The view from the West Bank: Statehood bid? What statehood bid?

Israel/Palestine
on 50 Comments

That pretty much sums up the atmosphere in the West Bank following Abbas’ recent trip to the UN in New York to submit an application for statehood for Palestine. There was some anticipation leading up to his speech in the same way there might be excitement for a favorite football team playing on a particularly big stage. But the football team wasn’t Abbas, it was Palestine. Abbas just happened to be the guy with the microphone.

The excitement was mainly due to the fact that something was happening, as opposed to the usual nothing at all. The world was looking this way even though the Palestinians had not engaged in any violence. (Usually the world ignores the Palestinians totally unless they do something violent, which sets up an unfortunate incentive structure.) And Fatah had set up a big stage in the Duwar al Saa’a (Clock Circle), Ramallah’s second-biggest traffic circle, which they hastily renamed Arafat Square (though no one actually calls it that). They had also paid musicians, traditional dancers, and poets to give free performances. And they let everyone off work.

So those “spontaneous” “rallies” in support of Abbas—yeah, that was pretty much a free concert and a lot of people who support Palestine (not necessarily Abbas). It was surreal—not to say a bit silly—to be sitting in my flat a block from the Clock Circle watching a reporter on Al Jazeera English talking about “Arafat Square” and pointing to a group of ten people within the larger crowd waving identical placards with portraits of Abbas and calling it “a massive, spontaneous show of support for President Mahmoud Abbas.”

It was made abundantly clear in the leaked Palestine Papers that Abbas has made major concessions on Palestinian rights, which are totally unacceptable to the Palestinian public, and the Israeli government still has no serious interest in talking with him. Therefore it was a smart political move for Abbas to refuse to ‘negotiate’ with Israel as long as settlement expansion was ongoing. He knew the settlements wouldn’t stop expanding in any case, and he knew he wouldn’t get anything out of negotiations anyway. So it looked like he was ‘standing up’ to Israel when in fact he was just letting them keep doing what they wanted to do anyway, without humiliating himself through a sham ‘peace process.’

This statehood bid was also good domestic politics. It was smart because his presidential term ended years ago, and people are less and less sure why the hell he’s still the president. He hasn’t accomplished anything, and nobody voted for him to be president this long. With the statehood bid, it once again looks like he’s standing up to the US and Israel when in fact the bid is sure to languish in committee until it’s effectively buried, at which point it will be quietly vetoed by the US.

Lucky for Abbas, no one here seriously had any expectations that anything would change on the ground due to a piece of paper handed over at the UN. The barista at the Karameh cafe in Ramallah offered the typical sentiment here when I asked him, “What did you think about Abbas’ speech?”

He shrugged. “Kwayyis.” (Good. Fine.) There is a consensus here that it was a good speech.

Bas, esh fi?” (But now what do we find here?)

He laughed. “Just talking.” He made the universal hand sign for, ‘Blah, blah, blah.’ “That’s it.”

So Abbas got his little party in Ramallah. But by the very next day, life was back to ‘normal’ (occupation as usual) as if nothing had happened. There are more soldiers in the West Bank these days manning checkpoints and harassing people, and slightly more settler pogroms. A friend offered to drive me to Tulkarem to visit another friend, and we used an alternate route to bypass a main road where settlers were randomly attacking cars. But otherwise nothing has changed at all. And nothing is expected to change any time soon.

Journalist Joseph Dana put it best: “The Palestinian leadership is trying to save a peace process based on the two-state solution by implementing the ‘corrective measure’ of seeking a state within the 1967 borders. On the surface, this seems to be a bold move. But it is really the PA’s attempt at self-preservation in a system designed to prolong the status quo.”

Amazingly, even this won’t succeed, because the US and Israel, due to domestic political considerations, foolishly reject even a slightly more sustainable status quo with a slightly larger fig leaf, but instead support Netanyahu’s utterly unsustainable project of total Israeli domination and intransigence, without even minor checks allowed by anyone whatsoever. It’s Bibi’s way or the highway. I think the reason even American elites are taking exception to Netanyahu is because he’s so obviously driving Israel toward a cliff.

In case you need a reminder, here’s what the status quo means. This Saturday I was invited to give a talk about my book (Fast Times in Palestine) at the Alternative Information Center in Beit Sahour, a town north of Bethlehem. I decided to take the route bypassing Jerusalem, mainly to save myself the hassle of passing the Qalandia checkpoint and then walking from one bus station to another in East Jerusalem.

