The Crushing of Palestinian Daily Lives_ the Road to 'Peace' or the Road to Hell?

By Silvia Sweidan

June 3, 2003

Is Mr. Bush's complete unawareness and naivety of history and the Palestinian Question of help to the new “peace” process? According to the Guardian UK, 'during a private meeting recounted on June 2,  by the Washington Post, Mr. Sharon told the president he was a "man of peace and security", to which Mr. Bush replied: "I know you are a man of security ... I want you to work harder on the peace part."'

The two State terrorists are being bashful in debating who is more of a "man of security" and who is more of a "man of peace." Yet, they’re both choosing to forget that as a reaction to the previous peace process in Oslo, Camp David, and Taba and due to the excruciating state terror, 2,250 Palestinians and 760 Israelis have been killed since the second Intifada_ started in October of 2000_ and that the reality of the Palestinian people under occupation is a lived daily reality.

One would think the United States and other Quartet members would have learned their lesson, through painful experience, that human rights standards (as declared by United Nation Resolutions 194, 242, and 338) must be placed as a priority on the agenda of the ‘”peace” process. However, the two words: “human rights” have not even been mentioned in the most recent Road Map “peace” negotiations.

The Palestinians go about living their daily 'normal' lives under a 35 year old illegal occupation, while scampering in sub-humane conditions over dirt piles, surrounded by barbed wire and a crushed economy and infrastructure, often under 24 hr curfew, with over 230 check points and endless road blocks. Meanwhile, a group of Arab leaders [Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen)], headed by their new hero Bush II go about meeting in a beautiful Red Sea resort in Egypt’s SHARM EL-SHEIK, shaking hands and smiling over the new plot for the Middle East: the road map.

Under the road map 'peace' agreement, the United States, the Arab leaders in the region, Sharon and his administration order the Palestinians to cease all resistance under the umbrella of 'fighting terrorism' to ensure Israel's security. In exchange, Israel would start dismantling some illegal settlements. The end goal is to establish a Palestinian state by May 2005 existing side by side next to a secure “terror free” Israel.

In reality, ALL of the OVER 300 settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and 26 in Gaza are illegal military outposts of Israel. The settlements are cancer that continues to grow and spread at a rapid rate among the Palestinian people. Its sole purpose is to permit Israel to consolidate, control and claim all Occupied Palestinian Territory as its own.

Additionally, today, one of the "roads map" being built is a wall in Qalqiliya, Palestine. It is a concrete fortress in the terraced hills around Bethlehem and is expected to be at least 360 kms long (3X's as long and twice as high as the Berlin Wall). Under the expansion plan, it will reach over 700 kms, completely encircling the West Bank. At least 36 communities (72,200 Palestinians) will be walled off from their farmland and means of financial support. The harm to the farming sector is liable to have drastic economic effects on the residents and drive even more families into poverty. Assuming the Wall's completion as planned, the results will be devastating to the people of Palestine.

With a complete blindness to the reality of Palestinian daily lives from daily curfews and closures to the lack of daily subsistence (including lack of food, water, and work) and the ongoing state terror, Bush and Sharon, with the support of their Arabic puppets, assume that the Palestinian resistance to the occupation must be crushed completely as a pre-condition to the road to 'peace.'

In the official pretext of the road map, the process of annihilating Palestinian resistance and the dismantling of illegal settlements must advance simultaneously. In reality, with Bush’s support, according to Sharon, all Palestinian resistance must be annihilated even before the dismantling of any illegal Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories.

The 7- year history of the previous peace process left me most pessimistic. Therefore, we are yet to see the reality of the latest process. We are yet to see how words on paper (see the Declaration of Principles) remain of utmost contradiction to the realities of Palestinian people!

For the most part, effective international monitoring can strengthen a transition process towards justice and eventually real peace. Hanny Megally, Executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch said, “Instead, they’ve [the USA, UN, EU, Russia, and most recently a number of Arab leaders] left them [UN Resolutions and human rights laws] out almost entirely. Unless this gap is remedied, the whole plan is much more likely to fail.” And unless Bush W. and Sharon, the two "peace" and "security" leaders, start addressing issues of justice and human rights, the ugly reality of 'violence in the Middle East' will remain prominent for both Palestinians and Israelis.