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Stop the Killing, Start the Rebuilding: Palestinian Ambassador to Denmark H.E. Prof. Dr. Hassassian incl. transcript

Stop the Killing, Start the Rebuilding: Palestinian Ambassador to Denmark H.E. Prof. Dr. Hassassian incl. transcript
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10 may 2024. 52 minutes of content (the rest is empty).
Part 2 from the Schiller Institute in Denmark’s seminar:
Stop the Killing and Start Rebuilding Gaza and the Region with The Oasis Plan:
The LaRouche Solution for Peace Through Development.

Read the transcript below.

H.E. Prof. Dr. Manuel Hassassian is the Palestinian Authority Ambassador to Denmark.
Formerly ambassador to the U.K. and Hungary. Master’s degree in international relations from the University of Toledo, Ohio, and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Cincinnati. Was Executive Vice President of Bethlehem University on the West Bank, and professor at the University of Maryland where he developed a course on Israel-Palestine conflict resolution. Was the PLO’s chief advisor on the status of Jerusalem.

The ambassador gave a very polemical speech about ongoing tragedy of the Palestinian people, the history of the conflict, and what is necessary to stop the genocide. The Ambassador called on the 12 countries represented at the seminar, and the international community, to act to stop the killing, and recognize a sovereign Palestine. He stressed the need for a political solution based on Palestinian sovereignty, supported by economic development. The Oasis Plan, (originally proposed by Lyndon LaRouche in 1975) will be an important catalyst for economic development, he stated.

Twelve embassies from Southwest Asia and North Africa, nations elsewhere in Asia and Africa, and from Western Europe, attended the seminar, in addition to members and friends of the Schiller Institute.

Stop the Killing and Start the Rebuilding:

Speech of H.E. Ambassador Prof. Dr. Manuel Hassassian, Palestine Authority Ambassador to Denmark, at the Schiller Institute in Denmark Conference in Copenhagen, Wednesday, May 8, 2024

It’s a great pleasure to meet with you this morning. I thank the Schiller Institute for inviting me to speak on a topic that is precarious, at best, so to say. We thank Helga for her extensive introduction of the Oasis Plan and how that could lead to stability and to regional and world and global security. Of course, the debate continues with such theories, as long as they are not implemented fully, but ideas should always be disseminated so as, in the final analysis, to find a plausible solution towards creating a more secure world.

We remember, besides the Cold War, in the ‘60s and ‘70s, we felt more secure and the world was much more stable, when we had wide polarity rather than uni-polarity, but with the crumbling of the Soviet Union in 1988, we witnessed the rise of unipolar power, the ramifications of which we are witnessing today with regional wars, instabilities, and what I call new imperialism.

Now, we have heard so much about regional conflicts and about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: I could start by saying that this conflict did not start on October 7th, and I don’t want to go into explaining why October 7th took place, but it’s a natural reaction for people under 13-14 years of siege to act the way they have acted.

The question is, the Palestinians were attacked on October 8: All over, Palestinians, their leadership, were attacked as terrorists, as if they are not human beings who have been suffering under occupation for the last 75 years. But as the war developed, as the aggression developed against our people in Gaza, the international conscience started to wake up, to see, is this disproportionate reaction to what happened on Oct. 7, and for the last 75 years, justifiable or not? This was the challenging question that was posed to the international community. And we started witnessing, day by day, more sympathy, empathy with the Palestinian people, because social media and the media coverage, for the first time in history, has shown the ugly face of occupation, and what occupation can do to a people for the last 75 years.

It is so ironic, and I consider this an oxymoron, when you see the State of Israel that claims its Jewishness, suffering a Holocaust, creating a victim out of the victims, and making the Palestinians pay the price for what Western Europe had done to the Jews when they were living in their communities. So, the Palestinians have to pay the price. They have been extracted from their country, they have been killed, maimed, and what we witness today is absolute genocide. Ethnic cleansing, collective punishment, and genocide epitomizes best what we call today an apartheid state. Nobody can deny the fact, that Israel today is dubbed as an apartheid state, because it has qualified itself to have that dubbing.

