Before we get down to more pressing business, I wish to clarify my position once again on the Israel Palestine conflict by honestly subscribing myself to each of the following statements:
A two state-solution is the only suitable outcome of this conflict – a conflict that is now effecting the third and fourth generation Israeli and Palestinian people, which only serves to further breed resentment, hatred, fear and warfare.
The Palestinian people have a right to self-determination just as much the Jewish people.
Demographically Israel must accept a two state solution – otherwise their Jewish majority may disappear completely.
A child born in Ramallah should have no fewer rights in their homeland than a Jewish child born in Brooklyn.
However, none of the above statements necessarily means that I must agree with a statement like the following: ‘The United Nations’ General Assembly should recognise the Palestinian state that Mahmoud Abbas is going to present to them in September.’ Indeed, I do not wish to subscribe myself to this assertion – But this is in no way contradicts my original proclamations. This is because as I write today an economic crisis darkly looms over the Palestinian territories, threatening to engulf its people and as this dark cloud coalesces with the fundamental legal questions surrounding this aspirational Palestinian state – I simply cannot agree to the state of Palestine as currently proposed for September, since such statehood is neither viable, nor desirable.
I also believe this bid will breed false hope, and when it inevitably becomes apparent that some ambitions will be un-attainable – a climate of anger and fury may be born. This could potentially be manipulated by terrorist organisations – perhaps even leading to a third intifada, which is simply not in anyone’s interests.
Indeed, Omar H. Rahman writing recently in Al Arabiya reported that the economic crisis looming over Palestine is ‘directly tied to their diplomatic initiative scheduled for the United Nations in September’. This dark cloud threatens to worsen largely as a result of Mahmoud Abbas’s insistence on bypassing the United States’ approval – meaning vital America aid may be severed as a result. Since in the current fiscal year of 2011, the Americans have generously bestowed the Palestinian Authority with $550 million in aid, the loss of such financial endowments will be nothing short of catastrophic to the Palestinian economy, and thus, as a consequence – crippling to the livelihoods of many Palestinians. Thiscould be avoidedif the Palestinian Authority (PA) did not push for their September statehood bid without US or Israeli approval – and it also goes against the spirit of the Oslo accords, since they require multilateralism from both countries in order for the attainment of peace (after all – there has to be two partners for peace to be successfully achieved).
It is difficult to emphasise how disastrous the loss of aid will prove to be for the Palestinian people. I should therefore point out that the Palestinian Authority is vastly dependent upon foreign aid, and it is the main source of employment in the West Bank and the Gaza strip – paying the wages of around 150,000 military personnel and civil servants. The loss of aid to the PA could thus be staggering in a country with a populace of fewer than four million. Indeed, today, the Palestinian Authority is already experiencing a budget shortfall of $500 million. This has meant they were only able to pay half the salaries of their employees in June. Such a dire situation is only going to become even more severe during this period leading up to the September bid, which will inevitablyhave an appalling effect upon the Palestinian people and their livelihoods. Does Abbas sincerely believe driving one’s population into bankruptcy is a suitable sacrifice for the realisation of a nation?
Such civilian suffering is already evident in Palestinian society, as grocery markets and stores that normally lend on credit are now beginning to refuse to do so – since no-one knows when money will begin to flow again. Moreover, bank liquidity has all but dried up – so no-one is able to get a loan. The effects of this have already been staggering. For example, Reda Eisawi, a fifty-two year old public sector engineering assistant, and a father of four, has since the halving of his $600 a month salary has resorted to walking for two hours in the height of summer from his home in Jelazon to work – simply in order to save the mere $2 bus fare:
“My life is so hard at this point (….) I don’t know how I am going to manage, let alone pay for bread for my children.”
Human suffering is not a suitable substitute for realising a people’s national aspirations – and therefore the PA should not insist on creating this destitute climate for their people, by pushing through September statehood. Perhaps in six months it will now longer be a case of Eisawi not being able to afford the bus fare, but rather he may find himself unemployed if the PA find themselves cut off from American aid – and then he (like many others) will most likely face even worse hardship (I must point out that this economic hardship has little to do with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank – Indeed, the Israeli’s have been gradually removing roadblocks and checkpoints for the past two years). Such economic hardship could prove to be fatal – both to Eisawi and his children. Is this what Mahmoud Abbas wants? Does he sincerely believe the suffering of an entire population is a worthy sacrifice for statehood? .... Continue reading
The arguments in this article are well thought out and quite interesting. However, I would like to add a few thoughts:
The first would be that since the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) merged with Hamas, I find any and all tricks by the Palestinians a sham. The PA's have by-passed all negotiations for "peace" with Israel and refuse any and all negotiations, no matter how many times the members of the Quartet changed - (remember, Egypt's Murbarak was one of those members until the U.S. administration asked him to "step down"). The "Quartet" changes as often as the Palestinians change their statements regarding reasons for not sitting down with Israel - why? Because, this "statehood" ploy is not about peace in the Middle East, or another piece of land for the Arabs, it is about removing all Jews from their land.
Neither Fatah or Hamas' Charters recognize Israel's right to exist. Every one understands the actual goal of the Arabs. To add salt to the wounds, Hamas announced yesterday that they no longer have a truce with Israel (as if they ever honored the truce since Cast Lead) and since Thursday, the terrorist attacks committed by Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, upon innocent Israeli citizens, while the world rebukes Israel for responding, is outrageous!
It may be politically correct to pretend that Fatah seeks "peace", but not acceptable under the present conditions. Fatah and Hamas haven't even been able to come to an Agreement of Understanding between the two parties and yet, the world expects Israel to accept without question and with a nod from the U.N. "statehood" for the Palestinians - all the while, bombs and missile attacks from Gaza (which is one half of the "NEW" Fatah organization). .... At this rate, "statehood" appear to be further away then when Arafat was alive.
Perhaps one of the 22 Arab nations would like to offer a piece of land for their Arab palestinian brothers - and heck, throw in Hams while you're at it - after all, they are just one big "happy" family! Think of the contributions they would add to any Arab country that would invite them to live among their citizens. .... Problem solved and to think, without one bullet fired!