The (unplanned) victory of the UN statehood bid

Discussion in 'Israel and Palestine' started by P F Tinmore, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. P F Tinmore
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    P F Tinmore Platinum Member

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    Amid the enthusiastic applause in New York City and the celebrations in Ramallah, it was easy to believe — if only a for minute — that, after decades of obstruction by Israel and the United States, a Palestinian state might finally be pulled out of the United Nations’ hat. Will the world’s conscience be midwife to a new era ending Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians?

    It seems not.

    But there was one significant victory at the UN for Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, even if it was not the one he sought. He will not achieve statehood for his people at the world body, but he has fatally discredited the US as the arbiter of a Middle East peace.

    Craven to Israel

    In telling the Palestinians there was “no shortcut” to statehood — after they have already waited more than six decades for justice — the US president revealed his country as incapable of offering moral leadership on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Blair’s bias

    However, the Quartet quickly discredited itself too, not least because its officials never strayed far from the Israeli-Washington consensus. Last week senior Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath spoke for most Palestinians when he accused the Quartet’s envoy, Tony Blair, of sounding like an “Israeli diplomat” as he sought to dissuade Abbas from applying for statehood.

    And true to form, the Quartet responded to the Palestinians’ UN application by limply offering Abbas instead more of the same tired talks that have gone nowhere for two decades.

    So the Palestinian leadership is stuck. Abbas has run out of institutional addresses for helping him to establish a state alongside Israel. And that means there is a third casualty of the statehood bid — the Palestinian Authority. The PA was the fruit of the Oslo process, and will wither without its sustenance.

    The (unplanned) victory of the UN statehood bid | JERUSALEMITES
     
  2. P F Tinmore
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    Entering a new phase

    Instead we are entering a new phase of the conflict in which the US, Europe, and the UN will have only a marginal part to play. The Palestinian old guard are about to be challenged by a new generation that is tired of the formal structures of diplomacy that pander to Israel’s interests only.

    The young new Palestinian leaders are familiar with social media, are better equipped to organize a popular mass movement, and refuse to be bound by the borders that encaged their parents and grandparents. Their assessment is that the PA — and even the Palestinians’ unrepresentative supra-body, the Palestine Liberation Organization — are part of the problem, not the solution.

    Until now they have remained largely deferential to their elders, but that trust is fast waning. Educated and alienated, they are looking for new answers to an old problem.

    They will not be seeking them from the countries and institutions that have repeatedly confirmed their complicity in sustaining the Palestinian people’s misery. The new leaders will appeal over the heads of the gatekeepers, turning to the court of global public opinion. Polls show that in Europe and the US, ordinary people are far more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than their governments.

    The first shoots of this revolution in Palestinian politics were evident in the youth movement that earlier this year frightened Abbas’ Fatah party and Hamas into creating a semblance of unity. These youngsters, now shorn of the distracting illusion of Palestinian statehood, will redirect their energies into an anti-apartheid struggle, using the tools of non-violent resistance and civil disobedience. Their rallying cry will be one person-one vote in the single state Israel rules over.

    Global support will be translated into a rapid intensification of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Israel’s legitimacy and the credibility of its dubious claim to being a democracy are likely to take yet more of a hammering.

    Events at the UN are creating a new clarity for Palestinians, reminding them that there can be no self-determination until they liberate themselves from the legacy of colonialism and the self-serving illusions of the ageing notables who now lead them. The old men in suits have had their day.

    The (unplanned) victory of the UN statehood bid | JERUSALEMITES
     

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