Abbas threatens to dissolve Oslo as protests rise over PA’s untenable financial situation

hebron protests
Palestinians security officers face off against protesters during clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron, September 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Last week while Palestinian Authority (PA) employees announced their second strike in the past 30 days, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded indirectly by threatening to dissolve the PA and called on Israel to re-occupy the West Bank similar to the pre-Oslo era. Abbas’s statement was primarily meant for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest the fact that Israeli settlements continue to expand, thwarting the possibility of partition through negotiations. Yet underneath the president’s remarks that were “eagerly” accepted by the Israeli rightist Avigdor Lieberman, was a subtle message to West Bank protesters making clear that Israel should be the scapegoat for their current financial woes.

At the same time PA employees were going on strike this week, refugees also announced they will go on strike against the United Nations Refugee Works Agency UNRWA) over service cuts. The PA announced it will ease some of the financial burdens on refugees by paying expensive winter electrical costs, but thus far no additional support will be given to public workers. This decision led to a heated protest against Fayyad in Nablus over new year’s where over 50 people were taken to the hospital following fighting between protesters and PA security forces. 

The PA’s 153,000 employees received salary cuts in both November and December. Last month public sector salaries were reduced by seventy-five percent, and this month salaries will likely not be paid at all. PA employees will strike on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, and decide next week if they will announce another day of demonstrations later in January. Strikes against the PA have been successful in the past. Last September when taxi drivers led strikes across the West Bank against an increase in gas prices, protests nearly shut down major Palestinian cities. Within days Prime Minister Salam Fayyad appeased demonstrators by subsidizing gas prices.

After the Palestinian UN statehood bid this past fall Israel declared it would withhold Palestinian tax revenues amounting to around $100 million per month. Initially the Arab League stepped in an said they would donate the expected total shortage of $400 million, however over the weekend Arab League head Nabil al-Arabi said that as of now the money would not be transferred. Ma’an News reported Palestinian officials blamed the U.S. for influencing the Arab nations, “Secretary General of the Popular Struggle Front Ahmed Majdalani said the failure to transfer funds was ‘clearly a political decision… (and) collective punishment against the Palestinian people because of the agenda of seeking an independent Palestinian state,’”—yet even with the cash loss, the PA would still have trouble covering salaries this winter. As of early 2012 the PA debt to private lenders peaked at $1.2 billion, and government cash shortfalls were around $500 million.

A majority of the PA’s budget comes from foreign aid, which has decreased over the past few years. In 2011 the PA received $800 million in aid, down from an expected $1 billion. Because of trade restrictions imposed by the Paris Protocols in the Oslo Accords, the West Bank economy is cut off from the Gaza economy. That, combined with the 97 fixed checkpoints (as reported by B’tselem in December 2012), has hindered the pre-existing local agricultural market. A visible example in Ramallah is the outdoor fruit and vegetable market where most of the produce comes from Israel. Only as small section of stands in the back are of “West Bank grown” products.

Today the Palestinian Authority has become the largest single employer in the West Bank. Since most of its revenue comes from donor aid, when that aid does not come it rocks the Palestinian economy and is largely to blame for the government’s immediate inability to pay its workers’ wages. PA employees are blaming Israel for the current financial crisis despite the PA’s role in the unsustainable economy. “This strike is against Israel’s piracy,” said Bassam Zakarneh, a union spokesperson who condemned the isolated action of withholding tax revenue, rather then the occupation in general. Although strikers have labeled Israel as the prime cause for their salary freeze, it is worth noting that they have not declared a protest against Israel, rather they are striking against their Palestinian employer.

For Israeli politicians, Abbas’s offer to re-occupy the West Bank inspired in-fighting from Shimon Peres to Avigdor Lieberman. Tzipi Livni used the moment to attack her rivals in the upcoming Israeli elections and rebuked the notion of Israel “taking the key” of the West Bank. Haaretz reported on December 28, 2012:

Tzipi Livni, former opposition leader and current head of political party Hatnuah responded, saying that the dream of Netanyahu, Lieberman and Bennett that the PA will return to Israeli control is the nightmare of anyone who wants to see Israel as a Jewish and democratic state that is connected to the world.

The re-occupation of the West Bank is not a new idea in Israeli political circles. It was threatened as a punitive measure to both recent Palestinian statehood bids at the U.N. Ahead of the first bid, Israeli rightists expressed glee over the prospect of annexing the West Bank, which prompted a failed Knesset bill to do just that. Again in 2012 a similar bill was put forward and it floundered similar to the year before. But political forces that pushed those bills are poised to do well in the upcoming elections, so the idea is sure to be raised again.