As Sandy Tolan remarked in his recent excellent article, it’s hard to go a full minute in the West Bank in any direction without seeing some sign of the occupation: a graveyard of trees that have been uprooted by soldiers or slashed and burned by settlers, masses of electrical wires strung up by the Israeli government for the settlements, an illegal Israeli garbage dump next to a Palestinian village, a massive quarry stealing even the stones, Hebrew signs pointing to settlements, sniper nests, the heart-stopping Wall or its incarnation as a Fence with a blasted perimeter and army access road flanking it, ‘industrial areas’ flying Israeli flags, segregated roads, gated communities, stolen springs. All of it expanding continuously.

In the fabled wilderness east of Jerusalem, you can still see shepherds with their flocks, but they are pushed ever further to the margins. This is no longer their domain. Idyllic scenes have become islands in a surrounding sea of devastation and disfigurement. It makes me think of a kid who wants a smaller kid’s popsicle. Knowing he can’t legally get it outright, he yanks it out of the kid’s hands, takes a giant bite that he doesn’t even really enjoy, and then throws the rest of it in the mud. The word that kept repeating over and over in my mind was, “Maniacs.”

Of course there was a checkpoint even in the bypass road (which goes through Wadi Nar, ‘Valley of Fire,’ a dramatic pass between dry hills), but the soldiers didn’t happen to stop my service taxi. I arrived in Beit Sahour and met Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, a long-time activist and writer, who was on his way to the Dheisheh Refugee Camp to bring grapes, bread, and greetings to a family he knew. They were from Al Walajeh, a village that was emptied and destroyed in 1948. Most of the village’s land fell on the Israeli side of the Green Line, but some was still left on the Palestinian side, and they rebuilt their village a couple of miles from the one that was destroyed on the land they had left.

Of course, now Israel wants this land, too. The Wall is not content to turn Bethlehem into a ghetto. It splits off perpendicular to the Bethlehem Wall to crash through Al Walajeh and separate it both from much of its remaining land, from Jerusalem, and from the two massive settlements built east and south of it.

This family had their home demolished in Al Walajeh by the Israeli army, and in a separate incident, the father was beaten severely by soldiers and hospitalized. His house has been rebuilt in Al Walajeh, but he refuses to live there because he now suffers from mental problems and is both too terrified of soldiers to set foot in his village and too heavily medicated to work. So his family moved into a refugee camp.

See how enlightened the Israeli occupation is? They didn’t kick this man out of his village. He left voluntarily!

I asked Dr. Qumsiyeh if we could visit Al Walajeh next, and he said sure. After a lovely drive through Beit Jala (a suburb of Bethlehem), we approached the invisible line marking the transition from Area A to the dreaded Area C (the 60% of the West Bank where Israel has full civil and military control and wields it with extreme prejudice). Dr. Qumsiyeh pointed out the road signs pointing left and right—one to Jerusalem and the other to a settlement.

“But you will notice, there is no sign saying where the middle road goes. I guess we are driving into the abyss.”

Of course this road went to Al Walajeh, a place Israel wishes didn’t exist. It’s such an inconvenient location—a beautiful hilltop right between several Israeli built-up areas. What were they thinking, rebuilding their village on land Israel might someday want?

I have to admit that as shocking as the Wall and settlements were, I was struck more than anything by the beauty of the location. In everything I had read about Al Walajeh, nothing at all had prepared me for how stunning it was. The sun was setting, which sent a soft purple light on everything, and the hills were rich with trees, and the view of West Jerusalem and the hills beyond was gorgeous. No wonder they want it, I thought. Who wouldn’t?

“You see how the Wall goes right up next to the houses,” Dr. Qumsiyeh said. “And it takes all the land. And there’s a huge hole in it that I can drive my car through. So you can see it’s not about security.”

That much has been obvious for a very long time.

He drove to another spot where the Israel army was building some kind of tunnel. “This tunnel is so one man can get to his house. The Wall will surround it on four sides. I’ve heard it will cost $2 million to build this tunnel.”

I looked at him strangely. “It’s not like I want them to, but… why don’t they just demolish the house?”

“They can’t find any excuse. It was built before 1967. So they will do this, and he can ‘voluntarily’ transfer himself if he wants.”

As we were driving back into Area A, the road was plastered with signs in Hebrew only, warning passengers to turn around as fast as they can because otherwise they might come face to face with scary, scary Arabs. Insatiable crocodiles, don’t ya know.

