No, Catalonia isn't Palestine
Source: +972 Magazine
By Noam Sheizaf
October 1, 2017
Some in Israel are drawing parallels between the Catalonian demand for national self-determination and Palestinian independence. The two situations are nothing alike.
Hundreds of Catalan independence supporters rally against a visit by King Felipe VI to Girona, Catalonia, June 26, 2014. (Ariet/CC BY-NC 2.0)
The referendum over Catalonian secession underway in Spain is turning into a serious political crisis, which threatens to become a European crisis that could dwarf even Brexit. The European Union has succeeded at tampering internal conflicts inside member states: the vision of European identity was critical in ending the violence in Northern Ireland, and perhaps even the struggle for Basque independence.
Now, a declaration of Catalonian independence would put to a test not only Spain, but the European Union itself: other member-states also have secession movements of their own, of varying significance. The basic instinct of the EU is, of course, to preserve the status quo but it is possible that is no longer an option. (On that note, I recommend reading the New York Review of Books’s survey of literature calling for a new European narrative or political framework.)
On the sidelines of the referendum in Spain, some in Israel are drawing parallels between the Catalonian demand for national self-determination and Palestinian demands. These wonder out loud how Spain and Europe could push Palestinian independence on Israel when they oppose the independence of minority groups within their own borders. The two situations are nothing alike, however.
Catalonians are already full citizens in Spain, like the Kurds in Iraq, Tibetans in China, and most of the minority groups in the world that are demanding independence. If we were to imagine a parallel situation in Israel, it would be if Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Galilee or the Negev were to demand independence. Alternatively, another comparable situation would be if following Israel annexing the Palestinian territories and giving citizenship to all of its residents, Palestinians within the resultant one-state solution were to hold a referendum on secession. That might not be the worst idea in the world.
Likewise, the “autonomy” that Israel has supposedly granted Palestinians does not at all resemble the idea of autonomy that is discussed in the rest of the world. Autonomy for certain regions or minority groups is supposed to supplement basic civil rights, not in place of them. The Israeli example is more akin to the demands in South Africa to recognize Bantustans as autonomous regions than to other ideas of autonomy.
Current examples that are closer to the Israeli case, at least as far as the status of the land and its population, are Northern Cyprus and Western Sahara. In those places, however, the population at stake is much smaller than the Palestinian population living under Israeli occupation — and in both places the occupying power (Turkey and Morocco) have attempted their own resolutions. It’s important to note that the world, including Israel, does not recognize those resolutions — not the “independence” of Northern Cyprus, and not the occupation of Western Sahara, and rightly so. As such, the world’s opposition to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is consistent with and follows the logic of the international system’s fundamental principles.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SHARE YOUR OPINION, POST A COMMENT
Fill in the field below to share your opinion and post your comment.
LATEST OPEN LETTERS
- 03-07Letter of Apology
- 20-05Sace palestine
- 20-05Free Palestine
- 17-05A suggestion for some economics problems
- 15-05Free Palestine
- 04-04A moment of the sound of silence, a prayer for Russia
- 03-04The Gilbratar burn out and how it can be solved peacefully
- 03-04Biafra Freedom from Nigeria
- 24-03Open letter to António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
- 20-03RE: FINDING BEACONS OF HOPE … MEDICAL PERSONNEL IN SYRIA
VIRTUAL POST OFFICE
Latest Blog Articles
- 23-02American Jews Have Never Needed Israel
- 23-02Carter warns of 'catastrophic' consequences Trump's policy on Palestine
- 22-02Opinion // Israel Is Fast Becoming a Rogue State. And Trump Is Complicit in That Downfall
- 21-02Palestine calls for multilateral meeting by mid-2018 to decide a timeline for two-state solution
- 21-02Nickolay Mladenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process: Briefing to the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East, 20 February 2018
- 20-02Opinion // Now It's Official: America’s Ambassador to Israel Trolls for Its Right-wing Extremists
- 20-02Palestinian youth in Nablus: 'Unite and stop with the division'
- 15-02400 Muslim, Christian, Jewish Leaders Sign 'Washington Declaration' for Religious Tolerance
- 15-02Washington no more: Palestine turns to Moscow for future Israel talks
- 12-02Trump: Palestinians Aren't Looking to Making Peace – but I'm Not Sure Israel Is Either
- 09-02Confederation: The One Possible Israel-Palestine Solution