This is a war, or a conflict that has been going on for the last 75 years between two epistemic communities. One is trying to salvage its land, the other is trying to take the land. So what we call Israel today is a colonial settler movement, because it started its Jewish area in the ‘20s and ‘30s, under the sponsorship of the United Kingdom during the British Mandate of Palestine, and we have seen extensive riots against the British in Palestine, in 1920, ’29, ’36, until the war of 1948, when we have seen that systematically, the United Kingdom was pushing for the immigration of Jews to Palestine. In other words, with the Balfour Declaration of 1917, promising a national home for the Jews, the implementation of this process took almost 30 years. When the war broke out in 1948, Israel was considered and accepted to be independent, and was immediately recognized by the United Nations.

The challenge today, is the Palestinians have embarked on an arduous, I would say, path toward reconciliation with Israel. We have accepted the Oslo Agreement, we have accepted, in 1988, to recognize Israel, not only by de facto but de jure, even trying to preempt any kind of final negotiations. In return, we have seen that the Oslo Agreement had been used by the Israelis to quadruple settlers in the Occupied West Bank, in terms of demography and in terms of geography. And we have seen Netanyahu, who came to power, his ultimate goal was to destroy the Oslo Agreement. And since the Oslo Agreement took place, today we are stuck between the historically inevitable and the politically impossible. It’s a non-starter, with such a rightwing, extreme government in Israel, to launch any kind of negotiations for future stability and security.

Now, for 210, 211 days, with a strike, Israel has systematically bombarded civilians. Between yesterday and today, more than 40 in Rafah have already been martyred. We have more than 35,000 people killed, 50% of them are children; we have at least 10,000 under the rubble, more than 147 medical doctors have been killed, 52 hospitals have been totally destroyed; there is no fuel to run the remaining two or three hospitals. Now, with the control of the Rafah border crossing, there is no fuel coming into Gaza, and 70% of the infrastructure in Gaza has been totally destroyed.

So, what do we call this war? Is it a war of defense? Is Israel defending itself, or is it a war of decimation of a people whose only guilt is their quest for independence and freedom?

You know, sometimes, it seems so ironic, when I say to European officials or American officials, as I have done so many, many times in my career as a diplomat, they keep on shelling us with their rhetoric of a two-state solution, and I start grinning when I hear this phrase “two-state solution.” The destruction of Palestine is almost there, and they’re still talking about the “two-state solution.” OK! If you believe in two-state solution, why are you using the veto power in the United Nations, when almost 140 countries have recognized the state of Palestine, and you’re using the veto power, yet all Europe follows the American decision. So where is the balance, when you talk about a “two-state solution”?

What are the Palestinians requesting today? They are requesting the same human principle of self-determination. Why is the entire world entitled to practice self-determination, as it was espoused in the 16th article of Woodrow Wilson, while when it comes to Palestine, it is not important? Are we children of a lesser God, not to be accepted in the international community as an independent nation-state?

When the Zionist project started in Palestine, we were well advanced regionally: We had a harbor, we had an airport, we had an economy, we had agriculture. It was not, as Golda Meir said, the desert bloomed when the Zionists came to Palestine. That’s a historic fallacy. That is not true, and we have all the historic documentation to prove otherwise.

So, this protected conflict that has been going on for so many years now, did not shake the conscience of the entire world community. It’s like treating it as a regional conflict, as a conflict between two people, as if they are contesting the same land. Palestinians are not contesting the land: This is our land! The Zionists are intruders. They came to control our land. So, it’s not a conflicting land. It’s not a conflict between two people over one land that is owned by both. Israel is an intrusion. This Zionist project was supported by the international community, and that’s why the international community should shoulder the responsibility of reversing the actions.

I can keep on talking about the practices of this ugly occupation for hours. But all I want to say is basically the following: How do we put an end to this conflict? And who are the major key players in trying to impose a solution to this conflict? It is so frustrating that the United States, claiming to be the gavel holder of the peace process for the last 30 years, has proved to be a dismal failure, because it did not practice conflict resolution, but crisis management. And today, the Americans have proved to be a dismal failure as a third party, to be an honest broker for peace, for the simple fact that they have been inequitably supporting the top dog, Israel, over the underdog, Palestine!

So, we don’t have trust in the Americans. I pity the American people who have such a weak leadership in the United States, that have a myopic vision of how to create security and global security and peace in the world. A President that talks about allowing humanitarian access, is the same President who is sending thousands, thousands of bombs to kill innocent children and Palestinians in Gaza!

