Palestinian death of the Oslo Accords

    Home Demolitions in Tuba, West Bank
    8.26.2016 | Demolitions in Um al-Khair, West Bank
    Cody O’Rourke
    Much ink has been spilled eulogizing the death of the Oslo Accords lately. It’s been easy work for critics. They just dust off last year’s work, update the numbers of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to seven hundred thousand. They take a few moments to creatively rewrite last year’s paragraph on how Israeli policies continue to methodically work to retain control over as much of the land’s natural resources as possible. To find a different tone, they might point out that Israel’s land and resource control policies have necessitated pushing Palestinians into heavily guarded ethnic enclaves. As they have for the last decade, they allude to the fact that the permanency of the Israeli landscape across the West Bank has made the emergence of a viable contiguous Palestinian state an impossibility. The repetitive exercise of explaining how the Oslo Accords have served as little more than a mechanism to colonize East Jerusalem and the West Bank has become nauseating. Because more than what has already been mentioned, we have now have to accept that supporting the Oslo framework is also advocating for the continual suppression of Palestinian and minority rights. We are at the point where, when someone affirms the notion of Oslo being dead, we must say, “Ok then. Now what?”

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    It is time that we collectively move forward with a campaign that demands legal equality for all people, and justice for those whose lives have been irreversibly impacted by the century-long colonization project. It is easy to get confused and distracted by the cacophony of political rhetoric around the best way to move forward in this effort. I try to remind others wading through this rhetoric that those doing the real work of ushering in a system of equality–one that addresses the historical injustices–are quick to point out that the few who still trumpet the prospects of a Two-State Solution are either those whose funding comes from countries or organizations with mandates that programming fits within the Oslo framework (such as the United States or countries in the European Union), or those who still believe there is a moral space for perpetuating an ethnocracy at the expense of ethnic and religious minorities.
    In a recent piece, the executive directors of Holy Land Trust and Nonviolence International, Sami Awad and Michael Beer, outlined several legitimate reasons why the call for an alternative One-State Solution hasn’t been pushed forward either by the Palestinian community or by the international regime.
    “The delusion of a traditional two-state solution by well-meaning people lives on for a number of historic reasons:
    1) Palestinian economic and political elites are dependent on the two-state solution framework in order to maintain what little they gained from the Oslo peace process;
    2) Many Israelis and supporters prefer a two-state option precisely because it addresses the demographic fear and allows for maintenance of a majority Jewish Zionist nation-state that they can claim to be a democracy;
    3)The United Nation’s 1948 mandate, international law, and many governments support a two-state solution;
    4)The supposed lack of an easy one-state or other solution.”
    These are important considerations to take into account, particularly within the context that the movement must be “Palestinian led.” What Sami Awad, a Palestinian himself, has stated is that there is large, powerful section of Palestinian society whose standing in society is premised on the continuation of the Two-State Solution and that advocating for change will challenge their power. As such, we have to take into account whose voices are advocating for what and more importantly, why.
    As individuals and organizations, this is an important conversation to have, because the end game and how to envision the future of peace and justice will determine our ongoing initiatives and programs.
    Updates from the ground.
    We have been spending time on the ground in Khan al-Ahmar to stand in solidarity with the community that is now facing imminent demolition orders and eviction from their lands. They could face an Israeli military assault on their community by the beginning of October.
    Eid Hathaleen, a core member of the Good Shepherd Collective, is currently traveling in Brussels as part of a human rights delegation to discuss recent developments in the South Hebron Hills with EU parliamentary members.
    We are also moving forward with our greenhouse project and organizing workdays to begin additional planting in cooperation with Hamed Qawasmeh and the Hebron International Resource Network, as well as other international organizations working in the South Hebron Hills.
    We are continuing with our advocacy work on behalf of the community of Um al-Khair to ensure that we continue to build a community of support around the pending home demolitions. If you are a US citizen, please sign this petition and spread it around your networks:
    We are also developing additional campaigns within the Church of the Brethren as well as looking for ways to add to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions initiatives around Eurovision Song Contest 2019: Tel Aviv. It’s important that we continue to apply pressure on artists not to participate in programs that normalize violent and oppressive systems. Keep an eye out for ways you can participate in that campaign in the upcoming weeks.

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