Retired U.S. diplomat says Palestinian disillusionment is the worst it’s been in 40 years, and US credibility is destroyed

Israel/Palestine
on 37 Comments

A friend with much experience and wide contacts in the Middle East passed along the following evaluation of the current situation in Israel/Palestine by an anonymous (to me, not to my friend) retired American diplomat:

The following are impressions from a week of conversations with Palestinians. Everyone I spoke to seems to have totally given up on the US, now, after the next presidential election and beyond. Every Palestinian I talked to sees the US as always siding with Israel, no matter what, and unwilling to do anything positive for the Palestinians. In the forty years that I have followed this issue, I have never seen such deep disillusionment and almost contempt for the US and its policies. And I think Palestinians were more frank with me than they are with US diplomatic representatives.

The Palestinians will go to the UN in September. Abu Mazen says he will take the request to be seated as a state to the UNSC [UN Security Council], knowing full well that the US will veto the  resolution. And when the US vetoes it, the Palestinians seem fully prepared to make this an annual exercise, taking it to the UN next year and beyond. Other Palestinians, such as Salam Fayyad, think that the Palestinians can get almost everything they want (including the right to participate in the ICC [International Criminal Court] and the ICJ [International Court of Justice]) through a UNGA [General Assembly] resolution and would prefer to avoid a full-out confrontation with the US, but even Salam seems totally disillusioned with the US, and I am not sure he is right that the Palestinians can get full participation in UN agencies through the UNGA route.

Everyone told me that there will be peaceful anti-Israeli demonstrations in September by youth groups and that Abu Mazen has met with youth leaders and encouraged them to carry out demonstrations. Everyone I talked to expects that the IDF will respond to such demonstrations by shooting, wounding and killing Palestinian demonstrators. What happens after that is problematic. [Prominent Palestinian pollster] Khalil Shikaki and others say that Palestinian security services will absolutely not shoot Palestinian demonstrators. At a minimum, they will stay in the barracks and stop all security cooperation with the Israelis. There is a real fear that the Palestinian security services will somehow be caught in the middle and that the IDF will destroy them as happened during the second intifada. I detected no appetite by Palestinians for such acts of violence as occurred during the second intifada, but there is the clear expectation that the Israelis will escalate with violence and destroy much of what has been rebuilt.

Ramallah is a bubble. There has been a tremendous amount of construction, but that building boom is not matched elsewhere in the West Bank. Palestinian East Jerusalem remains stuck in a forty-year time warp with Israeli construction continuing but the Israelis refusing to allow Palestinians to build. In Ramallah, much of the building of government structures is paid for by foreign donors. If one looks closely at privately funded building, much of it remains unfinished. The economy is a mess. Commercial banks are over-extended with the PA [Palestinian Authority] and refusing to extend new loans. Private businesses are refusing to bid on PA tenders because many of them have not been paid for previous work or supplies for several years and simply cannot afford to extend credit to the PA anymore. And as Salam Fayyad finds it more and more difficult to pay salaries, that will only constrict the economy even more, since the majority of employed Palestinians have jobs with the PA.

No one could seem to explain why the Saudis have not been paying their subsidies to the PA.  They have only coughed up $30 million dollars so far (while paying $1.4 billion to the Jordanians this year) while the Kuwaitis and Emiraties have paid nothing. I wonder about the Saudis: they are pissed off at the US for letting Mubarak fall (in their perception) and for our policy towards the unrest in Bahrain. And senior Saudis have made in the past six months some remarkably strong statements about the failures of the Obama Administration on getting serious negotiations started and our continual caving in to Israel. I wonder if the Saudis have decided to stop supporting the PA altogether since continuing to do so amounts to little more than subsidizing continued and open-ended Israeli occupation. Perhaps they calculate it’s better to let the PA collapse and let the US and Israel see how they can deal with the situation then.

Reconciliation with Hamas is on hold until after the UN action.  Salam Fayyad staying on is the major stumbling block, but most seem to not hold out much hope for real reconciliation. Whether Salam will go seems up in the air.  Salam says he has made clear to Hamas that he will not tolerate any violent acts by Hamas on the West Bank and will arrest anyone the PSS catches plotting violence. Who knows what will happen if he goes, although no one doubts Abu Mazen’s commitment to non-violence.

