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15 years ago, ‘IHT’ piece warned: failed peace process=’apartheid’

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Raji Sourani
Raji Sourani

Last night at Vassar College, Ali Abunimah stated how appalling it is that the mainstream media are jumping all over John Kerry’s “apartheid” statement without asking Palestinians how it looks to them. On the one hand it’s incredible that the elites are having this conversation, Abunimah said.

“But it’s a discussion they’re having with themselves and Israel and the Israel lobby…. The discussion would be a lot easier if you just asked Palestinians about this. But that’s something that’s forbidden.”

Blast from the past. The International Herald Tribune published this great op-ed by Raji Sourani of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in 1999, when the peace process had failed to deliver freedom to Palestinians after five years of promises. That was 15 years ago. And Sourani used the word apartheid repeatedly, and called on an American tradition of civil rights reforms.

The madness of using the peace process to foist apartheid upon us surely cannot be the will of the American people.

Notice that Sourani also bashed the unending settlement project. Time flies, huh?

At Oslo, our negotiators placed their hope in the negotiating process, but the rightness of their cause seemingly fell on deaf ears when the negotiator across the table lived on the stolen land of a Palestinian family long since displaced, and it seems, forgotten.

Despite the bitter path we have walked, those who know us find us to be a hospitable and welcoming people. We are worthy of better than to be demonized by members of Congress who have never visited us to observe the tragic consequences of years of occupation. We are worthy of better than for Representative John Lewis — a man who walked through hell on earth to speed his people’s day of freedom and self-determination — to tell us to hold on and wait still longer. We should wait on no one to claim what is rightfully ours.

Yet, so thoroughly have the parameters of the debate been shaped for us that even should we obtain all of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem we would only be securing 22 percent of historic Palestine. Any further settlement, or splintering of the West Bank will make a Palestinian state nonviable and will rekindle support for other solutions, including a binational state in which Palestinians would soon compose the majority.

To Mr. Lewis, other individual members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and to all congressional leaders and Americans of goodwill who spoke out against the grotesque consequences of apartheid, we beseech you to once again find your conscience and your voice. Generations of Palestinians have abhorred the “politics of dispossession” practiced by one American administration after another, but retain a fundamental confidence in the good sense of the American people to do right by oppressed peoples around the world. The madness of using the peace process to foist apartheid upon us surely cannot be the will of the American people.

The plans for a nonviable Palestinian state have left only two choices, Max Blumenthal said last night at Vassar: apartheid Israel, or plan for equality.

Update: I initially stated that Sourani’s piece ran in the New York Times. It is archived at the Times, but it appeared in the IHT.

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All signs say Israel has chosen to keep the status quo, which really leads to apartheid, and it is almost there. Many world leaders have stated that they can recognize apartheid policies when they see it, but when John Kerry said it aloud, oy vey, what outrage. It is a shame that no American has supported Kerry, whether his old colleagues in congress, the media, or even someone from the Obama administration. I guess they… Read more »

Re: “I initially stated that Sourani’s piece ran in the New York Times. It is archived at the Times, but it appeared in the IHT.”

Evidently “not fit to print” where Americans might read it.

Kind of off topic but the Boston Globe ran an article today portraying the Northeastern SJP as being contrite and agreeing to act better in the future in order to get un-suspended. Complete bullcrap

Great piece. The US Congress has foolishly rewarded Israel for growing the illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank, year after year after year.

Irregardless of how the Israels got to Palestine, they have the right to self rule, self determination as a people with a unique ethno-cultural identity distinct from the greater Arab Muslim world, much like the Tibetans in greater China, Dalai Lama: “With regard to a mutually-acceptable solution to the issue of Tibet, my position is very straightforward. I am not seeking independence. As I have said many times before, what I am seeking is for… Read more »