Confidential to Netanyahu: Projecting much?

Pamela Olson is the author of Fast Times in Palestine

About Pamela Olson

Pamela Olson is the author of Fast Times in Palestine. She blogs here.

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50 Responses

  1. seafoid
    September 27, 2011, 9:45 am

    “But otherwise nothing has changed at all. And nothing is expected to change any time soon.”

    link to guardian.co.uk

    12 April 2011

    “And the government still appears willing to wave through Murdoch’s attempt to take full control of BSkyB without any consideration of whether he and his leading executives have sufficient corporate controls to be entrusted with a virtual monopoly of non-terrestrial television. As for the press, the Mail, Express, Mirror and Telegraph newspapers (as well as, predictably, Murdoch’s papers) have almost entirely ignored the story.
    Another fear is that Murdoch’s journalists will use their formidable resources against anybody who displeases them. Chris Bryant, one of the few MPs who dared to highlight what he calls “a many-layered scandal”, told the Commons last month that “a senior figure allied to Rupert Murdoch” had sent him a warning “that it would not be forgotten”.
    Voters may vaguely agree that the News of the World’s phone-hacking was wrong but, if they were truly outraged, they wouldn’t buy the paper. They may sympathise with the aggrieved celebrity victims but it is not a subject that affects them personally.”

    6 july 2011
    Very negative advertiser response to News of World phone hacking scandal.

    12 July 2011
    link to guardian.co.uk

    July 20

    link to ft.com

    Best way for Rupert Murdoch to leave

    It was painfully clear that Mr Murdoch, despite his achievements and the fear he used to strike into politicians and business competitors, is a diminished force. As Thomas Perkins, a 79-year-old director of News Corp, admitted frankly this week: “I know he’s devastated by this. Just devastated. And I worry about him, you know, physically, being about the same age.”

    27 July

    link to guardian.co.uk

    “The editor of the Times, James Harding, has admitted that News International’s handling of the phone-hacking crisis was “catastrophic” and that it impacted on the paper’s sales.

    Harding said readers had cancelled subscriptions to the Times and to digital versions of the paper in the immediate aftermath of the revelations about Milly Dowler’s phone allegedly being hacked by News International sister title the News of the World.

    Asked whether News International would recover and if he still felt the way the company had reacted had been “catastrophic”, as described by one of his paper’s leader columns, he said: “Yes, I think that would be a pretty descriptive word for what it happened and the struggle they had in getting to grips with it.”

    But Harding, who has pursued a fiercely independent line on the scandal since the Dowler story broke in early July, said he believed Rupert Murdoch was now back in charge after accepting the resignation of Rebekah Brooks, dropping the bid for BSkyB and apologising to the Dowler family.”

  2. Bumblebye
    September 27, 2011, 10:31 am

    The “Media Wars”. Who’s gonna win?
    Along comes JN1, the “Jewish Al Jazeera”:
    link to guardian.co.uk
    hoping for a worldwide audience…

    • seafoid
      September 27, 2011, 11:18 am

      14 million Jews have no chance of overturning world opinion.

      • Kathleen
        September 27, 2011, 11:47 am

        Really? They have for decades.

        • seafoid
          September 27, 2011, 12:16 pm

          Not any more, Kathleen. When Israel signed up for Oslo they told the world they were ready for peace. And the world expects Israel to make peace. And Israel won’t.

          they can’t maintain the fiction any longer.

    • seafoid
      September 27, 2011, 1:17 pm

      The Jewish al jazeera is eee and hophmi and a script from the boiler room written by the Dersh . If you don’t tune in they’ll come round your house and beat you up. Ads by Ahava and Yarden and entertainment by the Lieberman comedy troupe.

  3. longliveisrael
    September 27, 2011, 10:42 am

    You left this out in your one sided rant.

    link to haaretz.com

    You remind me a bit of the racist Lawrence of Arabia syndrome, romanticizing the Arabs as he did. The Israeli landscape is ugly, the Palestinian side, beautiful

    “The sun was setting, which sent a soft purple light on everything, and the hills were rich with trees, and the view of West Jerusalem and the hills beyond was gorgeous. ”

    What a joke

    • mig
      September 27, 2011, 11:05 am

      Yes, wonderful man was Lawrence. He saw right through zionist from the beginning. Btw, its out of my understanding how Lawrence managed to see ugly Israel in 1917 ? If he could, he truly was man with vision…..

