Abbas Feeling Heavy-Handed Pressure – by Stephen Lendman
Washington wants Abbas’ UN membership Security Council application tabled in limbo for months. On September 28, it was sent to a standing admissions committee.
On September 30, New York Times writer Neil MacFarquhar headlined, “Palestinian Request Sent to Experts,” saying:
“The Security Council membership committee referred the Palestinian request for full (UN) membership to its experts on Friday to evaluate whether it meets the criteria for statehood.”
In fact, Palestine’s been fully qualified and ready for 63 years. An initial UN report may be issued by mid-October. However, Washington, Israel, and key EU allies want further action conditional on restarting peace process talks that never worked before and won’t now.
On September 29, The Palestine Telegraph (PT) headlined, “Exclusive: The last minute deal of Abbas-Obama – Reviving Peace Process,” saying:
A “(w)ell informed (PT) source (said) a deal had been struck between” Washington and the PA before Abbas’ September 23 General Assembly address.
Meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, Abbas and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat were “threatened) with sanctions” if full UN membership was pursued.
A face saving way was discussed to back down. Both sides also agreed to resume peace process talks even though Abbas up to now refused unless settlement construction stops.
Obama then applied more pressure privately to drop UN membership plans entirely. According to the unnamed source, Abbas said if he agreed he’d “be politically dead. Palestinian Authority will be dead and peace will never be achieved.”
An agreement was reached for Abbas to moderate his planned UN address. Obama also “requested that the Palestinian Authority ease the diplomatic pressure on the UN bodies. The meeting and its outcome was never announced.”
Nonetheless, Abbas returned to Ramallah with marching orders to resume talks while settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land continues apace.
In near daily articles for weeks, this writer rated chances for official statehood recognition and full UN membership zero. If PT’s source is accurate, it’s virtually certain.
There’s more. On October 1, Haaretz writer Shlomo Shamir headlined, “Source: UN won’t advance Palestinian statehood bid until diplomacy option exhausted,” saying:
Membership discussions will “continue to deliberate over technical matters as long as (Quartet members) are leading efforts to renew (peace) negotiations….”
According to an unnamed Western diplomat, Washington and its Western allies “have a special interest in ‘dragging’ the debate on” to let Israel and PA negotiators resume talks both sides know will continue for months with one of two possible outcomes – either unconditional Palestinian surrender to Israeli demands or no final resolution.
The diplomat added:
“There is no announcement expected – either positive or negative – regarding the Palestinian application until the (SC) members (exhaust all) diplomatic avenues….”
At issue is pitting heavily “aid-dependent” Palestinians against rogue US and Israeli administrations, using heavy-handed intimidation and threats to subvert Palestinian UN membership.
In fact, “Western (SC) diplomats….say the Palestinian UN bid is doomed to failure due to US opposition.”
However, chief Palestinian UN delegate Riyad Mansour hopes deliberations will move quickly toward resolution, saying:
“They will start dealing with the details of things related to our application. We hope the experts will deal with this part of the exercise in a short period of time.”
Mansour and other PA officials know Washington will block SC approval. As a result, gaining full UN membership depends on General Assembly approval.
It has sole admissions authority. Moreover, with overwhelming world support, full membership is certain if proper procedures are followed.
However, longtime Israeli collaborationists Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and Saeb Erekat are virtually certain to salute and obey orders, provided face saving measures let them convince Palestinians they tried.
On October 1, London Independent writer Donald Macintyre headlined, “Abbas is punished by $200m cut in aid from US,” saying:
Blocked aid affects food, health care and other vital services. Doing so “reflects Congressional anger at (Abbas’) so far unrealized pursuit of Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and statehood recognition at the UN.”
In fact, doing so shows how easily virtually the entire Congress bends to Israel’s will. At issue also is withholding up to $600 million given Palestinians annually since 2008.
Congress and the administration firmly oppose Palestinian statehood. Since August 18, three congressional committees suspended aid payments.
Moreover, throughout the year, Congress issued repeated threats to block funding.
On September 29, Haaretz writer Natasha Mozgovaya headlined, “US lawmaker: Palestinians must return to peace talks or suffer possible divestment,” saying:
On September 26, House Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia Rep. Gary Ackerman (D. NY) said:
“(T)here may need to be a total cutoff of all aid to the Palestinians for pursuing this course of action which is very dangerous and ill advised.”
“They should think twice, reverse course and get back to the negotiating table where (Netanyahu) awaits them.”
Of course, that’s the problem, not the solution. Both sides know it. So does Ackerman and other pro-Israeli congressional members.
Rep. Nita Lowey (D. NY) for sure, saying:
Palestinians “have not been forced into this position, and the circumstances are not beyond their control. They have chosen to discontinue negotiations with Israel and pursue a counterproductive publicity stunt. (Abbas’) speech made clear he’s not interested in peace….”
In other words, Lowey calls persuing long denied justice “a publicity stunt” and reluctance to participate in no-peace peace talks with an unwilling partner “counterproductive.”
As a result, she said:
“His action crossed a line and should lead to a reevaluation of US assistance for the Palestinian Authority.”
In other words, virtually the entire Congress and all administrations go along with whatever Israel and its US Lobby want, including blocking life-sustaining humanitarian aid.
On July 7, House members voted 407 – 6 to block it if PA officials pursued UN membership. In June, Senate members approved a similar measure unanimously.
A Final Comment
On October 1, Ma’an News said Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh supports “a Palestinian state on liberated lands, but not in exchange for recognizing Israel or giving up rights.”
On Friday, he explained that Palestinians have struggled for over 60 years to liberate their land and regain their rights, including letting diaspora refugees freely return, adding:
“We support (creating a) state that reflects the Palestinian people’s dignity, and we won’t beg for a state. We will continue the fight and remain steadfast because we feel victory is near.”
On October 1, Haaretz said Khaled Meshal, Chairman of the Hamas Political Committee, believes only through “resistance” can Palestinians achieve long denied justice, saying:
“Palestinians must resort to resistance no matter how costly it is, until Palestine is free…”
Many other Palestinians also feel that liberation depends on committed long-term struggle.
In fact, it’s how all great victories are won everywhere that never come easily or quickly.
Palestinians have been struggling for over 63 years and won’t quit until one day commitment brings freedom on their own land in their own country.
It’s not if, but when. It’s just a matter of time working for them against Israel and other dark opposition forces.
Justice comes to those committed long enough to stay the course whatever the obstacles. Palestinians are committed.
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.