Jan 04 2015

After rejecting Palestinian statehood, what next?

Published by at 1:40 pm under Articles,Palestinian politics

By Daoud Kuttab

There is an Arab saying about taking away options to people. It says’ don’t break a full loaf of bread and don’t eat from a broken loaf but feel free to eat as much as you want.’

This is the international community’s response to Palestinian efforts to end an unjust 47 year old Israeli occupation. When Palestinians use armed resistance which is legal by international law, they are called ‘terrorists’ and asked to refrain from acts that endanger the lives of Israelis whose offensive actions against the people of Gaza are legitimate self defense.

When Palestinians try popular national resistance, their actions are called  provocative and their leaders are oppressed. Israel deported (nonviolent leader Mubarak Awad) and caused the death of Minister Ziad Abu Ein as it uses excessive force against demonstrators.

Palestinians tried negotiations despite a statement by the former Israeli Prime Minister Yitshaq Shamir that Israel will drag that talks for 10 years without results. The talks have dragged 20 years without results.

An attempt to use the Security Council route was opened and then quickly shut down. An attempt to put an end date to the occupation was not acceptable by western countries despite the support of their public in overwhelming numbers. France tried to water down the Palestinian version without providing assurances that the US will indeed support it. And in the end the US bullied Nigeria to abstain in the vote and therefore didn’t even need to use its threats to veto the said resolution.

Palestinians will now move to join various international agencies having been rebuffed at the very agency that is entrusted to resolve global security and peace issues.

The world community which helped create the state of Israel using similar bullying in 1947 has now used bullying to deny the second half of that partition plan regarding the state of Palestine on a mere 22% of the land of Palestine in which Palestinians were 95% of the population.

Multiple messages are revealed by this vote. The world wants to humiliate Palestinians to go back to the uneven talks in which Israel dictates conditions rather than negotiate in good faith and based on relevant international agreements and resolutions. No attempt is given to the fact that years of negotiations have failed to produce any tangible occupation ending results.

The irony is that one of the conditions that Israel’s prime minister has demanded of the Palestinians, namely to recognize Israel’s Jewishness, has now been rejected by the Israelis themselves.  The current Israeli government and the Knesset have been dissolved in large part due to disagreements over Netanyahu’s call.

Palestinian options are not totally unlimited. They can try again in the UN Security Council in 2015 with the changes that will occur with the chances of obtaining the nine positive votes but the US which has cast a negative vote in 2014 will not worry so much any more in casting a veto.

The other option that Palestinians have now is to join the various international agencies including the Rome Statue which will pave the way for Palestine to become a member of the International Court of Justice. This will prepare the possibility of suing Israel for its crimes of war, the most important of which is the perpetual occupation and colonial settlement activities.

The UN security vote has sent home a clear message that it is not helpful to expect much from such international forums. Palestinians and their friends around the world must start thinking of a new strategy or perhaps join existing strategies that are calling for boycotts, divestments and sanctions against the Israeli occupiers. In the meantime, there is no alternative but to increase non violent resistance efforts and adopt a national liberation strategy which can gain the largest buy in from all sectors of Palestinian society.

Pushing for a security council vote might have been a clever tactic, but it clearly wasn’t well thought out and the negative consequences which many, including the Jordanian representative, had predicted, have come true. Unless the vote in the council was merely a step in a pre conceive larger that will legitimate going to the various international agencies.


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