As for Israel, even my most optimistic Israeli friends are deeply pessimistic and see Israel as an isolated, right-wing country with no hope for negotiations. Some friends, who have been there for a very long time, said if they knew what Israel has become, they would never have made aliyah.

I have been traveling to Israel, Gaza and the West Bank for forty years now. I have never experienced the depth of disillusionment that I saw on this last trip. I think the US has finally reached the end of the road and totally destroyed its credibility. It is ironic that some Israelis seem to hold the US in about the same contempt as do the Palestinians.

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37 Responses

  1. Shingo
    August 8, 2011, 12:10 am

    Everyone I talked to expects that the IDF will respond to such demonstrations by shooting, wounding and killing Palestinian demonstrators.

    That’s because everyone knows it’s the only response Israel knows.

    I think the US has finally reached the end of the road and totally destroyed its credibility.

    I’m amazed that this wasn’t the situation a decade ealier.

    It is ironic that some Israelis seem to hold the US in about the same contempt as do the Palestinians.

    Ironic but entierly predictable. Israel is he archetypal dependent who resents the benefactor, as their dependency remains a constant reminder of their own inadequacy.

    • richb
      August 8, 2011, 11:24 am
      I think the US has finally reached the end of the road and totally destroyed its credibility.

      I’m amazed that this wasn’t the situation a decade ealier.

      The difference from a decade ago was the American Left could blame this all on Bush. With a new administration and Obama’s Nobel prize for speechmaking expectations were raised that things would be different now. But, they’re not. Recent polling shows American standing in MENA now as worse than the last year of the Bush Administration. This is not due to the Arab Spring because it was going down in 2010, also.

      If this effect was merely limited to the I/P issue it would be a good thing since for decades the U.S. has been a negative drag on everything related to I/P. But, it is bigger than that and it affects American moral standing universally. Next month it will be us versus the whole freaking World with no Cold War cover nor an idiot in the White House. Welcome to the post-American 21st Century.

      • Theo
        August 9, 2011, 8:29 am

        richb

        There are idiots who have high IQ, but cannot see the difference between white and black, (no spun intended).
        Obama is a weak and inpractical person who probably could not fix a circuitbreaker and will bend with the slightest breeze. Although I voted for him, I now consider him to be more damaging to our nation that Bush was.
        After Obama no nation in the world will ever trust us, because when even our presidents lie, who will believe anything we say.

  2. Walid
    August 8, 2011, 1:09 am

    Abbas’ scheduled application to the UNSC where an American veto is 100% assured rather than to the UNGA where it already has 120 countries supporting it and assured to pass there eventhough the UNSC veto could still embarrassingly block it says what this bogus September PR frivolity is about. He is even planning on a perpetual annual repeat of this futile excercise. His decision to yank the Goldstone from the UN human rights commission scheduled debate showed him as the point man for the other guys. A couple of months back, newly created South Sudan was granted membership within 6 days of its application to the UN; maybe it was because the big “H” did not have a role in it as with everything that taints Palestinian issues.

    • Hostage
      August 8, 2011, 11:50 am

      Abbas’ scheduled application to the UNSC where an American veto is 100% assured rather than to the UNGA where it already has 120 countries supporting it and assured to pass there eventhough the UNSC veto could still embarrassingly block it says what this bogus September PR frivolity is about.

      Every reliable source is reporting that Abbas is going to request recognition from the UNGA too. The Arab League has decided to back Palestine’s application for full UN membership. That requires votes in both the UNSC and UNGA, but the process begins in the Security Council. If the US abstains, the UNGA would then vote on the membership application. If not, the Palestinians can always introduce a separate resolution in the UNGA to upgrade its status to that of a permanent observer State.

      The US vote isn’t the most significant issue. The UN is a member of the Quartet. It endorsed the Fayyad plan to end the occupation and establish the State two years ago. The Palestinian leadership is simply following through on the UNSCO, AHLC donor, IMF, & World Bank recommendations on Palestinian recognition from earlier this year. It’s much more important to find out, for the record, whether or not the UN is willing to honor its own commitments, as the organization with ultimate and permanent responsibility for the Question of Palestine.

      BTW, it wasn’t frivolous when the Israelis went to the UN and asked for recognition of their statehood or when Jordan applied for membership in the organization every year between 1946 and 1955. Ali Abunimah’s father was a member of the Jordanian UN delegation. So, at least some of the Palestinian people from the West Bank were represented there as a result of that decision. I notice Fayyad is quoted above on Palestinian membership in the ICC. It certainly wouldn’t be frivolous if the Palestinians can obtain the protections extended to states by the UN Charter and the Rome Statute.

