‘Anti-apartheid like move can end Israel-Palestine conflict’

Written by | June 1, 2015 | 0

Palestinians can play a crucial role in ending the decades-long conflict with Israel by keeping up the pressure and using their collective power like the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, says Palestine’s leading writer Raja Shehadeh.

In his latest book “Language of War, Language of Peace: Palestine, Israel and the Search for Justice,” he explores the politics of language and the language of politics in the Israeli Palestine conflict, reflecting on the walls that they create – legal and cultural – that confine today’s Palestinians just like the physical borders, checkpoints and the so-called ‘Separation Barrier.’

“Our hope must lie with people, not governments. Anyone with an iota of political sense would realise that governments are always the last to act. It has to be people who keep up the pressure and use their immense collective power, just as happened in the struggle to end the apartheid regime in South Africa,” he writes.

He also feels that for bringing peace in the region, the Palestinians need to come to terms with the existence of Israel and accept that its people are here to stay.

“What we should seek is not the destruction of Israeli society, but ways to forge a new relationship that would make it possible for both of us to have a full life based on justice and equality in this beautiful but tortured land which we share, for both of us – Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews – to live here,” says Shehadeh, also a lawyer and founder of pioneering Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq.

The book, published by Hachette, was conceived during the time Shehadeh was preparing for the Edward Said Memorial Lecture in 2013.

Noting that Palestinians in the occupied territories have been suffering from Israel’s boycott throughout the 47 years of occupation, he says this takes “many forms, including restriction on movement and limitations on civil liberties, in addition to a number of specific prohibitions that complicate lives and limit freedom, such as restriction on imports of Arabic books from Arab countries that have not made peace with Israel.

Filed in: Islamic World

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