Palestinian Statehood: If not Now, When? by Stephen Lendman
After 63 years, including 44 under occupation, 85% of Palestinians want statehood now, not later or perhaps never.
Israel and Washington object, wanting permanent occupation and subjugation.
A previous article said a “silent agreement” among Western powers may postpone Security Council and General Assembly votes for later dates to be announced.
Sources also claim Abbas wants it for more negotiating time with America.
Delay very much benefits Washington and Israel for reasons, including:
• more time for high-pressure strong-arming;
• to get more anti-statehood Security Council votes to to avoid an embarrassing veto;
• getting the issue out of headlines; and
• convincing Abbas to drop the idea altogether in return for special favors and enough sweetners to take home to say he got something.
On September 20, Los Times writer Paul Richter headlined, “UN may delay vote on Palestinian statehood application,” saying:
The plan calls for putting off a vote indefinitely to avoid an embarrassing US veto and let Washington try to restart peace talks that never worked before and won’t now.
It “would also keep $600 million a year in American aid and other international assistance flowing to the Palestinians. Congress threatened to cut the US aid.”
Unnamed sources said Abbas “signed off on the plan,” providing more evidence of what he had in mind all along – betrayal while coming home with something to say he tried.
Whether other PA officials go along isn’t known. However, according to PLO Executive Committee member and PA legislator Hanan Ashrawi:
Palestinian officials are willing “to accept some delay, of the kind you would have under normal UN procedures.”
But if it’s being done to undermine the process, “we have recourse to other action,” suggesting going to the General Assembly ahead of the Security Council.
Procedure requires both on statehood issues.
The Security Council acts promptly when Western interests are favored.
Voting for the illegitimate Libyan Transitional National Council regime and balkanized South Sudan most recently.
Otherwise it organizes committees for further deliberation or finds other ways to delay what it wants subverted.
Palestinian statehood and full de jure UN membership top Washington’s agenda now in New York, going all out against long delayed justice.
It’s America’s pastime – supporting what’s wrong over right, especially against people or nations who can’t challenge.
Palestinians Rally for Statehood
On September 21, Haaretz writers Avi Issacharoff and Anshel Pfeffer headlined, “Thousands rally in Ramallah to back Palestinian statehood bid,” saying:
Thousands filled “Yasser Arafat Square in central Ramallah on Wednesday (to) support” Palestinian statehood.
A huge displayed sign read “UN 194,” signifying Palestine as the 194th member state.
Many waved Palestinian flags or condemned a threatened US veto.
Students got the day off to attend. The teachers union asked ministry of high education employees and directorates of education, private schools, and UNRWA ones to participate.
Thousands also turned out in Bethlehem, Nablus and Hebron.
Fatah leader Mahmoud Al-Alul spoke for others, saying:
“Yes, we want to change the rules of the game because we spent a long time in negotiations, and we made every possible effort to achieve a just and honorable peace. This Israeli government (and previous ones don’t seek it), but rather (want) settlement expansion to satisfy settlers.”
The International Middle East Media Center said rallies are being held in many countries for Palestinian statehood, including America.
On September 16, hundreds turned out in New York in support. One protester said trying for what’s right will eventually work. Another said:
“Time is with the Palestinians. There is no question. History has taught us that people do get justice. It is going to be a long process. It will not happen tomorrow, but it will happen. I have every faith. I may not see it in my lifetime, but it will be.”
It won’t happen during the 66th General Assembly session because Washington, Israel, and key EU nations blocking tactics without objection from Abbas, regardless of what he says publicly to appease supporters.
Settlers Rally Against Statehood
On September 21, several hundred extremist ones marched in West Bank areas to protest what they only want Jews to enjoy.
Itmar settlement participants were escorted by Israeli soldiers.
Spokesman for northern West Bank settlers David Haivri said:
“The Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria are unfazed by the international media buzz going on around the Abbas circus at the UN.”
Opposing “members of our community held symbolic processions (to express) our sovereignty on the land. Abbas can play house at the UN, but even he knows that it is a show with no real implications.”
Indeed so, and he’s a willing participant.
On September 20, dozens of settlers attacked Asira al-Qibiliaya, a Palestinian village near Nablus. Some were armed and fired weapons.
Israeli troops and police fired rubber bullets and tear gas against victims, making a bad situation worse. Several injured Palestinians required hospitalization, including a 14-year boy struck by a tear gas canister.
Obama in the General Assembly in 2010 and Now
Last year he said:
A year ago “I pledged my best efforts to support the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, as part of a comprehensive peace between Israel and its neighbors.”
“If an agreement is not reached, Palestinians will never know the pride and dignity that comes with their own state. Israelis will never know the certainty and security that comes with sovereign and stable neighbors who are committed to co-existence.”
“I refuse to accept that future….This time we should reach for what’s best within ourselves. If we do, when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations – an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.”
That was then. This is now. Obama’s gone all out to subvert statehood, vowing to veto a Security Council resolution for it.
On September 21, 2011 in New York, he said Palestinians “deserve a state of their own. But….genuine peace can only be realized between Israelis and Palestinians themselves.”
So far, “the parties have not bridged their differences.”
“Peace will not come through statements and (UN) resolutions….”
Israelis and Palestinians “must reach agreement on the issues that divide them….Peace depends upon compromise.”