      His decision to yank the Goldstone from the UN human rights commission scheduled debate showed him as the point man for the other guys.

      The Haaretz reports indicated he was acting in the best interests of the people that elected him, i.e. Diskin to Abbas: Defer UN vote on Goldstone or face ‘second Gaza’ There was nothing in the belated Goldstone report that wasn’t already contained in the Dugard (Arab League Independent Fact Finding Mission), Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International reports. Abbas and the other members of the League Secretariat had long-since turned over the Dugard report to ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

      He is even planning on a perpetual annual repeat of this futile excercise.

      The hearsay report on the impressions of the anonymous diplomat above said that unnamed “Palestinians seem fully prepared to make this an annual exercise”. He didn’t attribute that idea to Abbas or Fayyad. They’ve both indicated they would demand that Israel assume responsibility for administering the territory and that the Palestinians would demand Israeli citizenship and the right to vote. I don’t think that either Fayyad or Abbas are planning on staying-on if the UN bid is unsuccessful, e.g. link to english.aljazeera.net

      • annie
        August 8, 2011, 1:28 pm

        It’s much more important to find out, for the record, whether or not the UN is willing to honor its own commitments, as the organization with ultimate and permanent responsibility for the Question of Palestine.

        and when/how will that become apparent?

      • Hostage
        August 8, 2011, 9:03 pm

        and when/how will that become apparent?

        If the General Assembly fails to upgrade the status of Palestine from that of an observer entity to that of an observer state or full member state.

        The PLO joined the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) regional group for Asia (now ESCWA) as a member State in 1977, when national liberation groups were initially invited to participate in the business of the UN. Shortly after the PLO declared the State of Palestine in 1988, it attempted to join WHO and UNESCO as a full member state. The United States threatened to defund any UN organ or specialized agency that allowed Palestine to become a member.

        The US delegation can’t repeat those previous threats, because the Security Council adopted the Quartet Road Map. It requires the members to promote recognition of the State of Palestine and membership in the UN. If the General Assembly fails to honor that commitment, then it will be endorsing the current status quo of occupation, colonization, and apartheid. That would obviously violate the obligation of all states to remove any impediment to the exercise of the Palestinian right of self-determination in accordance with the provisions of the UN Charter and the 2004 ICJ Advisory Opinion.

      • annie
        August 9, 2011, 12:36 am

        thank you

      • Hostage
        August 9, 2011, 7:02 am

        Annie, I just found out that the Seventh Circuit on Monday affirmed a lower court ruling that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld can be sued personally for damages by two American military contractors claiming they were detained and tortured in Iraq.

        I may have to take a day or two off to celebrate that ;-)

      • Walid
        August 8, 2011, 3:13 pm

        About Abbas, Hostage, I used the term “frivolous” to mean that Abbas was not pursuing the UN issue seriously and that he’s simply going through the motions. As to Jazeera and what it had to say about a Fayad-Abbas departure, it lost its credibility as a great reliable source of information for me when it took sides in Libya, Bahrain and Syria. Maybe one day my faith in it will be restored but until then, I’d put it in the same category as CNN.

        The Palestinian entity under whatever form already has the observer status at the UN since around 1978 and its current UN ambassador is Riyad Mansour. You are right that the UNSC has to give its blessings to an application to be considered by the UNGA but there is some ruling or other about a candidate finding favour with 2/3 of the current member states. At the current level of 193 members, Palestine would need 127 members to side with it and it already has 120 of them. This sort of explains the ferrying of ambassadors of minor contries to Israel to sway them against siding with the Palestinians. The US could still block acceptance but doing so against the will of 2/3 of the GA would put the US in a very awkward position.

        Sorry you had to rely on a Haaretz article to whitewash Abbas’ withdrawing of the Goldstone. For whatever excuse everyone rushed to provide for him for having done so, I’d go with the Ali Abunimah version that alluded to Israel’s blackmail using the Wataniya cell company’s licensing and Abbas’ sons having a stake in it; Abunimah wrote in October 2009:

        “Just when it seemed that the Ramallah Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leader Mahmoud Abbas could not sink any lower in their complicity with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the murderous blockade of Gaza, Ramallah has dealt a further stunning blow to the Palestinian people.

