A Palestine That Israelis Can't See

How Does an Unsustainable Situation Keep On Going?

Dead End: It’s a truism to say that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is unsustainable. So why does it show no sign of ending anytime soon?
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Dead End: It’s a truism to say that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is unsustainable. So why does it show no sign of ending anytime soon?

By Sam Bahour

Published November 18, 2012, issue of November 23, 2012.
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They can’t see bank investment committee members toiling with the moral dilemma of financing projects in the besieged Gaza, when nothing in their formal education ever prepared them for the market risk of societal collapse that they must calculate into their decisions every day.

They were blind to the excitement and grassroots campaigning across cities and villages in the occupied Palestinian territory as West Bank residents recently went to the polls, again, for municipal elections.

Most important, they also can’t see something much more serious than any of this — that the Israeli status quo, built on a cruel collective indifference, and the false glow of a rigged prosperity in which the Israeli public is basking can lead to only one outcome: collapse.

Socially, economically and definitely politically, Palestinians will not, and cannot, take any route other than reducing their efforts to build their state and redoubling their efforts toward ridding themselves of the Israeli boot of occupation pressing on their necks. Even if successful in attaining non-member state status in the U.N., the upgraded status will be used as a tool of resistance to terminate this doomed occupation once and for all.

Israelis may be living in utter denial of the peculiar and unsustainable reality they have created by the sheer might of force — but this is no excuse for the rest of the world, especially the United States, not to wake up and realize that ending the occupation has the potential to release a tremendous amount of positive energy in the Palestinian community — a necessary energy for a party to negotiate in good faith as it rebuilds its society from the ruins of decades of destitution.

Ending this military occupation, at long last, will not totally resolve the conflict. Yet in light of current trends putting Israel on a collision course with history, arranging for Palestinians to reach the point where they have real authority over their affairs would be a huge step forward, one that could save many lives on both sides of the Wall.

Sam Bahour is a business development consultant living in Ramallah. He frequently provides independent commentary on Palestine and serves as a policy adviser of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He blogs at www.epalestine.com.


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