The Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at the opening of the Second Annual Conference of Strategic and Policy Studies Research Centres at The Ritz-Carlton Doha yesterday. The conference was themed ‘The Cause of Palestine and the Future of the Palestinian National Movement’.
Doha: The Palestinian conflict continues to be the root cause of all conflicts in the region, experts told a seminar on the present state of the Palestinian issue yesterday.
Speaking at the plenary session of the Second Annual Conference of Strategic and Policy Studies Research Centres that was attended by the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, experts said the Palestinian issue was tied with Arab nationalism and it had religious implications.
The session was organised by the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies as part of its four-day conference on the ‘Cause of Palestine and the Future of the Palestinian National Movement’.
It was noted that the last 10 years have seen opinion shift rapidly against Israel in the ‘legitimacy war’.
Former Jordanian prime minister Taher Al Masri said the conflict was not just about lands, but involved strong nationalist and religious factors.
“The conflict in Palestine is the root of all conflicts in the region. The cause of Palestine is much more than just about lands, but rather it has strong nationalist and religious components which make it crucial for Arabs,” he added.
Aijaz Ahmad, well-known Indian academic, said the Palestinian issue was in danger of being diluted through concessions, which also included an ambiguity about the kind of state Palestine would be. He asserted that the Arab nationalist project could never recover from the Six Day War of 1967.
“Israel has proven that it cannot even grant simple democratic rights to its own citizens. In contrast Palestinians must develop their own nationalist project that appeals to universalist, liberal values.”
Expressing solidarity with the Palestinian cause, Ahmad said new strategies were required to resolve the issue and a shift from territory to rights was needed.
“I believe that the fate of the Palestinian project has always been tied to the Arab nationalist project, and that the Arab nationalist project never recovered from the defeat of 1967,” Ahmad said.
The UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, said Israel had converted the Nakba (the day that marks the displacement of Palestinians) from a tragic event into a process that continued to date.
Falk identified three disillusionments with the way the Palestinian national movement was pursued, which included the incompetency of the UN and its institutions in implementing its resolutions on the issue.
“Israel has carried out this unlawful process by insisting ever more excessive security claims that operate not for the sake of security but rather for land confiscation. In other words, security masks the ambitions of an expansionist Israel.”