        The Abbas delegation to the United Nations in Geneva (officially representing the moribund Palestine Liberation Organization) abandoned a resolution requesting the Human Rights Council to forward Judge Richard Goldstone’s report on war crimes in Gaza to the UN Security Council for further action. Although the PA acted under US pressure, there are strong indications that the commercial interests of Palestinian and Gulf businessmen closely linked to Abbas also played a part.”

        “… Shalom Kital, an aide to defense minister Ehud Barak, said today that Israel will not release a share of the radio spectrum that has long been sought by the Palestinian Authority to enable the launch of a second mobile telecommunications company unless the PA drops its efforts to put Israeli soldiers and officers in the dock over the Israeli operation.” (“Palestinians cry ‘blackmail’ over Israel phone service threat,” The Independent, 1 October).

        Kital added that it was a “condition” that the PA specifically drop its efforts to advance the Goldstone report. The phone company, Wataniya, was described last April by Reuters as an “Abbas-backed company” which is a joint venture between Qatari and Kuwaiti investors and the Palestinian Investment Fund with which one of Abbas’ sons is closely involved. Moreover, Reuters revealed that the start-up company apparently had no shortage of capital due to the Gulf investors receiving millions of dollars of “US aid in the form of loan guarantees meant for Palestinian farmers and other small to mid-sized businesses” (See “US aid goes to Abbas-backed Palestinian phone venture,” Reuters, 24 April 2009).

        Just a day before the Abbas delegation pulled its resolution in Geneva, Nabil Shaath, the PA “foreign minister” denounced the Israeli threat over Wataniya as “blackmail” and vowed that the Palestinians would never back down.”

        link to electronicintifada.net

      • Hostage
        August 8, 2011, 10:13 pm

        About Abbas, Hostage, I used the term “frivolous” to mean that Abbas was not pursuing the UN issue seriously and that he’s simply going through the motions.

        The retired US diplomat quoted above mentioned the fact that Fayyad was seeking membership in the International Criminal Court. Abbas’s editorial in the New York Times mentioned that UN membership would allow Palestine to pursue claims against Israel in the ICJ. In today’s edition of Haaretz, Foreign Minister Lieberman said he is going to ask the “forum of eight” to cut all ties with the Palestinian Authority because:

        “The Palestinian Authority is stepping up its efforts to try Israeli officers and senior officials at the International Tribunal in the Hague,” he said. “I will demand breaking off all ties with it – no treasury officials, not the water authority and no Foreign Ministry officials (will maintain ties with the PA). You can’t get security coordination (with Israel) and also try IDF soldiers at the Hague.”

        The Palestinian entity under whatever form already has the observer status at the UN since around 1978 and its current UN ambassador is Riyad Mansour.

        Observer states can accede to UN and other international treaty agreements, like the Rome Statute of the ICC, observer entities cannot.

        there is some ruling or other about a candidate finding favour with 2/3 of the current member states. At the current level of 193 members, Palestine would need 127 members to side with it and it already has 120 of them.

        Article 18 of the UN Charter empowers the General Assembly to adopt decisions on any important question on the strength of two-thirds of the members present and voting. The number of states not present or abstaining lowers the number required. It isn’t likely that two-thirds of the the full membership will be required, since many states will probably abstain. The General Assembly can decide ordinary questions on the basis of a simple majority. The resolution granting Palestine its current privileges noted that it is one of the 131 full member states of the so-called Group of 77 and China. So it is formally recognized by at least that many UN member states.

        “… Shalom Kital, an aide to defense minister Ehud Barak, said today that Israel will not release a share of the radio spectrum