    • seafoid
      September 27, 2011, 11:18 am

      kiryat Arba is one of the most dangerous places in the world for Jews. LLI.
      They shouldn’t be there. Better to send them back to Brooklyn.

      And Israel IS ugly. It was thrown up in a panic. Name an Israeli building more elegant than the Haram ash sharif. Shopping centres don’t count.

    • justicewillprevail
      September 27, 2011, 12:03 pm

      Israeli architecture is pretty ugly, much of it the architecture of the occupation, a military mindset and a wish to bury evidence of the Palestinian past, replacing it with an ersatz mall and suburb american culture. That is brutal and ugly when you compare it to much of the original buildings and landscape. If anyone is guilty of romanticising, it is Israelis who romanticise their new surroundings, as if it is evidence of their fantasy version of the past.

  4. Bill in Maryland
    September 27, 2011, 10:56 am

    Beautiful writing Pamela, thank you:

    Idyllic scenes have become islands in a surrounding sea of devastation and disfigurement. It makes me think of a kid who wants a smaller kid’s popsicle. Knowing he can’t legally get it outright, he yanks it out of the kid’s hands, takes a giant bite that he doesn’t even really enjoy, and then throws the rest of it in the mud.

    Why is my country taking up sides with the maniacal bully?

  5. dimadok
    September 27, 2011, 11:07 am

    Ugh-those Zionist thugs, digging a 2 $ mil. tunnel…..
    So many words, so much hype and romanticism, mixed with hatred towards Israel and unconditional love towards poor Arabs, who suffer and the ONLY cause of their suffering is the same cursed Israel.
    Do tell was that the PA who signed the Oslo agreements, creating the partitions to area A, B and C (including E1 in Hebron)? What is the deal with all Palestinian supporters- if you don’t like the deal , then screw it and it becomes “dreaded Area C”? Deals are made to be fulfilled and lived upon, without daily cries of unfairness and injustice.
    The separation wall is the result of these cries and cruelty towards civilians inside Israel. Now you will have to live with it. You couldn’t without, since it was that easy to get to Israeli towns and kill-deal with it now.
    Tell me why is your taxi wasn’t stopped at the checkpoint? It had Palestinian passengers inside and according to posts here “everyone” is checked and harassed.
    Now, I do agree with one point of your post-UN bid was done purely for domestic politics and EVERYONE know that, just it sometimes hard to admit in public. Unless people on the ground could live together nothing will change the realities in Israel and Palestine.

    • Donald
      September 27, 2011, 11:34 am

      It really bugs you, seeing someone describe the ugliness and cynicism of Israeli behavior on the WB.

      As for the Wall, it is apparently easy to get through in some places and part of Pamela’s post points that out. And iif you guys wanted to build a wall you should have built it on the 67 borders.

    • mig
      September 27, 2011, 11:37 am

      Dima :

      “So many words, so much hype and romanticism, mixed with hatred towards Israel and unconditional love towards poor Arabs, who suffer and the ONLY cause of their suffering is the same cursed Israel.”

      ++++ Gosh, you are learning….

      “Do tell was that the PA who signed the Oslo agreements, creating the partitions to area A, B and C (including E1 in Hebron)?”

      ++++ And all this was thought to be solved in final status negotiations no longer than 5 years…..which was ended PM Bibi….

      “What is the deal with all Palestinian supporters- if you don’t like the deal , then screw it and it becomes “dreaded Area C”? Deals are made to be fulfilled and lived upon, without daily cries of unfairness and injustice.”

      ++++ Bibi tells it all in video :

      Netanyahu admits on video he deceived US to destroy Oslo accord

      link to youtube.com

      Nice to hear that you blame Bibi from this fiasco ;)

      “The separation wall is the result of these cries and cruelty towards civilians inside Israel.”

      ++++ No. Israel officials did study this and found out that suicide bombers travelled to Israel through gates.

      ” Now you will have to live with it. You couldn’t without, since it was that easy to get to Israeli towns and kill-deal with it now.”

      ++++ Repeat that video ?

      “Tell me why is your taxi wasn’t stopped at the checkpoint? It had Palestinian passengers inside and according to posts here “everyone” is checked and harassed.”

      ++++ Was taxi going to west bank or coming to Israel ?

      “Now, I do agree with one point of your post-UN bid was done purely for domestic politics and EVERYONE know that, just it sometimes hard to admit in public. Unless people on the ground could live together nothing will change the realities in Israel and Palestine.”