How could we accept senile comments by a President who doesn’t know what he’s talking about? And the alternative is not better.

We cannot be used as foam in global conflict anymore. Yes, such a conflict could lead to a regional war, such a conflict would lead to a global war; but after all, isn’t it hunger and poverty, abject poverty, that is the real reason for war? Isn’t it national interest, which comes before everything else?

So, what does the international community lose, if they recognize the state of Palestine? We made our historic compromise in 1988, when we accepted only 22% of historic Palestine to have it as an independent state, which is the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem; and we have given legitimacy for the birth of a Zionist project with over 78% of historic Palestine. And still, the hunger of the Zionists is for more land, to get the West Bank. Israel is not interested in Gaza. Israel is only interested in Gaza from a security perspective, to control it, and that’s it.

But when you talk about the West Bank, then you talk about “Judea and Samaria.” This is what the Israelis are pushing for their settlements, in order, basically, to control, and yet, to unite the West Bank to Israel proper. Because this is the Biblical prophecy: As far as the Jews are concerned, this is the land of promise. As if, God is a real estate agent. He said, “You are the chosen ones, and Palestine is for you.” That this is a God that promises land, and considers the Jews as the Chosen People—I don’t want to believe in that God. That God doesn’t mean anything to me.

And today, there is a big debate, between the Catholic Church and Israel, especially the Jews, on the question of Biblical prophecy and the Promised Land. Now, there are voices that are coming, challenging this rhetoric of “this land belongs to us, because God gave it to us.” Two billion people that follow Catholicism today are in total contradiction with the Zionist perspective of “this is the Jewish land, the land of promise given to us by God.”

You know, sometimes, I sit and ponder, for the last 20 years, there is a lack of legitimate leadership, that there is a lack of charismatic leadership in the world, and that the world is not improving. It is deteriorating with conflicts, with hunger, with injustice. And I wonder why we don’t have a leadership that could shoulder the responsibility of leading this world?

I studied in the United States, briefly, for my PhD and my Masters degree, and I have done plenty of research with American institutes, including Harvard. All these think tanks, all these resources that you have in the United States, and the production of two candidates to run the presidency, Biden and Trump, is a disgrace. This shows you, that these political parties are leading the people, and it’s not led by the people. And that’s why I challenge this kind of democracy, because this is democracy for the few; this is democracy for the rich. We hardly ever see somebody coming from the ghettoes to become the President of the United States, based on merit, based on intellectualism, and what have you. We don’t have that.

And I can tell you, there will never be a change—and here, I’m addressing the Chinese delegation, there will never be change with U.S. policy in the Middle East. Since Truman until today, it has been based on four cornerstones: One, to contain communism; and when the Soviet Union became defunct, they created something called “Islamic fundamentalism,” to justify their hegemony and new imperialism. Second, to control the oil products in the Arab world, controlling it militarily, or through price, they’re controlling it. Thirdly, to support a proxy regime that is doing its dirty work in the Middle East, inequitably, i.e., Israel. And fourthly, trying to curb any kind of liberation movements that come out of the region.

Whether Democrats or Republicans come to power, these four cornerstones have never changed, as basic policy of the U.S. in the Middle East. If the Democrats are in power, or the Republicans, it’s Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, my friends. C’est la même chose, en français: It’s the same story.

So how could we trust the United States as a third party, to bridge the gap and the inequity between two partners that are not on equal footing? When we sat and negotiated peace with the Israelis, we were not on equal footing. The Americans were drafting the resolutions, and the Palestinians were imposed upon to accept them by sheer force! So, there were {never} serious negotiations! Negotiations are based on symmetry between two contending powers that are on equal footing, trying to resolve an issue. That was not the case with our negotiations, ladies and gentlemen! It was always the diktat of power politics. And the Palestinians, as the underdog, had to always pay the price.

Don’t be fooled by what is going on in Israel today as far as demonstrations are concerned. The Israeli population is totally behind their leadership. Don’t be fooled, please.

There is a dramatic shift, from the first Intifada, until today, in terms of public opinion in Israel. They’re all extreme right-wingers. What we call the left progressive elements in Israel are insignificant, and they are marginalized completely.