        Here we go again. Regardless of the number of times someone repeats the propaganda about the second mobile operator license, it simply doesn’t hold water. Abbas and Fayyad authorized a criminal complaint to be filed directly with the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC and called on the Arab League to establish an independent fact finding mission to be sent to Gaza. The press reported that Israel had demanded that the PA withdraw the complaint and that it deployed the threat to withhold the mobile license. Neither the complaint nor the very damning report, “No Safe Place”, have never been withdrawn. The PA ministers, the Arab League Secretariat, and the fact finding mission team members all held follow-up discussions with the Prosecutor after those reports surfaced urging him to take the case. Those meetings were held long after Israel attempted to blackmail the PA. See Israel demands PA drop war crimes suit at The Hague, 27/09/09 and the chronology in paragraphs 8-10 of the Prosecutor’s report to the UN regarding the PA complaint. Dr. Khashan accompanied by a delegation from the Palestinian National Authority and advised by Professor Vaughan Lowe of Oxford University, visited the Court on 15‐16 October 2009. On the same days, the Prosecutor was also visited by a high level Arab League Secretariat delegation and the members of the League’s Fact Finding Committee ‐ Professor John Dugard (Chair, South African), Judge Finn Lynghjem (Norwegian), Solicitor Raelene Sharp (rapporteur, Australian), Professor and forensic expert Francisco Corte‐Real (Portuguese), Professor Paul de Waart (Dutch), and Advocate Gonzalo Boye (Chilean/German).

        The Goldstone report was a belated “me too” from the UN. There are dozens of those collecting dust in the file cabinets at the UN. Conversely, the Palestinians, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Arab League took their complaints and reports straight to the ICC and have never withdrawn them. They also provided documentary evidence which established that Palestine is a state recognized by dozens of other countries. The only thing that is required to settle the dispute regarding Palestine’s statehood and its ability to deposit a ratification to the Rome Statute is a resolution from the General Assembly that unambiguously refers to it as an existing state. See The “Vienna formula”; the “all States formula”; and the practice of the General Assembly in Summary Of Practice Of The Secretary-General As Depositary Of Multilateral Treaties – and Article 125 Signature, ratification, acceptance, approval or accession in the Rome Statute of the ICC.

      • Walid
        August 9, 2011, 12:18 am

        “Here we go again. Regardless of the number of times someone repeats the propaganda about the second mobile operator license, it simply doesn’t hold water. ”

        Next time I read something by Abunimah, I’ll remember your good advice that he’s another propagandist.

      • Hostage
        August 9, 2011, 6:27 am

        Next time I read something by Abunimah, I’ll remember your good advice that he’s another propagandist.

        It won’t hurt to look into the facts regardless of who does the reporting. I understand that Abunimah doesn’t like Fayyad or the two state solution, but that doesn’t justify fabricating sensational claims like “Fayyad just gave away your right of return”. I’ve read and re-read the Haaretz article about the Palestinian state that Abunimah cited. All that it said on the issue of refugees was:
        Q: Your plan takes into consideration the need to absorb refugees.

        A: Of course, Palestinians would have the right to reside within the State of Palestine.

        So, Abunimah is either prone to exaggeration or he spent the money his parents gave him for law school on something else. In any event, nothing Fayyad said there surrendered or waived anyone’s right of return – and I find that sort of sloppy reporting is pretty typical.

      • Walid
        August 9, 2011, 9:45 am

        Hostage, looks like you didn’t believe the leaked Palestinian Papers about Abbas, Erekat & Co giving away the store and you must think that Fayyad’s and Netanyahu’s economic report on how wonderfully the WB economy grew in 2010 was great news.

      • Hostage
        August 10, 2011, 12:26 am

        Hostage, looks like you didn’t believe the leaked Palestinian Papers about Abbas, Erekat & Co giving away the store

        Apparently that wasn’t the case, since Netanyahu refused to accept the negotiations between Olmert and the PA as the starting point for renewed talks. In any event, it appears the Palestinians are setting their own agenda on the 67 borders in their UN bid.

        The minutes of the Palestine Papers say that Abbas had stipulated that the entire final agreement, and the specific provisions on refugees, would have to be approved by a national referendum, including a vote conducted in the diaspora. The Israelis have adopted a similar position that would require an Israeli national referendum. So I can’t get too excited about some of the brainstorming revealed in the memos – particularly since there were no Israeli negotiators present during the March 2009 meeting with Abbas and his own Negotiations Support Unit (NSU). That’s when he supposedly gave up the right of return.

        972 Magazine recently ran an article which said that polls conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research indicated 90 percent of the refugees preferred compensation in lieu of the right of return to Israel. Abbas’s comments during the March 2009 meeting (above) reflected that there would be a firm requirement for Israeli compensation in any event. Ali Abunimah took issue with the poll because “the question offered a choice between return and compensation as if refugees are entitled to only one or the other.”