      ++++ See, you can get something say after all. GJ and all the best.

      • dimadok
        September 27, 2011, 1:48 pm

        Patronizing aren’t we? Well we shall live and see what comes of this round of UN show. Meanwhile-nobody cares, neither Israelis nor Palestinians, only here people “can’t sleep”, “being sick” and so on.
        Once you and the rest of the marry bunch realize that funneling your ideals into Middle East realities is not worth even the time you spend thinking about it.
        Wishing for Israel disappearance and the return of old days is the same silly game played around the world, when it comes to old conflicts and national disputes. What really bugs people here that actually Jews had managed to pull this off after 2000 years of exile.
        Which is kind of ironic for me, for people hating Israel so much here and using same arguments.
        Get a grip with reality otherwise it blow (literally) in your faces. Or maybe the bitterness and frustrations may have their toll on you.
        Anyway there is always something to learn.

        P.S. She was coming from Ramallah to Beit Sahour by taxi and, according to the stories here, should have been “beaten”, “abused”, “breast-fondled”, and denied access. But she went through-those soldiers must have been Mondoweiss readers.
        God bless.

        • Woody Tanaka
          September 27, 2011, 2:17 pm

          “What really bugs people here that actually Jews had managed to pull this off after 2000 years of exile.”

          LMAO. Don’t flatter yourselves. You’re really not that interesting. If it wasn’t for the policies against the Palestinians, why would anyone care?

        • eljay
          September 27, 2011, 2:44 pm

          >> What really bugs people here that actually Jews had managed to pull this off after 2000 years of exile.

          Pulling off an oppressive, destructive, colonialist, supremacist “Jewish state” built on violence and religious self-righteousness and maintained by violence and religious self-righteousness is neither glamorous nor moral.

        • eee
          September 27, 2011, 3:08 pm

          How can one not be proud of Israel when one sees how much better Israel turned out than all the states around it?

        • eljay
          September 27, 2011, 3:26 pm

          >> How can one not be proud of Israel when one sees how much better Israel turned out than all the states around it?

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

        • Woody Tanaka
          September 27, 2011, 3:46 pm

          “How can one not be proud of Israel when one sees how much better Israel turned out than all the states around it?”

          By contemplating all the evil it has done, of course. Anyone with a functioning moral sense understands that.

        • eee
          September 27, 2011, 3:56 pm

          The evil Israel has done is nothing compared to the evil perpetuated by Europeans and Americans throughout their history. So, according to you, no European or American can be proud of their country?

        • Woody Tanaka
          September 27, 2011, 4:11 pm

          “The evil Israel has done is nothing compared to the evil perpetuated by Europeans and Americans throughout their history.”

          Well, Israel’s only been around for 60-odd years. On a evil-per-year basis, I’d say that Israel’s in the lead for top dog.

          “So, according to you, no European or American can be proud of their country?”

          I think that anyone who is “proud” of anything that he or she did not personally achieve is an idiot. It’s cheap and it’s stupid; it’s like being “proud” that the sky is blue or that water runs downhill. So, no, no one should be “proud” of his or her country. He or she should be glad when it does good by people and denounce it when it does evil by them.

        • mig
          September 27, 2011, 4:44 pm

          “Patronizing aren’t we?”

          ++++ Dont know, are you ?

          “Well we shall live and see what comes of this round of UN show.”

          ++++ From Israel side….hmmm….let me guess….same old ?

          “Meanwhile-nobody cares, neither Israelis nor Palestinians, only here people “can’t sleep”, “being sick” and so on.”

          ++++ We care, thats why we are here for. But you dont get it….naaaah…didnt think so.

          “Once you and the rest of the marry bunch realize that funneling your ideals into Middle East realities is not worth even the time you spend thinking about it.”

          ++++ What, you wanna keep all the fun for yourselves ? Buddy, thats selfish. We wanna bits of that too….

          “Wishing for Israel disappearance and the return of old days is the same silly game played around the world, when it comes to old conflicts and national disputes.”

          ++++ OMG, good old “sky is falling” is back.

          “What really bugs people here that actually Jews had managed to pull this off after 2000 years of exile.”

          ++++ Yes, and pull it from Palestinians back.

          “Which is kind of ironic for me, for people hating Israel so much here and using same arguments.”

          ++++ You should exercise that irony little bit more. Lies doesnt fit to irony well.

