by Zafar Bangash (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 39, No. 12, Safar, 1432)
The release of more than 1,600 secret documents by al-Jazeera TV on January 23 pertaining to complete surrender by the Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiators has confirmed what people have known all along.
The release of more than 1,600 secret documents by al-Jazeera TV on January 23 pertaining to complete surrender by the Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiators has confirmed what people have known all along. The PA consists of opportunists and Zionist collaborators who are prepared to sell every Palestinian right if only they are allowed to retain some semblance of power and authority. The secret documents reveal how desperate the PA interlocutors are for a deal — any deal — as long as they can say to the Palestinian people they secured one through “negotiations.”
Over a 10-year period, they abandoned every position they had started with. Nothing was considered sacrosanct; there was no concession they were not prepared to make provided the Zionists would just say “yes.” The Zionists were not prepared to offer them even that figleaf. The PA told the Zionists and their US-backers that the 1967 borders were negotiable; that the Zionists could have the whole of Jerusalem (“Yerushalayim”, according to Saeb Erakat, speaking to his Zionist masters, telling them this is more than the Jewish people have ever controlled in their entire history); Israel could annex illegal Jewish settlements and Palestinians would abandon the right of return because the influx of “six million Palestinians would undermine the Jewish character of Israel”, according to Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the PA leader, in one meeting.
Who gave the PA the authority to make such concessions? Abbas’s term as president of Palestine expired a year ago and he has refused to hold new elections because the PA would be wiped out. The PA is maintained in power by the US and the Zionists because they need some Palestinians — any Palestinian — to continue the charade of the peace process. But all that the so-called peace process has achieved is to facilitate the colonization of more Palestinian land even if it has enriched members of the PA. These Zionist collaborators have become extremely rich, like their counterparts in the rest of the Middle East while the Palestinian people have suffered, becoming more impoverished.
By abandoning the right of return, the PA has retreated from UN resolution 194 that has reaffirmed this position every year since its adoption in 1948. It was also on the basis of accepting General Assembly resolution 194 that the Zionist State of Israel was accepted as member of the UN. Its membership was contingent on the right of return of the Palestinian people. While not realized yet, the principle of the right of return has been reaffirmed consistently. On what authority did the PA abandon this position?
Even more critical is its position on Jerusalem. Despite Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem in 1967, no country in the world, not even the US, has accepted its legality. Yet the Zionists are involved in furious construction transforming the city’s demography. A relentless campaign of ethnic cleansing is also underway to make it more “Jewish”. In the last two years, more than 10,000 Palestinians from East Jerusalem have had their residency rights revoked. The pretext could be as flimsy as marrying someone outside the city or buying real estate elsewhere thereby the Zionists asserting that the person is not a resident of Jerusalem. Jews born in the US, Canada or Britain, for instance, could arrive in Occupied Palestine, go to Jerusalem and they would be considered “residents.”
The Palestine Papers, as they have been dubbed, also confirm how closely the Americans are aligned with the Zionists. In a meeting in June 2008, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice openly advocated Israel’s position and demanded the PA accept it otherwise they would not have their state. Even while the PA representatives abandoned their claim to Jerusalem, Rice insisted they must also accept the legality of Ma‘ale Adumim, an illegal settlement of 30,000 east of Jerusalem. The PA negotiators proposed that Israel annex all illegal Jewish settlements, including Ariel (Jewish population 18,000), but the Israelis wanted more.
What the Palestine Papers confirm is the deep betrayal by the PA of the rights of the Palestinian people. They were hooked on easy US money for selling the rights of their people. The papers also confirm the Islamic group Hamas’s position that Israel and the US totally disregard international law. Why then should the occupiers uphold it? And what options do the Palestinians have to liberate their land except continued armed struggle?