palestinian State, and not permitting the Palestinian refugees and exiles –the Palestinian Diaspora –to return to their lands.

The idea is to create a Palestinian State with no sovereignty, demilitarised, surrounded and cut off by ‘Berlin’ walls, divided in bits and pieces, cut off from the outside world, disconnected in its interior by security corridors and foreign checkpoints, with no control over its land, air or sea, with whatever is left of water and fertile lands, and without the right for Palestinians to return.

Who Cares About UN Resolutions?

This has nothing to do with the decisions taken by the international community, through the UN and its Security Council, starting with resolution 242 in 1976, which orders the withdrawal of Israel from the territories it occupied in June that same year.

Nothing to do with the Camp David agreement sealed three decades ago by Jimmy Carter, Anuar El Sadat and Menahim Begin, nor with the Oslo Conference, the Madrid Conference, the second Camp David, etc.

Let alone the 2002 Arab Initiative, which establishes full recognition of Israel by all Arabs, the ceasing of all kinds of hostility, and the formalisation and normalisation of relations with it.

In other words, everything that Israel has historically claimed, in exchange of Israeli withdrawal from the 1967 occupied territories, to create a fully sovereign Palestinian State on them as agreed.

The HAMAS Factor

Four years after the adoption of this Arab Initiative, and under pressure from the international community, the Palestinians went to the polls in 2006. They elected HAMAS as their representative.

This has been the result of clean elections as certified by all international field observers. But the U.S., Israel, and the EU rejected the Palestinian peoples democratic choice.

To reverse it, Israel imposed a hermetic siege around Gaza, closed all access to it, and blocked the provision of food, medicines, fuel and other necessities of life – under the eyes of the EU observers.

The goal was to strangulate HAMAS. But after a siege of 18 months, HAMAS was not strangulated. It was then that Tel Aviv opted for punishing, collectively, all civilians in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Tel Aviv has increased pressures to attack Iran and its nuclear facilities, and to postpone the solution of the Palestinian problem to a later stage.

The fact is that so far HAMAS remains there and Iran has not been attacked, France has been helping Syria to play a role, the ‘moderate’ Arab leaders have lost weight, the religious backed rightist forces have gained strength in Israel, Pakistan is far away from stability, and the Taliban in Afghanistan are still active.

More Questions


  • what if Obama succeeds in persuading Tel Aviv to get along with the proposed solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict in order to focus on Afghanistan as he claims?
  • In that case, everybody should expect a ‘Gruyere State’ to be declared and maybe also somehow implemented in one or two years. Would it be too little, too late?
  • Would this kind of unviable Palestinian State generate more tensions? Are not theses tensions what all parties really want?
  • Can the Arab totalitarian regimes survive without threats from outside, without an external ‘cause’ to defend?
  • Can the Israeli social fabric, made of multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-classist heterogeneous mosaic, survive without external enemies?
  • Can the riding political and religious fanaticisms –on all sides– afford loosing ground? 

Has  Obama taken all the above into account when he has just invited Israel and the Palestinians to sit down to talk? To talk for the sake of talking, only?

Not at all: the idea is to talk on condition that the Palestinian Authority forgets about its ongoing efforts to seek backing to its planned demand to the UN next September to formally recognise Palestine as an independent state.

And… supposing that the Palestinians will get back to talking, what would it be offered in exchange? A piece of gruyere as a state?

Read Requiem For Palestine-Part I:

Copyright © 2011 Human Wrongs Watch

This article can be republished, sourcing to Human Wrongs Watch

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