          “Get a grip with reality otherwise it blow (literally) in your faces.”

          ++++ You mean palestinian faces. Eh, has been allready.

          “Or maybe the bitterness and frustrations may have their toll on you.”

          ++++ Are you talking now from experience ?

          “Anyway there is always something to learn.”

          ++++ Cant hardly wait when you start doing so.

          “P.S. She was coming from Ramallah to Beit Sahour by taxi and, according to the stories here, should have been “beaten”, “abused”, “breast-fondled”, and denied access. But she went through-those soldiers must have been Mondoweiss readers.”

          ++++ You noticed that huh ?

          “God bless.”

          ++++ And from full heart, You Too. May God have mercy for your soul.

        • Cliff
          September 27, 2011, 4:51 pm

          eee,

          you are still colonizing

          you support the colonialism, you support the settlements

          in another thread you whitewash the immorality of Israel annexing the ‘Jewish parts’ of the West Bank as innocent/harmless

          all of the settlements are illegal and even if they ‘technically’ weren’t by some Zionist stroke of hand/red-tape B.S. that you consider legitimate law (Israeli law is B.S.) – it would still be immoral to anyone who isn’t a part of your cult

        • DBG
          September 27, 2011, 5:14 pm

          Is morality only a term you apply to Israel Cliff?

        • Chaos4700
          September 27, 2011, 7:27 pm

          Queue DBG using the Congolese, Tibetans, Libyans, Kurds and Syrians (the latter when he’s not cheerleading the BOMBING of them by Israel or the US) as human shields. Hopefully they survive the fall when DBG discards them when it comes time to heil to Israel again.

        • RoHa
          September 27, 2011, 7:59 pm

          “I think that anyone who is “proud” of anything that he or she did not personally achieve is an idiot.”

          Exactly my position.

    • Bill in Maryland
      September 27, 2011, 11:38 am

      dimeadozen: “Deals are made to be fulfilled and lived upon, without daily cries of unfairness and injustice.”

      Wasn’t new settlement construction to end under Oslo?

      • Kathleen
        September 27, 2011, 12:07 pm

        not in Oslo. no no no

        • Kathleen
          September 27, 2011, 12:12 pm

          I know the settlements issue and illegal building in E Jerusalem were not in the Oslo Agreement and I don’t think they were in Camp David in 78 or 2000 either

          Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties

          Paris Peace Conference, 1919
          Faisal-Weizmann Agreement (1919)
          1949 Armistice Agreements
          Camp David Accords (1978)
          Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty (1979)
          Madrid Conference of 1991
          Oslo Accords (1993)
          Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace (1994)
          Camp David 2000 Summit
          Peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
          Projects working for peace among Israelis and Arabs
          List of Middle East peace proposals
          International law and the Arab-Israeli conflict
          Tabah-Rafah Sraights
          Cairo-Maadi
          End of the Yom Kippur War

        • Kathleen
          September 27, 2011, 12:19 pm

          I know at Camp David during Carters efforts that there was a brief settlement moratorium. Does anyone know whether the illegal settlement issue actually came into play in any of the above agreements? Just brief moratoriums is all that I am aware of

          Sure seems like UN resolution 242 spells it out

          link to mfa.gov.il
          Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

          Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
          Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

          Affirms further the necessity

          For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;
          For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;
          For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;

        • Bill in Maryland
          September 27, 2011, 1:02 pm

          Your are right Kathleen and I was mistaken. The text below is from Khaled Elgindy, posted here:

          Notably, the Oslo Accords, including the 1993 Declaration of Principles (“DOP”) and the 1995 Interim Agreement as well as subsequent agreements and protocols, did not deal directly with the issue of Israeli settlements, either with regard to their legal status (i.e., under international humanitarian law) or in terms of limiting their continued expansion.
          This omission has severely eroded the PLO’s credibility over the last seventeen years, as well as that of the peace process itself. In particular, Oslo’s failure to bring about a genuine settlement freeze led to unprecedented settlement growth and severely undermined prospects for a negotiated two-state solution.

        • DBG
          September 27, 2011, 3:37 pm

          you forgot to include the Khartoum Declaration Kathleen.

          link to middleeast.about.com

        • Woody Tanaka
          September 27, 2011, 4:37 pm

          “you forgot to include the Khartoum Declaration Kathleen.”

