The Palestinians desperately need to make progress on the route to independence. The Arab world and the international community have to be more forceful in supporting the need for a just and secure settlement under which the Palestinian state is recognised by Israel and takes its natural place in the community of nations. It is unfortunate that the world appears to have given up fighting for Palestinian rights, arguing that the split between Hamas and Fatah has destroyed both their credibility and their ability to move forward. Many argue that nothing can be done until the results of the US elections are known.
But this lack of action does not help the hapless people of Gaza, in a nominally independent enclave which nonetheless has been mercilessly harassed by Israel. The blockade is still in place, and this week, the ceasefire which has lasted for many months was broken. The Israeli Air Force pounded targets in the northern Gaza Strip following rocket fire on southern Israel, which was in response to clashes between Israeli police, right-wing Jewish activists and Muslim worshippers in occupied Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque compound.
Across the West Bank, Israel’s iniquitous wall is dividing communities and destroying lives. Israeli checkpoints throughout the nominally self-governing territories are designed to make life as hard as possible for the Palestinians. And the Israeli government is quietly waiting for an opportunity to re-impose its grip on the West Bank and find the “strategic depth” that its right-wing elements have sought for decades.
It is sad that the Netanyahu government has the initiative, and it is up to the Palestinians and their friends around the world to take it back. The Palestinians should not be frightened of claiming their natural place as a full member of the United Nations. They should not be swayed from seeking full sovereignty on their home territory. The Palestinians should be vigorous in exposing the racist and dangerously militaristic basis of the Zionist government in Israel.