        In reality, opting to exercise the “right of return” will undoubtedly work against an individual’s “right to compensation”. Resolution 181(II) allowed the states to expropriate property from the members of ethnic and religious minority groups. It gave the Supreme Courts of the respective states the discretion to decide upon the amount of compensation in such cases. Resolution 194(III) did not alter that situation. So far, Israel has never treated internally displaced Arab citizens as refugees and has never compensated those existing “present but absent” Palestinian citizens for the property turned over to the Israeli state custodian. The existing Israeli Supreme Court precedents beginning with CApp 41/49 Simshon Palestine Portland Cement Factory LTD. v. Attorney-General (1950) have cited Hans Kelsen’s article, “Theorie generale du droit international public, problemes choisis”, in vol. 49 of the Recueil des Cours of the Hague Academy of International Law:

        “In so far as concerns debts due to individuals who become, as a result of territorial changes, citizens of the successor State, here there can arise no question of a legal succession based upon principles of general international law itself. The relations between the State and its citizens are in the exclusive jurisdiction of the State in question which can therefore, acting in full accord with international law, decide quite freely whether it will take upon itself debts such as these” (p. 329).

        The next item on the agenda during that same NSU meeting was the complaint against the IDF that had been filed with the ICC and the difficulty presented by the disputed status of PA statehood or in finding another friendly state to formally refer the matter to the Court.

        Ali Abunimah has written editorials that say the PA bid for statehood is nothing more than an elaborate farce that will somehow delay the restoration of Palestinian rights. But he seems oblivious to the fact that only states have the necessary legal standing to pursue most of those Palestinian rights. His comparisons to the situations arising from the Israeli occupation of Lebanon and Syria doesn’t mention the pending complaint filed by the Palestinian government with the ICC. That seems to be of the utmost concern to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Obtaining recognition will facilitate the PA’s pursuit of claims on behalf of its own citizens, refugees, and Palestinians in neighboring states.

      • Hostage
        August 10, 2011, 12:43 am

        P.S. I’ve commented several times that any final settlement agreement that violates the norms of international law or fails to provide some of the victims in the diaspora adequate relief would, beyond any doubt, become the subject of subsequent lawsuits. Holocaust victims have initiated lawsuits and have obtained settlements decades after the fact, e.g. Swiss Banks in re: Holocaust Victims Assets Litigation US District Court, Eastern District N.Y. (CV 96-4849) The notion that a final settlement will end third party claims or that states can ever agree to waive third party “individual” rights is pretty doubtful.

        Many practitioners look at the final political settlement as the starting point for any necessary litigation. For example, several years ago the author of this article discovered that Intel’s Fab 18 was located on Palestinian land that had been expropriated in violation of the armistice agreements. Abraham Sofaer, the George P. Shultz Distinguished Scholar and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and a former federal judge who served as legal adviser to the State Department from 1985 to 1990, stated that the main obstacle to a private Palestinian lawsuit was the absence of a treaty resolving the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians establishing the framework for settling property claims:

        “Without that,” Sofaer said, “the courts are going to be very reluctant to get involved” in such cases. But if peace ever comes, he said, I’d be very happy to represent the Palestinians.”

      • Walid
        August 10, 2011, 4:05 am

        “… that the entire final agreement, and the specific provisions on refugees, would have to be approved by a national referendum, including a vote conducted in the diaspora. The Israelis have adopted a similar position that would require an Israeli national referendum. ”

        Hostage, the Palestinians and Israelis having been claiming all along that any substantial changes to anything would be subjected to a referundum but this has never stopped Israel’s expansion of its borders and never stopped the Palestinians from swallowing it. The only serious element in this referundum business is Israel’s law that says in so many other words that not an inch of acquired territory would be relinquished without the Israeli public voting on it. As to the Palestinians, with exception to the Hamas fundies, they are so much down and out that they’d vote to take almost anything thrown at them.

        The legal points you listed for the rest of the world would be good enough but Israel does not recognize international laws or UN resolutions when it feels that they are not in Israel’s interest and when it does recognize some of them, it does so according to its own interpretation that’s always be in Israel’s favour. When Dersh told them to disregard international laws, he was preaching to the converted.