          LOL. She was listing important events. This one was in place for fewer years than “Friends” was on the air. (Oh, that’s right, it’s all part of the great Israeli pity project, so OF COURSE, it has to be brought up. Poor, poor Israel. Forever victim. Poor flower.)

    • seafoid
      September 27, 2011, 11:41 am

      Thank you dimadok. I love your writing. The way you marry hatred with ineptitude.

  6. annie
    September 27, 2011, 11:11 am

    thank you pamela. i love your writing, the way you weave images and ideas with reporting.

  7. Kathleen
    September 27, 2011, 11:38 am

    Former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit Micheal Scheuer

    Motivating enemies: Interventionists and the UN veto
    By mike | Published: September 21, 2011

    link to non-intervention.com

    Over several thousand years of human history nation-states have come and gone as result of their own actions and follies, and this winnowing process has proven beyond doubt that no nation-state has a right to exist. To argue otherwise — as the Israel-Firsters do — is simply to ignore history and reality; to inject via political corruption a set of personal and not widely held religious beliefs into the formation of U.S. foreign policy; and to put all Americans at risk of war for the fundamentalist, near-fanatical religious beliefs of some Jewish- Americans and their full partners in political corruption and war mongering, parts of the Christian Evangelical community.

    The proper, pro-America role for the Obama Administration is to publish a non-interventionist doctrine declaring that it will abstain from any vote taken at the UN on the issue of full membership for Palestine. Obama officials could simply explain that this is an issue of no genuine national-security concern to the United States — exactly the type of issue America‘s Founders advised their countrymen to steer clear of — and from Washington’s perspective should be left to the two parties in the conflict to work out, Israelis and Arabs. President Obama and UN Ambassador Rice could also explain to UN members the fact that no nation has a right to exist, although this reminder may be a bit superfluous now that the United Nations itself has proven that point by becoming the West’s pliant interventionist tool for helping to destroy such UN member-states in good standing as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

  8. Kathleen
    September 27, 2011, 11:46 am

    Photos of Palestinians during Abbas speech
    link to kawther.info

    Look at the welcome he received
    link to blogs.aljazeera.net

  9. Kathleen
    September 27, 2011, 12:07 pm

    Interesting
    link to counterpunch.org
    Events at the UN are creating a new clarity for Palestinians, reminding them that there can be no self-determination until they liberate themselves from the legacy of colonialism and the self-serving illusions of the ageing notables who now lead them. The old men in suits have had their day.

    • eee
      September 27, 2011, 2:55 pm

      How about the nice ladies, like Hannan Ashrawi?

      Calling Fatah and Hamas “old men in suits” shows you really do not understand the conflict.

      In fact Kathleen, you always talk in the abstract, never giving the Palestinians concrete advice, never taking responsibility for the results of what you recommend. The Palestinians have only one viable option for a peaceful resolution, and that is negotiation with Israel.

      • mig
        September 27, 2011, 4:47 pm

        “negotiation with Israel”

        ++++ And they are gonna talk about what ?

        • eee
          September 27, 2011, 5:38 pm

          About the deal Clinton brokered between Arafat and Barak.

        • Chaos4700
          September 27, 2011, 7:25 pm

          You mean the deal that the Israeli government has never enforced and has been in continuous violation of?

      • Kathleen
        September 28, 2011, 9:36 am

        fantasy

  10. ToivoS
    September 27, 2011, 5:27 pm

    I think Pamela missed the interesting story here. I agree with the general characterization of the PA that they were groomed by the peace process and US, EU and Saudi bribes to be Israel’s police force to suppress Palestinians. I also agree that Abbas went with this UN bid because it was really the only chance for him to preserve PA control and win some kind of WB state.

    Having said that, the events at the UN last week has changed the dynamics. Probably in ways that even surprised Abbas. It will be even more difficult for Abbas to concede to Israeli demands. I believe it has put RoR back on the table in a major way. Many of the concessions that the PA made in negotiations with Barak and Olmert are no longer on the table.

    Of course there is no possibility of negotiations and Abbas will have support from both the Palestinian people and the international community to refusing to sit back down until the Israelis make some serious concessions. Therefore the Palestinians will be making their demands in the political arena. And as each demand is refused this will provide the impetus to crank up BDS. That is the clear path that lies ahead as long as Abbas is willing to take it.

    As pressure on Israel mounts I think we can count on them to do some stupid thing to weaken their position. Annexing the WB is a good one. This will just move the struggle for 2 states towards 1 state.

