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Statehood must mean liquidation of the occupation

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By Khalid Amayreh

(source: The Palestine Information Center)

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has assured the Palestinian masses that a possible recognition of statehood by the UN won’t be at the expense of other fundamental Palestinian rights, including the paramount right of return for Palestinian refugees, uprooted from their homeland at gunpoint by Jewish invaders from Eastern Europe some 63 years ago.

Speaking during a speech in Ramallah on 17 September, Abass reiterated Palestinian grievances, reminding the international community that the Palestinian people were the only people under the sun still languishing under a foreign military occupation. “There is not a territory, or an island, or a region that has not gained its freedom and independence, except us. Our freedom, independence and statehood are therefore long overdue.” Abbas said the occupation was becoming anachronistic and it had to go by whatever means necessary.

The speech, described by PLO officials as land-mark, contained few surprises. Abbas said the PLO would remain the sole and only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people regardless of the formation of statehood. The statement is seen as a necessary assurance to those who are worried that statehood would be at the expense of the right of return for the refugees. Mr. Abbas also exhorted the Palestinians not to be lured by violence “because this is exactly what the Israelis want.” If all goes well, and the Abbas leadership does approach the UN, including the Security Council, it will be the first time the Ramallah leadership refuses to budge to American-Israeli pressure. In this case, a certain credit should be given to Abbas.

However, much attention ought to be given to political and diplomatic theatrics and other forms of wheeling and dealing expected to ensue a possible unbinding UN resolution recognizing a state of Palestine based on the pre-1967 borders.

First of all, the PA must realize that satisfying American demands wouldeffectively mean contenting ourselves with a deformed state on isolatedparts of the West Bank, probably with some East Jerusalem neighborhoods. This should be absolutely unacceptable since liberating the land from the clutches of Zionism is far more important than statehood. Moreover, the PA leadership should absolutely reject any American efforts, by Congress or the administration, to blackmail the Palestinians by way of financial or political pressure to make them reconsider or deviate from pursuing manifestly legitimate rights. Congress, as we all know, is always at Israel’s beck and call and would go to any extent to prove its loyalty and cheap subservience to the apartheid regime in occupied Palestine. More to the point, certain European states, such as Germany, won’t abandon the disgusting idea that the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims of the world must have to pay the price for whatever Adolph Hitler and his thugs did to Jews in the course of the Second World War. We must not succumb to this contemptuous stand on the part of the Merkel government. It is probably premature to predict the ultimate net-outcome of the Palestinian bid at the United Nation. The Obama administration, always in the grip of the Jewish lobby, will most likely veto any draft resolution at the UN Security Council recognizing a Palestinian state based on the 1967-borders. Moreover, a Palestinian achievement at the UN, such as gaining membership of the international organization, would have only symbolic importance, especially in the short run. In the final analysis, a real success will depend on the ability, willingness and determination of the international community to transform diplomatic achievements into tangible facts on the ground in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. This would require more determined and concerted efforts, with the collaboration and coordination of our many allies on the international arena. This is especially significant since Israel, which controls American politics and policies, can always fly in the face of the international community by seeking to abort and crush Palestinian independence efforts. Such a blunt disregard for international legitimacy would undoubtedly cost Israel and its guardian-ally, the United States, a lot of diplomatic and political capital. So the question that begs itself is whether Israel would be willing to sacrifice her international standing for the sake of crushing aspirations, even for atemporary period. Moreover, an extremist Israeli stand is likely to be strongly rejected by regional powers, including Turkey, Egypt and Iran. Even traditionally pro-western regimes such as the regimes in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates would come under internal pressure to display their rejection of Israeli insolence. Jordan in particular could face violent and sustained protests demanding the removal of theIsraeli ambassador, the severance of relations with Israel and even the abrogation of the 1994- Wadi Araba Peace treaty between Jordan and the Jewish state. As to the apartheid Israeli regime, it is quite apparent that the Jewish state will continue to play the role of the victim, mainly in order to blackmail the Palestinians and the international community for maximal concessions. This is the reason Israel is relatingto the Palestinian bid to seek UN recognition as if a Third World war were about to breakout or as if a superpower were threatening Israel with a devastating nuclear attack. Israel is reiterating the same old mendacious mantra that Palestinian “unilateralism” won’t bring peace and that negotiations were the only route that could lead to the materialization of Palestinian statehood. This argument is, of course, bereft of honesty and truth since the PA-PLO has been negotiating with Israel in vain for close to 20 years, while the Jewish state Israel was exploiting all these years tobuild more Jewish settlements and obliterating the Arab-Islamic identity of occupied East Jerusalem. Hence, the argument that only negotiations would lead to peace is a characteristic Israeli lie that ismeant to confuse and mislead international public opinion. Moreover, Israel, which has built hundreds of Jewish-only colonies on occupied Arab land and transferred hundreds of thousands of its fanatical Jewish citizens to live on land that belongs to another people, is the last country on earth that is qualified to complain about unilateralism. Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu, a man notorious for his dishonesty, has also been repeating his many mantras about Hamas, urging the PA to terminate its partnership with the Islamic movement. Netanyahu comfortably ignores and forgets his own alignment with Judeo Nazi groups such Gush Emunim, Shas and other ultra-fascist Jewish parties which advocate enslavement, expulsion or even outright physical extermination of non-Jews living in occupied Palestine. This unholy partnership between the Likud and Judeo-Nazi groups explains the virtual silence and shocking inaction of the Netanyahu government towards the latest unprovoked wave of arson, vandalism and rampage carried out by Jewish settler terrorists against Palestinian targets, including mosques, all over the West Bank. To conclude, there is a zero per cent probability that negotiations with Israel, even if such negotiations lasted for a hundred years, would achieve positive results. Hence, the remaining alternative is that the Palestinian people must act independently, even unilaterallyto achieve their legitimate goals. After all, If Israel acts unilaterally as it has been doing since its misbegotten creation 63 years ago, why shouldn’t we. Besides, the Arab, regional and international situation appears to be more adequate than ever for pursuing Palestinian statehood even without sacrificing or compromising other legitimate rights, including the right of return, the soul and heart of the Palestinian cause.