        I agree with Abunimah’s assessment that the PA’s limp bid at statehood is a farce (I called it frivolous) in the same way Oslo was and just another artifice to stall Palestinians getting their rights. Israel has been claiming all along that any compensation to be paid in an eventual settlement would involve only those born in pre-48 Palestine, which now totals about 10% of those that fled. In another 10 years, this portion will drop to zero since the youngest of them is now 63 years old. Whatever final financial compensation would someday be agreed to, the tab would be picked up by the Saudis and Americans so neither is interested in a rapid solution.

      • Hostage
        August 10, 2011, 6:24 am

        PA’s limp bid at statehood is a farce (I called it frivolous) in the same way Oslo was and just another artifice to stall Palestinians getting their rights.

        Nonetheless, the Israeli government is lobbying for all its worth to head-off the UN bid. The only way the Palestinians will ever secure those rights is by being recognized as the citizens of a state.

        The fear of being dragged into the ICC is probably the only thing that will ever get an Israeli official to reconsider a one state solution along the lines suggested by Abunimah. A South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission may be the only insurance against an appearance in the dock at the Hague after September (i.e. Them-r-Us).

        One thing’s for sure, the creation of another Bantustan won’t stall things much, since apartheid and persecution are both within the jurisdiction of the new criminal Court – and the 2004 ICJ advisory opinion already laid the ground work for the indictment of the responsible Israeli officials.

  3. radii
    August 8, 2011, 1:37 am

    Palestinians are right to give up on us as a nation … I just hope they’re cleared-eyed enough to see that we are a massive and powerful creature controlled by a tiny parasite and once we get free from this parasite we will be just and fair, but for the time-being they must wage their struggle without us (as in US gov’t) … except for a tiny percentage of enlightened people … if they can follow Gandhi’s and Martin Luther King’s example and remain non-violent no matter how cruel and vicious the zionist attacks are to come public opinion will sway strongly in their favor to an overwhelming crescendo that ends the Occupation and the zionist land-grabs and imposition of open-air prisons

  4. ToivoS
    August 8, 2011, 2:28 am

    Henry do have to say this sounds like good news. The sooner the Arab states and the moderate Palestinians accept that the US is part of the problem and not part of the solution the better. They can then pursue their own interests and deal with the Americans with the realization that we are their enemies in total alliance with the Zionists.

    It has been so sickening over the years watching Palestinian leaders entering into negotiations with the US as if we were a neutral party — the PA looked like such pathetic fools thinking that the US was anything other than Israel’s lawyer.

  5. Brewer
    August 8, 2011, 5:05 am

    “Other Palestinians, such as Salam Fayyad, think that the Palestinians can get almost everything they want (including the right to participate in the ICC [International Criminal Court] and the ICJ [International Court of Justice]) through a UNGA [General Assembly] resolution ”

    OK. I’m a Kiwi.
    No axe to grind, known for our addiction to fair play, maybe a little naive in geopolitics.
    Can anyone tell me why it takes a UNGA resolution to grant any section of the populace of this World “the right to participate in the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice?” Isn’t there a contradiction here?
    Doesn’t “International” mean “all people”.
    Doesn’t “Justice” mean a fair deal?

    America. You tear me up.

    • chet
      August 8, 2011, 12:43 pm

      “Can anyone tell me why it takes a UNGA resolution to grant any section of the populace of this World “the right to participate in the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice?”

      Because Israeli Zionists and their lobby, AIPAC want it that way.

    • annie
      August 8, 2011, 1:34 pm

      brewer, i think you have to be a UN member state or a member of a UN member state to use these courts. the icj settles disputes between states and the icc you have to be a member of a state to bring action. from wiki’s icc page

      The court can generally exercise jurisdiction only in cases where the accused is a national of a state party, the alleged crime took place on the territory of a state party, or a situation is referred to the court by the United Nations Security Council.[17] It is designed to complement existing national judicial systems: it can exercise its jurisdiction only when national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute such crimes.[18][19] Primary responsibility to investigate and punish crimes is therefore left to individual states.[20]

      • Hostage
        August 8, 2011, 10:25 pm

        The court can generally exercise jurisdiction only in cases where the accused is a national of a state party, the alleged crime took place on the territory of a state party, or a situation is referred to the court by the United Nations Security Council.

        That is correct. Here are the remaining situations in which the Court can exercise it’s jurisdiction:

        Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute covers non-member states “If the acceptance of a State which is not a Party to this Statute is required under paragraph [12]2, that State may, by declaration lodged with the Registrar, accept the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court with respect to the crime in question. The accepting State shall cooperate with the Court without any delay or exception in accordance with Part 9. ”

        Article 15 states “The Prosecutor may initiate investigations proprio motu [i.e. personal initiative] on the basis of information on crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.”

