The international community is following with great concern the development of events in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, and Israel’s insistence on accusing the Palestinians of escalation.
As usual, the Israeli side is striving to hide the fact that the recent events were ignited because the Israeli authorities decided to prevent Palestinians from gathering at the Damascus Gate during the month of Ramadan.
It has also planned to expel hundreds of Palestinians from their homes in which they have lived for decades in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem, granting it to Jewish settlers instead.
This deliberate provocation by the Israeli authorities to the Palestinians cannot be separated from US President Joe Biden’s recent statements regarding a return to the two-state solution as a peaceful solution to support peace in the Middle East.
This is especially after the rejection outlined by the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the European Union (EU), and many countries worldwide, of the so-called “deal of the century”, as it is not in line with internationally agreed standards.
The two-state solution is the only viable option acceptable at the official Palestinian, Israeli, Arab, and international levels. However, on the ground, Israel is working according to a systematic plan to undermine the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state.
Israel is still continuing its efforts to transform the project of a Palestinian state into besieged cantons and isolated enclaves, with entry and exit gates under Israeli control. Unfortunately, and to a large extent, Israel has already managed to put many obstacles on the ground.
It is impossible to establish an independent, geographically connected, and sovereign Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with its capital being occupied East Jerusalem.
Israel has been able to do this through an elaborate scheme based on two main mechanisms. The first mechanism is to isolate East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, and undermine the possibilities of turning it into a prospective capital for the Palestinian state.
It did this by expelling 175,000 Palestinians outside the city through the Apartheid Wall, demolishing thousands of Palestinian homes. This, of course, is in addition to Israel’s deliberate attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to Judaize it. The second mechanism has been to intensify settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to impose new demographic facts on the ground.
Undoubtedly, the Israeli settlements and their Jewish settler population represent the most successful weapon in killing any glimmer of hope for the establishment of a geographically connected Palestinian state. There are at least 149 recognised settlements in the West Bank and more than 100 unrecognised outposts.
Israel also considers that about 60% of the West Bank lands are areas under Israel’s absolute security and administrative control. Moreover, Israel insists that the fertile Jordan Valley and the Palestinian water reservoir will be outside any future solution.
Thus, in light of the presence of about 600,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel guarantees that the establishment of a connected and sovereign Palestinian state will not be possible. There is nothing left for the Palestinian people except for the “ghettos” area, which is an intermittent area that represents less than 40% of the total area of the West Bank.
What is happening today in Palestine, the systematic attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, and the provocation of the feelings of the entire Islamic world, especially in the month of Ramadan and the Eid Al-Fitr celebrations, is nothing but the completion of the Israeli plan. This makes achieving the two-state solution an impossible solution on the ground, especially with the absolute American support for Israeli terrorism and Biden’s statements.
The latter are more provocative than the Israeli attacks, that Israel has the right to defend itself. Does Israel have the right to provoke the feelings of the Palestinians, violating holy sites, killing innocent people, establishing new settlements, and committing war crimes as it pleases?
Do not the Palestinians also have the right to defend themselves? Do not the Palestinians also have the right to have a secure, geographically connected, and sovereign state that is not interspersed with Israeli settlements?
How then does the US support the two-state solution while encouraging Israel to undermine the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state on the ground? How does the US call for peace in the Middle East and encourage the Israelis to escalate the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians at the same time? What is happening now to the Palestinians is the true test of the Biden administration, which claims it has come to defend human rights. Indeed, Palestinian lives matter.
Marwa El-Shinawy, PhD in American Theatre and member of the Higher Committee for the Cairo International Festival for Contemporary and Experimental Theatre