Look, if Israel was not extreme right-wing, who would have put Ben-Gvir and Smotrich and Netanyahu in power? Right? We could have anticipated a much more liberal government, that could really push for the peace process. But unfortunately, what we have witnessed, is the extreme right-wing shift in public opinion in Israel, towards bringing to power people like Smotrich, Ben-Gvir, and Netanyahu.

So, we always say, “Charity starts at home.” We cannot anticipate any kind of stability in the region, if the United States continues with this policy that I consider to be a double standard. On the one side trying to have peace with our neighbor governments—that Israel is only surgical when it deals with Hamas, but we can see the ramifications of that: it might instigate Egypt, might instigate Lebanon into a regional war. So far it has been controlled.

But I think the Americans have lost credibility when they could not bring a ceasefire, and I don’t see that road being imperative for the United States, and we have seen, so far, contradictory policies of the U.S. that is not stabilizing, but destabilizing the situation even further.

And we have not seen the international community coming forward, denouncing Rafah, what they consider to be a contained kind of an attack on the last premises of Hamas, as if they know where the Hamas militants are.

So, these are excuses to put pressure on 1 million Palestinians to start moving into Egypt. They want to create havoc and fear, so people would leave their homes and start migrating towards Egypt. And that would create a big problem for Egypt, because its stand is not to allow Palestinians to leave Gaza. Because, by doing so, they are giving the green light for Israel to continue with its decimation of the Palestinians, and to get rid of them “demographically” from Gaza.

If Israel, with its genocidal attacks, had managed to get rid of Hamas, ladies and gentlemen–Hamas is an illusion, now. It’s not impersonated in people fighting. It’s an ideology. Even if they kill all these militants, other militants will arise. You know, when you talk about 35,000 martyrs, how many of those kids surviving this are going to forget? Right? Nobody’s going to forget.

Israel should understand that they cannot, and it cannot get rid of the Palestinian people. Israel should understand that its legitimate birth certificate to be in the Middle East, is only given by the Palestinians, and not by the United States of America! Israel should understand that without the independence of Palestine, it will be a garrison fortress in the Middle East. And that psychological problem, of being in a garrison state, will create a lot of psychological problems in the future for a country that had the chance to make peace, and just let it slip away.

Things are not going to remain idle. Palestinians are going continue their struggle. There is no military solution to this conflict: Everybody knows that, even Israel, with all its technical power, with all its technology could not manage to make the Palestinians kneel down.

And if you look at the spirit of these people in Gaza, it’s unbelievable! They always tell you, we will never revisit the 1948 Nakba (the Catastrophe). We will never emigrate. We will never leave our country. We’d rather die than leave. This resilience, this determination, this commitment of a people, should wake up the conscience of the international community, to say that these people deserve to have their own state, deserve to have their own independent country.

Israel is playing with fire. And I believe that the destruction of Israel has started. And what we are witnessing in the United States of America, in terms of the student strikes, and what have you, epitomizes best the bankruptcy of the Biden administration, in dealing with the conflict in Gaza; epitomizing the inefficiency, also, of dealing with the Ukraine war. And its inefficiency in trying to spread its hegemony over the world as a unipolar power. And if we strike a comparison between now, what’s happening on campuses in the United States, and during the Vietnam War in the ‘60s, this is the beginning of the end of such an era.

Then we start witnessing dramatic changes in the Middle East. We need new governments. We need new governments: We need governments that will promote global security and stability through economic development, through the Oasis Plan.

We need a new government in Israel! At least to be less Zionist in terms of approaching towards conflict resolution rather than conflict management.

We need to have, also, a unified leadership between all our Palestinian factions: Because, united we stand, divided we fall.

Unless these three conditions are not right and ready, then this conflict will have further ramifications that will lead to destruction, and God forbid, to a global war.

Ladies and gentlemen: Today it is not ideology that drives people towards war. It’s national interest. It’s economic interest. But the commitment of people through religion is scarry, and God forbid, that our conflict one day becomes a conflict between Muslims and Jews. Because that’s not the intention. We believe that this is a national struggle, with a secular ideology of building a democratic entity in Palestine. That’s what my leadership believes in.

