Israel can be expected to be hostile to the Palestinian UN bid for statehood. The present Israeli government is not only not serious about peace, deliberately seeks to subvert all peace efforts and abort any attempts at arriving at Palestinian statehood, be it through negotiations or through the UN Security Council.
The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has no positive vision for the future of the Israelis or Palestinians. Its arrogance, greed, lack of respect for human rights and lawless behaviour will prove costly both to the Israelis, primarily, and to others in the region.
Time and divine justice, however, will take care of it and of its dark, evil vision, as it has taken care of some evil Arab tyrants and abusers of human rights who were not worse than Israel in fact - a lesson for those who care to learn.
America’s hostility to the Palestinian UN bid is unfortunate. In principle, one did not expect the US - especially under the present administration - to object so strongly to the Palestinian bid, and to lobby shamelessly against it. For one thing, the Palestinians are only asking for what is rightfully theirs. They want a state on their land. For another, America, represented by other administrations as well as this very administration, recognises the right of Palestinians to statehood. So, why the objection, the hostility and the meanness?
It is because, the Obama administration keeps reminding us, and farcically so, agreement on Palestinian statehood should be reached through negotiations? Did Israel - an aggressor, occupier and usurper of other people’s lands - achieve statehood through negotiations? Clearly not.
Assuming, however, that there is logic in that argument, is Israel now truly and genuinely willing to negotiate with the Palestinians? Absolutely not. The Palestinians have been negotiating with this government and others for very long uselessly and fruitlessly.
The sad, shameful thing is that the American administration knows this very well. It knows that the Netanyahu government cannot be negotiated with. Israel want to drag the Palestinians to an absurd “negotiations” process to gain time to build more settlements and swallow more Palestinian land, making it impossible for the Palestinians to find any left on which to build a state of their own. This is the only intention of the Netanyahu government.
Do not the American president and his secretary of state know this? They do.
Some people give reasons for the American administration’s capitulation to and complicity with the Netanyahu government. No matter what the reasons are, however, the current American administration’s position on Palestine is extremely damaging.
In siding with Netanyahu against the Palestinians, the Obama administration is no better than the anti-abolitionists who opposed freedom for American slaves, or than the colonialists and racists in South Africa who were abetting and promoting the apartheid regime.
Its mishandling of the situation in Palestine, its blind, pathetic and unmatched bias in favour of Israel, and its covert and overt approval of Netanyahu’s subversive, destructive acts are unforgivable. The Obama administration’s stance eventually is detrimental to the Palestinians and Israelis, and to the image of the US in our region.
Under the circumstances, and no matter what happens to the Palestinian UN bid, the Palestinians should insist on their present position: no negotiations with Israel without prior guarantees and preconditions, on the one hand, and sustained pursuit of Palestinian state at all international organisations or fora, on the other.
True negotiations are a process during which one builds on previous achievements. The Palestinians have been negotiating with Israel for decades. Some progress has been made, some steps have been taken and some agreements have been signed. The Palestinians cannot be expected to go back to square one, as if nothing had been agreed upon either in negotiations or at the UN, every time an Israeli government comes to power.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is doing exactly the right thing at this point in time. He is showing a lot of courage and unlike Netanyahu and Obama, real leadership. Nothing is to be gained from dishonest, fruitless negotiations and there is no honour in working with a peace “patron” such as the Obama administration, which lost all credibility.
For the Palestinians, nothing is more important now than showing self-confidence and self-reliance. The Palestinian struggle is all about principles and the Palestinians will ultimately prevail, as they have done at UNESCO a few weeks ago.
The writer is a prominent columnistat The Jordan Times, where this article was first published on Nov. 18, 2011.