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Sustaining dependence through democracy

March 1, 2014 at 5:09 pm

A recent op-ed published in the Israel National News claims that the foundations for a democratic Palestinian state can be traced back to the 2003 Bush “Roadmap for Peace”. Apart from misrepresenting colonisation as a “Jewish-Arab conflict”, the article provides a simplistic hypothesis regarding a possible omission of “democracy” within the forthcoming framework.

The term ‘democracy’ formed an integral part of Bush’s rhetoric during his presidency, despite its implementation in Afghanistan and Iraq creating the conditions for perpetual violence. The article focuses on the probable omission of insisting that a hypothetical future Palestinian state should be democratic, pitting Bush’s insistence against Obama’s discourse, while eliminating any reference to the crucial impediment of democracy, which is the existence of the Israeli settler-colonial state in Palestine.

The 2003 roadmap stated: “The settlement will resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict and end the occupation that began in 1967.” Two major discrepancies arise from this statement: the systematic land grab misrepresented as a conflict, as well as eliminating reference to the existence of the settler-colonial state by restricting the definition of Israel solely as an occupation and eliciting the compromise of the 1967 borders.

The other conditions outlined in the 2003 roadmap portrayed the imperialist approach to democracy that expects subjugation in return for concessions and impunity. In return for relinquishing resistance, Israel was expected to “help normalise Palestinian life”.

Economic prosperity was shunned in favour of humanitarian aid depending upon Israeli benevolence and collaboration in lifting restrictions, thus ensuring Palestinians remain restrained by a continuous dependence.

Despite the obvious support for Israel’s colonisation of Palestine, implementation of the roadmap was expected to result “in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side, in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours”.

The prevailing, imperialist version of democracy considers subjugation of minorities essential to maintain the coercion of a system that depends upon power and alienation of the masses. It is nothing more than a term exploited to maintain an imbalance in favour of oppressive powers. In the case of Israel, it propagates a myth which has been readily disseminated, thus allowing colonisation to flourish amidst a accumulation of available justifications which are not only tolerated, but also rationalised as part of the fabricated history and memory supporting the Zionist state.

Regardless of whether the term “democratic” is repeated in the framework to be announced by US Secretary of State John Kerry, it is clear that the implications of democracy imposed upon Palestinians and the hypothetical state are intransigent in ensuring the indigenous population is not rendered autonomous or unified.

The possible absence of democratic terminology within the framework does not prohibit a practical solution. History has provided abundant proof of democratically sanctioned violence and terror unleashed by imperialist international diplomacy upon invaded and colonised countries. Any recognition or omission of democracy within the forthcoming framework should not be regarded as superfluous. In either scenario, it is an assertion of coercive power seeking to impose the utmost repression upon Palestinians by achieving a compromised agreement which strengthens the existence of Israel as a settler-colonial state.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.