This week’s strikes show the ideology for a “Greater Israel” will come with a financial liability that Israeli politicians must be ready to assume if they pursue annexation. While Israel and Abbas may be squawking over who should run the West Bank, the most pressing issue has less to do with negotiations and more about who will pay the PA’s bills.

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation | Tagged

{ 54 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. American says:

    My most basic reaction to everything Israeli is …

  2. giladg says:

    Abbas and Assad should start looking to share accommodation somewhere like the French Riviera, or Paraguay or some place else. They are going to need it.

    • Sumud says:

      More to the point, Israelis who fantasise about living in a jewish state are about to have reality come crashing in. Abbas is a bit player here.

      • giladg says:

        There are 19 Muslim countries. There are many Christian countries. There is only 1 Jewish country. And there is no Nelson Mandela on the Palestinian side who is willing to acknowledge and accept this. Abbas is an Arafat. He is not a Mandela. So he should step aside and move on. By his account, never mind the long history of the Jewish people. We are waiting for a Palestinian leader who can come out and declare his willingness to share and at the same time understand that Jews must be able to defend themselves, by themselves, behind defensible borders, both physically and spiritually (religious symbols for those who are going to struggle with the term).

        • israel would imprison any mandela is a second flat, just like their ally SA did. israel doesn’t do gandhi and they don’t want peace, they want all the land. they have enough power to squish any opponent so that’s not their problem, justification is their problem. so, they provoke, they instigate and they blame. abbas told them there would be no violent third intifada, so he’s the wrong man for israel. abbas is old anyway. but israel doesn’t want a strong palestinian leader, obviously.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          gilad, You’re not asking for a Palestinian Mandela. You’re asking for a Palestinians Rumkowski.

        • pjdude says:

          lies. there is one christian country the holy see. there may be a couple muslims ones but given what I have seen I doubt their are any and their is one jewish country. personal the christian country and jewish one need to go by by states for religions shouldn’t be.

          also irrelevant now going by how you judge primary worshiped religion. just because many other highly muslim peoples got to excercise their right to self determination doesn’t mean the palestinians shouldn’t get theirs.

        • eljay says:

          >> There are 19 Muslim countries. There are many Christian countries. There is only 1 Jewish country.

          There should not be Muslim countries, Christian countries or Jewish countries. The answer to ethnic or religious supremacism is not to join the game, but to advocate for an end to the supremacism.

          When it comes to justice and morality, leave it hateful and immoral Zio-supremacists to dig for the bottom of the barrel.

        • Donald says:

          “Abbas is an Arafat. He is not a Mandela.”

          Ah, nostalgia. I haven’t seen that lament about the lack of a Palestinian Mandela in a few years now, perhaps because the smarter pro-Israel propagandists realize that the whole South African analogy thing is something they should try to avoid. If there were a Palestinian Mandela, he’d be demanding one man, one vote. Careful what you wish for.

        • David Samel says:

          gilad, there are no Muslim or Christian countries that offer automatic citizenship to all Muslims or all Christians around the globe. Israel is unique in that respect. Nelson Mandela demanded equality for all regardless of race or ethnicity. Such a demand, if implemented in Israel, would undermine Israel’s existence as a Jewish State. In fact, Mandela was the head of the ANC’s military wing and refused to renounce violence to achieve equality, even after he was released from prison. Has there ever been an Israeli leader who has, as you put it, recognized that Palestinians “must be able to defend themselves, by themselves, behind defensible borders, both physically and spiritually”?

        • lyn117 says:

          “There is only 1 Jewish country.”

          And what a country it is. An apartheid state, founded on ethnic cleansing and with the idea of religious supremacy for one religion and continued expansion by wars of conquest. It has routinely employed torture, imprisonment and forced exile to squelch political activity and speech by the non-Jewish people of land it claims, at times making it illegal to so much as display the Palestinian colors. It bans most of the native people of its land from life there.

          This, giladg, is the state you claim represents Jews?

        • RoHa says:

          “There is only 1 Jewish country.”

          And why should there be any Jewish countries at all? Should there be a Baha’i country, where Baha’is are “able to defend themselves, by themselves, behind defensible borders, both physically and spiritually”?