    So Pamela, you are too cynical. There are new opportunities, you should be thinking of creative ways to take full advantage.

    • Pamela Olson
      September 27, 2011, 7:08 pm

      Good comment, but wait for Part 2 of this post…

      In short, I agree with most of what you say. There is hope. It will be an uphill battle for many reasons, but overall, whatever Abbas’ reasoning, this was essentially the only move he could make, and it was a good one. The US and Israel forced his hand, and he’s forcing theirs right back. It’s that or be brought down by his own people. And the world is paying a bit more attention. Power politics still trumps conscience, but Israel is turning into a liability the more crazy it gets.

      In other words, Netanyahu is a lot stupider than Abbas is smart. Netanyahu is such an out-of-touch loon, he makes Abbas look like a principled leader — instead of letting Abbas skate by, he pokes and prods and humiliates him until he has to do some grand gesture or be deposed.

      Regardless, no one expects anything to change any time soon, sadly enough. But hey, we’ve all been wrong before.

      Anyway, read Part 2 when it gets posted and let me know what you think.

      • Kathleen
        September 28, 2011, 9:37 am

        Most of us know there is hope at least for information getting out there. Because most folks at this site have been pounding MSM outlets as well as our Reps for decades to open up on this issue. Accumulative effect

  11. kursato
    September 29, 2011, 8:14 am

    What the Arab papers say

    ON FRIDAY the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, formally submitted to the United Nations Palestine’s bid for recognition as an independent state. As the Security Council considers the application, which America has said it will veto, we look at reactions in the Arab press.

    In al-Akhbar, an independent Lebanese daily newspaper, Firas Khatib criticised the move as ineffective and disrespectful of the Palestinian people:

    What is happening in the Palestinian case sidesteps the people—and they matter most—to extract a decision from the United Nations that is meant to be imposed on reality. Historically, this has not proven effective: the UN has not been able to impose any decision on Israel since 1948. The international organisation has not been able to enforce Resolution 194 (which deals with the return of Palestinian refugees to their land) and will be subsequently unable to enforce “country 194.”

    An anonymous columnist for al-Madina, an online daily publication in Saudi Arabia, noted that:

    America’s use of its veto this time will expose its double standards and show that its support for a two-state solution is only verb. It will prove that it will punish Palestinians for demanding their legitimate rights. Meanwhile, it rewards Israel for its violations of the peace process by continuing settlement building, constructing the separation wall, “Judaicising” Jerusalem, and laying siege on Gaza. The real message that the Palestinians carry as they head to the UN is that 20 years after the Oslo Agreement and peace talks, the area of land on which a Palestinian state can be established is shrinking by the day due to Israeli violations. It is time to stop this mockery.

    In contrast, Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based pan-Arab daily al-Quds al-Arabi, focused on Mr Abbas’s diplomatic victory, regardless of the outcome:

    We will stand by President Abbas and his historic speech [...] Our stand, and the stand of all Palestinians, would be stronger and longer-lived if resistance were to begin effectively. The first such move would be to stop caving in to countries’ financial blackmail, and be free of their pressure. This is a great diplomatic victory for the Palestinian people, and it should be the foundation for an uprising from all city squares. It will confirm that the Palestinian people, who began their spring early, are returning to revive it, but in a more powerful and innovative way.

    In al-Hayat, a Saudi-owned London-based daily, Maged Kayali argues that Palestinians need first to reform their national project, before being able to achieve statehood:

    This is a new moment for the Palestinians, one never before offered to them: a moment that requires them to invest well, to review their ideals and what they have built, their work and organisation… Their national project is in urgent need of renewal. In particular, they need to incorporate the values of the Arab spring, asserting the respect of freedom, human dignity, justice, and democracy, as well as the rights of citizens. These are already the values that the world understands and sympathises with. Incorporating them is the only way that the Palestinians can fix the state of their national project to a democratic, secular, civil state – and not before.

    Hisham Manawar, in the pan-Arab publication Elaph, believes it will be a long time before the bid hits the negotiation tables, which he foresees will be greatly altered by major powers,:

    The controversy and debate generated as a result of the Palestinians bid for statehood is unlikely to end soon. This is due to the way the major powers have circumvented the bid. They have sapped its power by over studying, scrutinising and reviewing it before the vote, so as to create a new “exhibit” with which to resume negotiations and ensure the return of the Palestinians to peace talks.

    More translated commentary from the Arabic press, visit Meedan.net

    Source: link to economist.com

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