“America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable.” Peace depends on acknowledging “real security concerns that Israel faces every single day. Let’s be honest: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it.”
Palestinians sought peace for decades. Israel spurned all initiatives, choosing conflict over diplomacy and justice.
Palestinians never had a willing partner. They don’t now in Tel Aviv or Washington.
Nuclear armed, Israel is the most formidable regional power. It’s faced no threats for almost 40 years. In contrast, neighboring states Lebanon and Syria face real ones as do Palestinians under occupation.
Peace indeed requires compromise. Israel offers none. Like Washington, it doesn’t negotiate. It demands.
Obama barely stopped short of endorsing Israeli crimes in so many words. His agenda strongly supports them.
For many decades, it’s been longstanding US policy. Many times it did so by vetoing dozens of resolutions condemning or censuring it for its actions against the Palestinians or other Arab people, deploring it for committing them, or demanding, calling on or urging the Jewish state to end them.
Israel never did or will now. In fact, for over three decades, it’s flagrantly violated passed resolutions.
In March 1980, the Security Council unanimously adopted UN Resolution 465. It addressed Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and Syria’s Golan Heights.
it condemned Israel’s policy of “setting parts of its population and new Immigrants in those territories (and said doing so constituted) a flagrant violation of the fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”
It called on Israel to “dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease….the establishment, construction and planning of (new) settlements in the Arab territories since 1967, including Jerusalem.”
In 1977, Menachem Begin refused Jimmy Carter’s request to freeze settlement activity. At the time, about 50,000 Israelis lived in East Jerusalem, only 7,000 in 45 West Bank and Gaza outposts.
In 1985, West Bank/Gaza settlers numbered 42,000, doubling their 1982 population. Today, it tops 500,000 and continues increasing on stolen Palestinian land. American funding supports it.
In June 1980, the Security Council passed Resolution 476. It also called for ending Israel’s illegal occupation and condemned Israel for refusing to obey other Security Council and General Assembly resolutions demanding it.
Israel never complies. Supported by Washington, it does what it pleases with impunity. Palestinians, of course, suffer most.
They now want Israeli repression ended. Statehood is step one to achieve it. Abbas isn’t in New York for it.
He’s representing Israel and Washington, not his own people. He’s replicating what he’s done disgracefully for years.
Getting out from under him, his number two Salam Fayyad, and their hangers on is key to finally achieving Palestinian rights they’ve been long denied.
Obama’s speech showed help from Washington isn’t coming. Palestinian officials and analysts were disappointed, reading what he said as one-sided support for Israel.
In other words, he reiterated longstanding US policy to keep Palestine occupied and subjugated permanently.
Palestinians say that no longer will be tolerated and demand going on their own for justice.
A Final Comment
The Tel Aviv-based Reut Institute (RI) works pro bono for Israeli government agencies. It provides “real-time strategic decision-making” support in areas of national security and socioeconomic policy.
On September 13, it published a policy paper titled, “The Declaration of Palestinian Statehood: An Unparalleled Political Opportunity,” offering a “framework for an Israeli political initiative” for Palestinian statehood.
Though deeply flawed, its principles include the following:
• Independent Palestine and full UN membership will be recognized by America, Israel and other world governments;
• “two-states-for-two-peoples” will refer to Jewish and Palestinian Arab ones;
• the PA will maintain all powers granted by Oslo and subsequent agreements; recognizing Hamas will depend on fulfilling Quartet demands;
• elements of sovereignty will be upgraded; Palestine could issue its own currency and negotiate international trade agreements, “but its final borders and security arrangements with Israel would” have to be agreed on;
• initial territory would include Gaza and the West Bank; “the illegitimate Hamas….would not be recognized by Israel and the international community;”
• Washington would guarantee agreed-on security arrangements; “Gaza would not be connected to the West Bank through a safe passage until similar arrangements are established on its border with Egypt;”
• Israel’s self-defense right from Palestinian threats would be recognized;
• independent Palestine would exclusively represent its people;
• elections would determine future leaders and representatives;
• Israeli-Palestinian negotiations would decide borders, security, economic and trade issues, environmental ones, and matters relating to Jerusalem;
• West Bank Palestinian prisoners would be released as a goodwill gesture; and
• diaspora Palestinians could return.
RI calls “now” the “ideal time to launch such an Israeli initiative,” omitting reasons most important. They include:
• Israel’s growing isolation;
• rage against it on Arab streets;
• growing global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) initiatives; and
• most of all because it’s the right thing to do.
RI’s initiative is noteworthy for proposing Palestinian statehood in contrast to strong Israeli/Washington opposition.
However, its elements fall way short of full sovereign independence, including 22% of historic Palestine within 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Moreover, all states may elect whatever leaders they choose. Hamas is Occupied Palestine’s legitimate government. Recognizing that and ending its foreign terrorist organization status is essential. Calling it an “illegitimate regime” can’t be tolerated.
Nor can Israel’s illegal occupation, theft of Palestinian land and resources, settlements for Jews only, the Separation Wall, and other ways Arabs are oppressed and discriminated against unjustly.
Less than full sovereign rights, including these, is failure. RI represents Israel. Palestinians need world leaders respecting ones they elect to represent them.
With all the above conditions met, a major step forward will be achieved. Now’s the time for it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.