by Iqbal Jassat (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 40, No. 7, Shawwal, 1432)
Given the straightjacket in which Abbas and his disgraced cohorts operate, not only is it entirely unlikely for him to defy Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it is hard to imagine he possesses any courage to defy his paymasters.
Is it possible for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to act independently of the Zionist regime’s political and fiscal control? More particularly, whether President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, widely perceived within Palestinian circles as a puppet of the American/Israeli axis, is able to take any unilateral action in defiance of the apartheid state?
Given the straightjacket in which Abbas and his disgraced cohorts operate, not only is it entirely unlikely for him to defy Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it is hard to imagine he possesses any courage to defy his paymasters. Both Abbas and the PA as constructs of the failed Oslo accords are tied to an agenda dictated by the power of a regime that regards itself as “untouchable”. Netanyahu displayed his characteristic arrogance when he dismissed US President Barack Obama’s call on May 19 for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.
While admitting at the outset that “No peace can be imposed upon them [Israelis and Palestinians], nor can endless delay make the problem go away,” Obama nonetheless mustered enough courage to say something that should have been said a long time ago. “But what America and the international community can do is state frankly what everyone knows: a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples.” He then outlined what he envisioned: “Israel as a Jewish State and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.” (emphasis added).
One must note that Obama declared Israel as a “Jewish state”, not a democratic one. If it is recognized as a Jewish state, it means the Palestinians living within its borders would become stateless or at best second class citizens. Even this, however, was not acceptable to Netanyahu. He did not agree to a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders even with “mutually agreed swaps” that would result in Israel grabbing more Palestinian land and leaving it in control of more than 78% of original Palestine.
In the grossly manipulated (by the US, of course) and unjust UN General Assembly plan of 1947, Israel was given 56% of the territory when the Jewish population of Palestine, even after massive illegal immigration was a mere 30%. The land ownership was even more stark: the Palestinians owned 93% of the land of Palestine while the Jewish population owned the remaining 7%. Despite this, the majority Palestinian population was deprived of their fundamental rights by a body that had no jurisdiction to do so in the first place. It was a blatant land theft that was grabbed by force of arms. Yet a humiliated Obama, president of the United States and paymaster of the parasitical State of Israel, had to abandon his call for a Palestinian state now comprising less than 22% of the original land, and conform to the demands of the fascist Israeli premier.
Amid Obama’s retreat from the US’s own long-standing position, when Abbas announced that he would seek membership of a Palestinian state at the UN in September, Obama immediately said he would oppose it. Is this what Obama meant when he said he was going to be a president “for change”: to retreat from a long-held US position on non-admissibility of acquisition of land by force? Israeli spokespersons thundered that it was a unilateral move that would undermine the “peace process.” This strange animal has been on life support for nearly two decades. It is a never-ending dance in a circle that leads the Palestinians nowhere. It serves Israel’s purpose to have a “peace process,” the fraud amplified by a sympathetic Western media and applauded by the US creating the impression of activity when none is taking place. After all, the so-called peace process has been underway since 1993; what have the Palestinians achieved in all these years?
The Oslo Accords were to lead to the creation of a Palestinian state within five years; it is now 18 years since Oslo but there is no Palestinian state, only Bantustans into which the Israelis have herded the Palestinians to live in patchwork of isolated pockets. The Zionists are even busy ethnically cleansing the Palestinians even from the remaining 22% of Palestine that remains under Zionist colonization. Since Abbas is totally dependent on the US and Israel for survival, he is forced to do their bidding rather than serve the interests of the Palestinian people.
It is thus not surprising to discover that the PA’s much-vaunted move to seek statehood at the UN in September may fizzle out. Sources close to Abbas are reported to have said that the PA is conducting secret talks with the European Union and the Arab League aimed at revising their proposed resolution ahead of the General Assembly meeting in September. In a complete about-turn, the proposed new version will seek to upgrade the PLO’s status within UN institutions, but not to seek an official declaration of independence!
This dramatic U-turn is far removed from the original hype over a bid for statehood. All the fanfare and highly publicized travel by Abbas’s entourage to far-flung capitals has turned into another self-inflicted wound. It is inevitable that politics of collaboration will result in humiliation.
To oppressed people everywhere, the Palestinians are an inspiration. Their ability to remain steadfast in the face of such immense odds is proof that injustice, even when supported by the most advanced weaponry of the most powerful superpower, can be resisted. But Abbas has allowed Israel to fragment the Palestinians into separate groups. The refugees in the camps are almost completely excluded from the political process. Rather than building the Palestinians’ inner strength, Abbas seeks the approval of the US and Israel. The two are inseparable and in any case, they are not interested in giving the Palestinians their rights. What the Palestinian leadership must understand is that what is taken by force will not be returned through negotiations. The Hizbullah in Lebanon did not negotiate with the Zionists to liberate their occupied lands; they had to wage armed struggle against the alien invaders and ultimately drove them from much of their territory.
The Palestinians will secure their legitimate rights only when they escalate the cost of the occupation of Palestine to a level that the Zionists cannot afford. Neither the nonsensical peace process nor the UN, that facilitated the theft of the Palestinians’ land in the first place, are avenues that the Palestinians should waste their time with.