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Negotiating peace not surrender

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By Dr Firoz Osman – Media Review Network

There is widespread scepticism in the Arab and Muslims world that the charade of negotiations in Washington between Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah and the PLO, and right-wing hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, will lead to any substantive agreements.

 US president Barack Obama has his eyes on the mid-term November elections, hoping to curry favour with the powerful Israeli Lobby, AIPAC.

Netanyahu, with his eyes on his wobbly coalition, rejects any permanent freeze on settlement activity, insisting on a “Jewish” state, rejects any sovereignty to any independent Palestinian state, rejects the Right of Return, and is uncompromising on sharing Jerusalem.

 Israel’s strategy was formulated by former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir before the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference, which was to engage in negotiations with the Arabs for the next 20 years or more without offering them any concession over an inch of the territory of Greater Israel. Significantly, Shamir’s right-hand man at the Madrid Conference was Netanyahu.

Mahmud Abbas has his eyes on restoring a semblance of credibility for Fatah, whose support and respectability has rapidly evaporated. He lacks the authority to negotiate and make concessions on behalf of the Palestinians. His term in office as the PA chairman ended almost two years ago. Also, the PLO Executive Committee's powers on which he relies to justify going to the direct negotiations and representing the Palestinian people in them are illegal, because that has expired about 10 years ago. Prior to his departure for Washington, only nine members of the PLO Central Committee attended the recent meeting, not reaching the required quorum and thereby nullifying any decision that Abbas makes. He has repeatedly backtracked on his pledges, especially when his paymasters threaten to defer salaries of the 160000 Fatah employees. This has destroyed his honour and that of the entire Palestinian people in the eyes of both the Arabs and the Islamic world despite the presence of some Arab leaders with whom he found himself in Washington. The PA has betrayed the just Palestinian cause, becoming an extension of the oppressive Israeli security services, collaborating with the occupiers against their own people.   The PA evolved from the discredited Oslo Accords for the sole benefit of Israel. Not only do they provide a negotiator to sign away Palestinian rights, but the PA became a corrupt subcontractor absolving Israel from its obligations as an occupier. Israel actually collects taxes from Palestinians on behalf of Palestinian Authority and in this way has total control over cash flow. He who pays the piper calls the tune! Israel’s grand strategy, the Jordan Option, to maintain a Jewish majority in Eretz Israel, is to push out the Palestinians from the West Bank, isolate the Palestinians in the Gaza strip, and confine the 1948 “Israeli Arabs” as a minority. Israel’s failure to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians forced them to consider the creation a Palestinian “state’ in the West bank and Gaza, with no control over borders, water, security, communication or development, i.e. a Bantustan. This requires the cooperation of the PLO/Fatah/PA leadership to play a quisling role and suppress all resistance by Hamas, Islamic Jihad or any other resistance movements against the Apartheid entity. Israel and its allies’ will confer the corrupted PA with international recognition, extracting concessions from these “Palestinian leaders” depriving the Palestinians their legitimate political rights. Israel will then become a ‘respected’ nation of the world, having fulfilled its obligations to create two-state solution, one Israeli and one Palestinian. A Bantustan known as Palestine with a president, a flag and a national anthem will be born. In an interview with a Jordanian newspaper Al Sabeel in July, Khalid Meshaal, leader of Hamas, clarified why his movement repudiated the PA’s current negotiations with Israel. He acknowledged that negotiations as a means and a tool may be acceptable and legitimate at certain points in time, it must be “conducted within a clear framework and a specific philosophy, within a context, vision, rules and regulations”. He warned against negotiations “as the sole strategic option in the service of which all other options are ruled out”, because “negotiation without resistance and without any power cards are virtually heading for surrender”. Other than Hamas and Islamic Jihad, most of the other factions of the PLO, as did many within the Fatah movement, rejected Abbas’ capitulation to the pressure and demands made by the USA, Israel and their Arab collaborators. In an interview published in the Independent newspapers (05/09/10), the SA ambassador to the PA in Ramallah, Dr Ted Pekane, emphasised the importance of unity amongst the disparate faction in confronting a common enemy. Sharing the ANC’s experience with Fatah and Hamas in his attempt to bridge the gap, he is well placed to advice them in facing “the oppression (that is) in some ways cruder than apartheid.” Pekane stressed that SA will maintain its ties with Israel, and “only if the (Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas) asked us to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel would we consider packing our bags”. Sixty years after its creation, Israel has failed to gain acceptance and legitimacy in the region. Talks with Abbas, direct or indirect, lasting a year or decades, will not confer on Israel any legitimacy, because Abbas, and any of the Arab rulers that accompany him, themselves lack legitimacy from their people. Hamas, the democratically elected representatives of the majority, cannot be marginalized if true peace and justice are to be achieved.