By Jafar Ramini

I have always been fond of numbers and equations. They don’t lie. Numbers and equations give you precise solutions to precise problems. They lead you to where you want to go.

There are prime numbers, there are fractions, there are complete angles, half angles, they all amount to the same. At the end they equate. What doesn’t equate in my mathematical mind is why do we the Palestinians keep going down the same route, knocking at the same doors, knowing that we will not get satisfactory or even reasonable answers or results.

It doesn’t equate.

Let’s look at the numbers: Since 1948 Israel has ignored over 690 UN resolutions, some censoring, some admonishing and some in outright condemnation.  Israel has done that with the full knowledge, if not the encouragement, first of successive US administrations and then the international community at large. The United States of America has used its power of veto at the Security Council on 41 occasions. The 42nd is looming.  On every occasion when the Security Council was about to condemn Israel for its brutal oppression of the Palestinians and the war crimes committed specially in Gaza the Americans said NO. Not only that, Obama in his speech to the general assembly, said “our support for the security of Israel is unshakeable’. The Whitehouse Press Secretary, Jay Carney said, ‘ we took this stand because the PA application for membership of the UN will not bring the parties together and it will not bring Palestinians closer to statehood. This move is counter productive.’

American Congress has threatened to stop aid payments to the PA as a tool of admonishing and pressurizing the PA to capitulate. Republican Senator for Illinois, Mr. Joe Walsh has submitted a paper to Congress signed by 30 co-sponsors to support Israel’s right to annex the West Bank, calling it Judea and Samaria.

Mr. Tony Blair, the Quartet’s representative in the Middle East described the application for UN Membership as ‘an act of violence’.

Carne Ross, diplomatic expert on the Middle East, said that ‘despite all that is going on in the Middle East the USA will always stand behind Israel, no matter what. The President has domestic issues with Jewish voters who think he is anti-Israel and members of Congress who want to cut funding for the PA.’

It doesn’t equate.

The number 194 has been bandied about alluding to the number that Palestine will be afforded if it is granted full membership of the UN.  In the meantime, ‘The Quartet’ in their infinite wisdom, has just released a statement after their meeting in New York on September 23rd reaffirming their commitment to lasting peace in the Middle East.  It also affirmed its determination to actively and vigorously seek a comprehensive resolution of the Arab Israeli conflict, on the basis of UN Security Council’s resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1515, 1850.

The Oslo Accord was signed in 1993. Eighteen years of futile negotiations have since elapsed. Where were all these people?  Why hadn’t they already implemented any of the promises that were made nor any of the agreements that were signed?

Those of you who are fond of numbers like me, will have noticed that Resolution 194, guaranteeing the inalienable right of return for all Palestinians, passed in 1948 and agreed upon by all members, is missing.

It doesn’t equate.

The 22 members of the Arab League have been absent for a long time.  Most of them have been too busy fighting each other; 6 of them are busy trying to come to terms with local uprisings, referred to as The Arab Spring and most of them are oblivious or indifferent to what is happening on the ground in Palestine.

Saudi Arabia has just gifted the PA $200 million to keep it going. HRH, Prince Turki Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia has threatened that if the USA stands in the way of the PA’s application to the UN General Assembly the Saudi Government will behave towards the USA differently from the way it has been behaving for more than a century.  Your Royal Highness, thank you and your government for the $200 million.  God knows, the Palestinians in the West Bank and especially Gaza need every cent of it to buy their daily bread.  But wouldn’t it have been even more useful if the Saudi Government cancelled the $70 billion Al Yamamah project?

It doesn’t equate.

Mr. Netanyahu called the PA’s application as ‘tantamount to a declaration of war’ and that Israel demands security measures because it is surrounded by hostile nations.  Forgive me if I sound a little ignorant, who are the hostile nations surrounding Israel?  Doesn’t Israel have a peace treaty with Egypt? Doesn’t Israel have a peace treaty with Jordan?  Doesn’t Israel have diplomatic and commercial relations with various Arab countries in the region?  Didn’t Israel have a meeting recently in Qatar with the NTC of Libya? Did Israel have as much as a tennis ball lobbed at it from Syria since 1973? Doesn’t Israel still occupy the Golan Heights? Or maybe Mr. Netanyahu is referring to the besieged, strangled and brutalized Gaza Strip.

Isn’t Israel occupying the entire West bank of Palestine, with hundreds of checkpoints and barriers? With hundreds of strategically positioned settlements all over the West Bank, in habited by 650,000 aggressive, armed Jewish settlers who harass the Palestinians on a daily basis? Who uproot our trees and set fire to our meadows?  Doesn’t Israel control our finances?  Doesn’t Israel control our borders, our seas and our skies? And yet, and yet we are the aggressors.

Only today Israel announced construction of 1100 new housing units in East Jerusalem. Mr. Netanyahu says the settlements are not a result of the occupation or the expansionist policies of successive Israeli governments but as a result of our terrorist activities.

It doesn’t equate.

There are various estimates about the number of Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, the refugee camps and the Diaspora.  The numbers bandied about are between 10 – 12 million. The PA has spent millions of dollars promoting the UN bid all over the world. What they forgot to do was to ask the Palestinian people what they really want. Don’t we exist?

We, the Palestinians, as a matter of course, are a reasonable people.  In fact, I think on most occasions we are unreasonably reasonable.  Would it be unreasonable of this Palestinian to ask the PA and Hamas to iron out their differences and unite under one banner as the first line of defence against our occupiers?

Would it be out of the question to ask both the PA and Hamas to release all of the Palestinian political prisoners on both sides?

Would it be outright impolite to ask the PA and Hamas to give the Palestinians who live in the refugee camps a courteous nod?

Would it be absolutely outrageous of me to suggest that the 8 million Palestinians who live in exile be consulted and included in this debate?  After all, you are playing with our destiny.  Surely it’s only decent that we are included.

( / 02.10.2011)

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