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Ab-A$$ Rejects the U.S., Failed Oslo Accords—Now What?


NOVANEWS

Abbas Rejects the U.S., Failed Oslo Accords—Now What? 

Zionist puppet of Jordan’s King Abdullah II (r) welcomes Zionist puppet Mahmoud Ab-A$$ at the Royal Palace in Amman, Jan. 29, 2018. Following their meeting, the Jordanian monarch urged the international community to “fulfill its responsibilities” toward Palestinians in Jerusalem and support UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees. (KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March/April 2018, pp. 16-17

Two Views

Abbas Is Right. Why Does Israel Keep Saying He’s Wrong?

By Gideon Levy

THE JOLLY CHOIR is shrieking again: Mahmoud Abbas. You have to see the responses to his speech to understand the extent to which Israel is speaking with one horrifically uniform voice, the extent to which there is no more left and right, no real argument and no ideological pluralism—only a blind, deafening nationalistic snarl.

From Nadav Eyal (“a wacky, despicable speech”) to Ben Dror Yemini (“delusional ideology”), they all competed for who will attack Abbas more. Nobody faced up to what he said. After all, he swore at Donald Trump, the champion of refined rhetoric, “may your house be demolished,” and the Israelis with their sensitive ears were oh so appalled. And he said colonialism, and the self-victimizing Israelis yelled: “anti-Semitism.” Nobody said what was incorrect in his speech and what was anti-Semitic about it. Except perhaps for “the Dutch fleet that brought Jews here,” Abbas spoke the truth. It’s hard to swallow. Israel chose to shriek. It always does when it has no answers.

Abbas said the Oslo agreement was over. Indeed, what is left of it, some 20 years after the final-status agreement was due to be signed? Israel did everything it could to sabotage it. Every soldier who invades Area A territories every night and every prisoner left in prison from before the Oslo agreement is a violation of it.

The current government and its supporters objected to Oslo, so now they’re offended when Abbas says it’s over? Abbas told the truth.

“We will no longer accept American sponsorship,” Abbas said. Does he have any choice? What is he supposed to do, bow his head to resounding slaps? Kneel before a president who ignores the occupation?

Wasn’t he telling the truth when he protested against Trump’s deranged argument that the Palestinians foiled the negotiations? A superpower that punishes the occupied instead of the occupier—that’s an inexplicable matter. Instead of stopping to finance and arm the occupier, the United States is stopping the funds to the rescue organization assisting the occupied party’s refugees. It’s insane. Abbas responded with restraint. American Ambassadors Nikki Haley and David Friedman are indeed friends of the occupier and enemies of international law; how can those two oddballs be described in any other way?

But the main shock happened when Abbas touched the rawest Israeli nerves and classified Zionism as part of the colonial project. What is incorrect here? When a sinking colonial power promises a country it isn’t ruling yet to a nation whose absolute majority doesn’t live in it, while ignoring the nation that does—what is it if not colonialism? When more than half the country is promised to less than a tenth of its residents, what is it if not a terrible injustice?

It’s hard to hear, but it’s the truth. The Balfour Declaration cannot be read differently. And what is more proper than to ask the British to apologize for it and now stand beside the Palestinians after all the years of being evicted and dispossessed, beginning with Balfour and continuing to this day?

Establishing Israel served the imperialist West. Abbas is right. Israel is seen as the last Western outpost against the Arab savages, as South Africa’s apartheid regime was seen by the same West as the last outpost against the communists and the blacks.

Then came the Holocaust and Israel became a rightful, just refuge, but this too was at the Palestinians’ expense. The world should have compensated them by liberating them from the 1967 occupation and given them equal rights or a state. That’s what Abbas was talking about.

Abbas is far from being the perfect statesman. He’s not a democrat. He’s unpopular, perhaps corrupt, certainly pathetic in his insistence on the dead two-state solution. But he’s the most peace-seeking, nonviolent Palestinian statesman imaginable. This is why he is so dangerous to Israel. This is why Binyamin Netanyahu celebrated his speech, echoed by the national choir. Israel wants everyone to be [Hamas leader and Gaza Prime Minister] Yahya Sinwar. It would make the occupation even more convenient.


Copyright © Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd. All rights reserved.

