Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Palestinians: Not Yet Ready For Statehood

Once again Palestinian Authority's  leader "President" Abbas, is heading to the UN to ask the General Assembly to defacto create a Palestinian state. This stunt will have no meaning in international law, and will not advance hope of a better future for Palestinians or Israelis but would be a major propaganda victory for a man who's had few victories of late, and would further demonize Israel, whilst maintaining the illusion of seeking peace. He holds out the "promise" of heading to direct talks with Israel if successful at  the UN, as an incentive to encourage gullible states to vote for this mischief making PR circus. Surely nobody believes that after years of avoiding talks, a pat on the back from the UN General Assembly will propel Abbas to the negotiating table? Especially as this ridiculous waste of time takes place while Palestinian terrorists living in part of his territory he cannot even enter, never mind control, are firing hundreds of rockets at Israel! Abbas's recent crude effort to be seen as a peacemaker is doing him no good - recent interviews he has given in English where he has suggested he could drop the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees were followed by interviews in Arabic where he assured Palestinians he had not meant it!

Let us remember that Abbas is essentially unelected - his mandate as President ran out years ago, and recent limited local elections in the Palestinian Authority, boycotted by Hamas, left his faction in 5th place! Abbas therefore represents nobody - as Israel's fiery foreign secretary Lieberman has loudly pointed out and thanks to lack of Arab support, coupled with rampant corruption, the Palestinian Authority which he controls would be bankrupt if not for Israeli & EU bailouts. Many of the PA's employees get paid infrequently and poorly at best (except for Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons who are paid generous 'wages' by Abbas's government, and always on time!). Abbas rarely leaves his base in Ramallah, because of widespread threats from his own people in other parts of the West Bank. Ironically,  he is free to travel in Israel! Any efforts on his part to unify the Palestinians in the West Bank with Gaza are stalled, if not dead in the water. 

Despite not representing anybody, leading a PA on the verge of collapse, and a presiding over a Palestinian people who dislike him intensely and who are so divided, it is hard to imagine how they will ever be reunified, Abbas will somehow explain to the UN that Palestine is ready to be a state. He'd like the members of the UN to provide him some defined borders, and ideally some generous donations to the cause. This new status of Palestine would of course be imposed on Israel, without negotiations, as something even stronger than preconditions - UN mandated preconditions - making it even less likely that there could be successful resumption of talks. 

There is of course, no benefit to Israel whatsoever in this UN bid: A successful Palestinian bid at the UN would limit Israel's ability to enter talks and even in the best case scenario, were Israel able to conclude a successful negotiation with Abbas, it is highly unlikely he could carry his people with him. Iranian backed Hamas would reject such an agreement, and would likely end up replacing Abbas (despised by most Palestinians) with their own government, either by an election or violent overthrow. Either way Palestine would become Hamasistan and Israel would be back to square one. 

If the UN was the body its founders had hoped it would be, Abbas would not even think of attempting this nonsense. If the UN were not the broken, highly expensive  talking shop that it has become, it would demand of Abbas (and Israel too) that they negotiate - no games, no preconditions, just negotiate. Start talking - days, weeks or years, keep talking. Prepare the Palestinians for compromise, because any agreement will be final, and painful for both sides (something the Palestinian street is not ready to accept). If Abbas wants a precondition then the UN, and EU  should make negotiations a  precondition to receiving further aid. What he's doing now is the appearance of effort, but really, every day he wastes is one more day Palestinians will not be building a future, and one more day young Israeli's will have to give up for army service. Its gone on far too long, and its time for the UN and the world to stop the nonsense...but of course, we all know they wont!

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