But we cannot do it alone. We have to do it all together, and all together meaning, presidential elections, legislative elections, and total reform in our political infrastructure. I say this as self-criticism, because I have to be honest as an academic, to tell you exactly what we have to do, in order to achieve the sustainability of peace and the longevity of peace.

Peace is not signing a document. We had peace between Jordan and Israel. We had peace between Egypt and Israel. Those are cold peace. Ask any Egyptian today, and he will tell you, “Israel is not our friend. As long as they are occupying Palestine, we are not going to have a normal relationship with the Israelis. OK, between governments, yes.” The same thing in Jordan. Genuine peace will be achieved, when Palestinians have the rights of self-determination. Then the Arab world will be ready to cooperate and accept Israel as a legitimate country in the Middle East. But now Israel is an outcast. Israel is a Zionist occupier, it is not legitimate.

And let me conclude, because my time is over: It is easy to sign a peace agreement, but it is very difficult to make peace building, and that peace building needs efforts of trying to synergize civil societies on both sides, people-to-people interaction, and here comes the process of ending conflict, and developing democracies, because we believe democracies don’t fight each other.

And economic development as it is espoused by the Schiller Institute, by the LaRouche concept of economic development, could play a pivotal role in the process of trying to create global security, through regional security, through ending the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

That would be, I would say, the beginning of an era where countries in the world, North and South, would start to realize that war is not the answer, but building economic ties is the answer, because that would be a win-win situation.

Thank you very much.

—————————————

Discussion coming later.

Please also see the two other speeches from the seminar:

The Oasis Plan: Peace Only Through Development
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Schiller Institute founder and international leader, and American economist and statesman Lyndon LaRouche’s (1922-2019) decades-long collaborator, who spoke online.

The Impossible is Self-imposed: Peace Through Economic Development is the Only Way Forward in West Asia
Hussein Askary, Schiller Institute Southwest Asia Coordinator.
Co-author of “Extending the New Silk Road to Southwest Asia and Africa,” Arabic translator of “The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge.”

Contact:
Palestine Mission in Denmark: +45 33 93 22 39, info@palestine.dk
Schiller Institute in Denmark: +45 53 57 00 51; si@schillerinstitut.dk
English: www.schillerinstitute.com
Dansk: www.schillerinstitut.dk

Other related homepages in English:
www.laroucheorganization.com
www.larouchepub.com

Arabic: https://t.me/larouchearabic

Invitation excerpts:
The Schiller Institute’s Copenhagen seminar is designed to further the crucial dialogue held during our international online conference on April 13, 2024 entitled, “The Oasis Plan: The LaRouche Solution for Peace Through Development Between Israel and Palestine, and for All of Southwest Asia,” available on YouTube.

H.E. Prof. Dr. Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian Authority Ambassador to Denmark, presented the ongoing tragedy of the Palestinian people, and the need for a political solution based on Palestinian sovereignty and equal rights, supported by economic development. There can be no military solution, he stated.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche began her speech by highlighting the urgent need to inject a perspective of hope to show the way out of the catastrophic situation in Southwest Asia, warning of the potential for a full-fledged regional, and even global war. She stressed the need for a totally new approach that considers the combined economic and security interests of the Palestinians, the Israelis, and all the countries of the region.

Now, the killing must stop, and the rebuilding must begin.

Massive humanitarian aid must flow in.

An international conference must be convened to find a political solution, including full international recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state.

But where can the light come from amidst the current darkness? The Schiller Institute is convinced that a future vision of economic development for the whole region, now including a reconstructed Gaza as the first step, is needed to light the path to peace.

This vision is the Oasis Plan, first proposed by the American economist and statesman Lyndon LaRouche (1922-2019) in 1975 after a trip to the region. The Oasis Plan addresses the greatest barrier to development in the region — the shortage of fresh water — through the construction of a network of desalination plants, ideally nuclear powered, along the Mediterranean coast and along two new canals: a Red Sea-Dead Sea canal, and a Dead Sea-Mediterranean canal. An overview can be seen in the LaRouche Organization’s 14-minute video, The Oasis Plan: LaRouche’s Solution for the Middle East….

Death, destruction and starvation have been used as weapons of war; economic development must be used as a weapon of peace: to turn swords into plowshares. We must all act now to stop the killing and start the rebuilding.

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