  6. rjcrawford33
    August 8, 2011, 7:12 am

    I was recently in Israel for the first time. This is a depressing and realistic assessment, in my view. The Israelis will not negotiate while they are in a position of strength, but will have far fewer options when they no longer are.

  7. upsidedownism
    August 8, 2011, 10:11 am

    What else can the PA do besides try the UN? The Palestinians are watching their country disappear before their eyes, bulldozed house after bulldozed house, under Israel’s relentless campaign of ethnic cleansing. Observing Palestine is like watching a friend slowly die, or like being a scientist accumulating data on a much loved species that indicates that its going extinct. Palestine appears to be a case of a managed extinction. Israel is the agent of this extinction, but the USA is the manager.

  8. Richard Witty
    August 8, 2011, 11:08 am

    It was an insightful article. Thanks for posting it.

  9. rachelgolem
    August 8, 2011, 12:16 pm

    I could come up with a long drawn out article about why there is no peace settlement. But all I have to do is say is what Syrians are doing to each other right now, is exactly what they would do to the Jews, or “Zionists” if they had the chance.

    The only thing stopping them is the “racist, facist, imperialist, colonialist, apartheid Zionist” army that is currently NOT shooting Jews in Tel Aviv. Forgive me for saying this, but we are just better than they are.

    • Mooser
      August 8, 2011, 12:30 pm

      “Forgive me for saying this, but we are just better than they are.”

      ROTFLMSJAO!!!! Yes Rachel, you just unquestionably demonstrated your superiority! I’m convinced!

      • Mooser
        August 8, 2011, 2:35 pm

        “I’m convinced!”

        What is so absurdly funny to me is this: Honestly, if it wasn’t for Israel and Zionism, I would probably be one of the worst Jewish chauvanists around. Sure, getting the facts on circumcision was a shock, a nasty one, but I could overlook that (like I have a choice?).
        But Zionism and Israel? There’s goes my ethnic pride, right down the drain.

    • Donald
      August 8, 2011, 12:37 pm

      “But all I have to do is say is what Syrians are doing to each other right now, is exactly what they would do to the Jews, or “Zionists” if they had the chance.”

      So all Syrians are the same? The ones shooting and the ones shot, they are all the same?

      “Forgive me for saying this, but we are just better than they are.”

      Which “we” are you talking about? You sound like someone who makes no distinction between a murderer and his victims, so I would not want to lump you in with people of any ethnic background who don’t do that.

    • Bumblebye
      August 8, 2011, 1:11 pm

      Ah yes, Rachel Golem, settler in East Jerusalem, living on stolen land, probably in stolen home, maybe even having used forged documents to win “title”. Got more than 4 yet? Teaching them to behave like tha youngsters in this photograph?
      link to angryarabscommentsection.blogspot.com
      with a description of settlers by Amos Oz. 10yr old boy and teen/young woman attacking a middle aged Palestinian woman while others look on, or try to get their kick in, and soldiers within inches, not even feet, just ignore the attack. Such superior behaviour from the Jewish version of the KKK.

    • justicewillprevail
      August 8, 2011, 1:48 pm

      You already are doing it, much worse than the Syrians. Of course, you don’t count that since it is the original inhabitants of your country that you beat up, kill and imprison without trial. Assad and Yahoo – two of a kind.

    • Shingo
      August 8, 2011, 6:30 pm

      Forgive me for saying this, but we are just better than they are.

      You’llbe forgiven the day Assad starts dumping white phosphorous on children.

      BTW. You killed more civilians in 28 days than Assad has killed in 4 months- so the only thing you’re better at it would seem, is mass murder.

  10. eljay
    August 8, 2011, 12:28 pm

    >> Forgive me for saying this, but we are just better than they are.

    It’s just like the slogan says:

    “Israel: We may not be as good as the best but, hey, at least we’re not as bad as the worst!”

    Definitely something to be proud of. :-)

    • Chaos4700
      August 9, 2011, 12:27 am

      Forgive me for saying this, but we are just better than they are.

      Forgive me for saying this, rachel, but you are the 21st equivalent of an Aryan supremacist.

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