          (Such a country would surely have to include the Baha’i centre at Acre.)

        • talknic says:

          giladg “There are 19 Muslim countries. There are many Christian countries. There is only 1 Jewish country”

          Irrelevant to Israel’s Internationally recognized Sovereign extent.

          “And there is no Nelson Mandela on the Palestinian side who is willing to acknowledge and accept this.”

          Irrelevant to Israel’s Internationally recognized Sovereign extent so why should they or anyone else?

          “We are waiting for a Palestinian leader who can come out and declare his willingness to share..”

          Uh? 2011 They were willing to accept only 22% of their rightful territories for peace. link to haaretz.com Repeated again 2012

          ” understand that Jews must be able to defend themselves, by themselves, behind defensible borders”

          Israel has no right to more defensible borders than any of its neighbours. link to wp.me

          ‘defensible borders” doesn’t appear in any International Law, Convention, the UN Charter, Armistice Agreement, Peace Agreement or UNSC resolution. It’s Israeli drivelsprecht.

        • Mayhem says:

          UN Resolution 242 refers to “secure and recognised boundaries” – there is no demand by Israel for “more defensible borders than its neighbours” that talknic has contrived for his own convenience. Naturally a country that has been and is constantly under threat expresses concerns about having “defensible borders”. Indubitably a propagandist like talknic, committed to Israel’s dissolution, will drum up any spurious argument to support his cause.
          @eljay makes the grand pronouncement

          There should not be Muslim countries, Christian countries or Jewish countries.

          Once ONE of the multitude of Muslim and Christian countries that deck the planet reneges on its Muslim and Christian character then Eljay you should then come and discuss the realization of your fantasy. The incomparable pressure on Israel to commit suicide while the rest of the world continues on its merry way is a ludicrous, idiotic suggestion in the extreme.

        • Hostage says:

          UN Resolution 242 refers to “secure and recognised boundaries” – there is no demand by Israel for “more defensible borders than its neighbours” that talknic has contrived for his own convenience.

          Israeli Ambassador and negotiator Dore Gold has practically made defensible borders, other than the Armistice lines, his life’s work, e.g. link to jcpa.org

          Several years ago the State Department Historian published the volume of the Foreign Relations of the United States which documented the negotiating history of Security Council resolution 242.

          Here is a link to a 1967 White House memo in which Walt Rostow advised President Johnson, that Secretary Rusk had explained to Mr Eban that US support for language about secure permanent frontiers doesn’t mean the US supports any territorial changes.

          Here is a link to a 1968 telegram in which Secretary of State Rusk said the US government had advised the Israeli Foreign Ministry that it viewed the establishment of civilian settlements in the occupied territories as a violation of the principles contained in the Security Council resolution and article 49 of the Geneva Convention.

        • eljay says:

          >> @eljay makes the grand pronouncement
          >> “There should not be Muslim countries, Christian countries or Jewish countries.”
          >> Once ONE of the multitude of Muslim and Christian countries that deck the planet reneges on its Muslim and Christian character then Eljay you should then come and discuss the realization of your fantasy. The incomparable pressure on Israel to commit suicide while the rest of the world continues on its merry way is a ludicrous, idiotic suggestion in the extreme.

          Says the hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist idiot who misses the entire rest of the point: “The answer to ethnic or religious supremacism is not to join the game, but to advocate for an end to the supremacism.”

          But, as I also said earlier: “When it comes to justice and morality, leave it hateful and immoral Zio-supremacists to dig for the bottom of the barrel.”

          Mayhem is the Jewish guy who sees a Muslim rapist and a Christian rapist in action and who – instead of demanding that they be arrested and tried for their crimes – concludes that he deserves a piece of the action and then cries foul (anti-Semitic! the Holocaust!) when the cops arrest him for being a rapist.

          What a joke(r).

        • RoHa says:

          “Once ONE of the multitude of Muslim and Christian countries that deck the planet reneges on its Muslim and Christian character”

          Insofar as Australia has a “Christian character”, that character does not lead to Australia demanding recognition as a “Christian country”. White non-Christians (including Jews) are, and always have been, treated as equal citizens. And with the end of the White Australia Policy, non-whites are now included. The Australian constitution includes:

          “The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.” (Sect. 116)

          Australia isn’t perfect, but if Israel were more like Australia it would be a better place.

          “The incomparable pressure on Israel to commit suicide”

          That is a silly thing to say. No-one is being asked to kill themselves. We just ask for political changes.