 

Palestinians Deserve—and Will Get—a More Serious Leadership

By Rami G. Khouri

THE CRUSHING IRONY for Palestinians today is that their cause remains widely supported by over 120 governments and billions of ordinary men and women around the world, yet the Palestinian leadership is a case study in hapless incompetence that verges on national shame. This was confirmed again in mid-January, when the Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) issued a policy statement after days of deliberations that is a sad example of meaningless clichés uttered by aging men whose track record of political achievement is empty—and astoundingly so, in view of the massive and sustained support around the world for Palestinian national rights.

The Central Council is supposed to fill the gap between the National Council (parliament-in-exile) that represents all Palestinians around the world, and the Executive Committee that represents the major Palestinian political factions and functions like a government cabinet, headed by the president. In fact, these three organs of government and the presidency are all moribund institutions that have neither impact nor legitimacy, for the leadership has lost touch with the ordinary Palestinians whom it is supposed to represent and serve.

So it is no surprise that after another fiery but hollow speech by President Mahmoud Abbas, the Central Council has decided to “suspend” its recognition of Israel, end security cooperation with Israel, effectively nullify the 2003 Oslo accords, and call on the world to work for the creation of a Palestinian state and end Israel’s colonization policies. These meaningless words by a powerless leadership will have no impact on anything.

It is hard to know what else to say or do in the face of such a failed leadership of a noble Palestinian people that continues to struggle, mostly nonviolently, for their peaceful statehood and end to refugeehood and exile, alongside an Israeli state that would acknowledge those rights for Palestinians. But we must do something, because simply continuing with the same inept leadership that has excluded the vast majority of Palestinians from participating in their national decision-making only guarantees that daily life conditions and future prospects for those millions of Palestinians will only worsen with every passing month—and for those in refugee camps or under Israeli siege in Gaza, it is hard to imagine how life could get any more difficult.

The Palestinians cannot force major changes in the policies of the Israeli government that continues with the same colonial, apartheid-like policies that have defined Zionism since the 1947-48 creation of Israel and the dismemberment, disenfranchisement and dispersal of the Palestinians. But 1.5 million Palestinians of 1948 have become nine million or so today, and they do have the power to do one thing, whether they live in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, as Israeli citizens inside Israel, or throughout the diaspora around the region and the world.

They can and must re-legitimize their national leadership into a single movement that listens to all their views, represents them legitimately, reaches policy decisions on the basis of serious consultations and consensus that allow Palestinians to speak in a single voice, and engages diplomatically around the world with the full support of all Palestinians.

None of these dynamics exists today, which is why the current leadership of the PLO under Mahmoud Abbas is not taken seriously in the region or internationally—least of all by the majority of Palestinians themselves, who have looked elsewhere for leadership in the years since the Oslo process proved to be a failure and Yasser Arafat started to lose his credibility. The leaderless condition of the Palestinian people today is reflected in how the three most dramatic examples of pubic political action in recent years have occurred without any meaningful input from the PLO, or from the Palestinian Authority (PA) which administers limited services and regions in the West Bank and Gaza where Israel gives it permission to do so.

Those three examples are: the current campaign around the world to support Ahed Tamimi, the 16-year-old girl from a West Bank village who is detained in an Israeli jail pending a possible military court trial, because she resisted Israeli occupation and slapped an Israeli soldier; the weeks of spontaneous popular protest last summer in Arab East Jerusalem, when tens of thousands of Palestinians there defended their holy sites at the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount, for Israelis); and the ongoing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by civil society to pressure Israel to stop its mistreatment and human rights denials of Palestinians in the three arenas of occupied Palestine, the state of Israel and the disapora.

Hamas’ challenge to the PLO leadership in Gaza is another sign of the PLO’s delinquency in protecting, representing or leading the Palestinians. It is difficult now to create a whole new national leadership, given the fragmented nature of the Palestinian community. Yet the cohesion that all Palestinians feel, wherever they live, also makes it feasible to at least start consultations among themselves to find a way out of the current nightmare by giving fresh blood and new life and legitimacy to existing PLO organs.

There is no reason why we should suffer this ghastly fate of being plagued by a colonial Zionist Israeli state that steadily eats up our land, ignored by a mostly caring world that is otherwise preoccupied by more pressing issues, and abandoned by a Palestinian leadership that has become powerless, dependent on donors, docile, a purveyor of empty clichés, and largely incoherent. Such situations might lull some observers to see the end of the Palestine issue, while a more likely conclusion would be that this low point will mark the start of a process of re-birth for the nine million Palestinians who have never stopped struggling and working for their national rights since the 1930s. They are certainly not going to stop now, regardless of the poor quality of their current leaders.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USAComments (0)


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