        • eljay says:

          >> The incomparable pressure on Israel to commit suicide while the rest of the world continues on its merry way is a ludicrous, idiotic suggestion in the extreme.

          Such a drama queen! :-(

          I don’t expect Israel to commit suicide any more than I expect Saudi Arabia to commit suicide. I do, however, expect both countries to become secular, democratic and egalitarian nations of and for their people, equally.

          You, on the contrary, prefer to see them remain supremacist states.

          So while I’m being ludicrous and idiotic, you’re being hateful and immoral.

          Oh, that’s right, you’re a Zio-supremacist.

          Pathetic.

        • Mayhem says:

          @Hostage, I can give you a quote from Bush that supported Israel’s occupation of territories and dismissed the Pals right of return. So where does that get us touting one opinion against another?
          Further from any resolution to this god-forsaken conflict, I venture to suggest.

        • talknic says:

          Mayhem

          ” there is no demand by Israel for “more defensible borders than its neighbours” “

          Uh huh link to isn.ethz.ch

          “Indubitably a propagandist like talknic, committed to Israel’s dissolution

          You can quote me .. yes?

        • Hostage says:

          @Hostage, I can give you a quote from Bush that supported Israel’s occupation of territories and dismissed the Pals right of return. So where does that get us touting one opinion against another?

          If you’re relying on the legal judgment of Bush and his advisors about the Geneva Conventions, then you’re up the creek without a paddle. Bush’s expert opinion on the Geneva Conventions is hardly worth the paper it’s written on. After all, the Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan that his Executive Order, which established the Military Commissions at Guantanamo, was illegal because it violated Common Article 3 of the Conventions. Bush had repeatedly claimed that the Geneva Conventions weren’t applicable to the conflict, or to “illegal combatants”, like Mr. Hamdan.

          Bush has been persona non-grata in most of the civilized world since he published a book which admitted that he authorized the torture of prisoners to obtain information. The UK Supreme Court has subsequently ruled that the US and UK violated Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention when they transferred persons to Guantanamo, Cuba and other countries outside the territories they had occupied. That of course is just the tip of the iceberg, since they kidnapped innocent persons from others countries in flagrant violation of the laws and customs of war and a number of international human rights conventions.
          *See UK Supreme Court Rejects Jack Goldsmith’s Interpretation of GC IV link to opiniojuris.org
          *The European Court of Human Rights has awarded a German citizen compensation after finding he was an innocent victim of extraordinary rendition by the CIA. link to bbc.co.uk
          *Italy’s highest appeals court has upheld guilty verdicts on 23 Americans, all but one of them CIA agents, accused of kidnapping a terror suspect.
          link to bbc.co.uk

          P.S. I notice that you don’t address the fact that Israeli officials have demanded defensible borders that are different from the Armistice lines. Dore Gold and others, like Livni, have advocated that Israel should annex everything outside the route of the apartheid wall.

        • Cliff says:

          how many Christian countries are there, mayhem?

          how many Muslim countries are there, mayhem?

          What makes them Islamic and Christian, respectively?

          How are they similar to Israel in Israel’s Jewish character (politics, demographics, economics, etc.)?

          And after you have no doubt provided answers to these questions – why does one justify the other (providing ‘one’ is ‘bad’ as the other)?

          Are you saying Israel has a ‘right’ to colonize, ethnically cleanse, discriminate, etc. because of some other country?

        • Cliff says:

          gilad-g,

          states are not made fairly. and the conception of ‘fair’ here is irrelevant anyway

          jews don’t have a lot of states. they have 1 state. that is due to history.

          that is how life works.

          zionism didn’t prevail because of ‘fairness’

          zionism prevailed because zionists used murder, assassination, ethnic cleansing, propaganda, political assassination, exploitation, etc.

          zionism prevailed because zionists had more guns and more money

          thats the history of the world

          there shouldn’t be any jewish states ever. there shouldn’t be any kind of religious/ethnonationalist states (but since this is a discussion about Jewish colonialism, especially a jewish state)

          there just is

          this isn’t about Jews defending themselves

          this is about ‘Jews’ stealing and murdering the indigenous Palestinian Arabs to make their Jewish State

        • Mayhem says:

          @talknic, your link takes me to a paper that presents Israel’s need for defensible borders which can hardly be refuted given Israel’s precarious position surrounded by antagonistic Arab states. Nowhere do I see any statement claiming Israel’s right to MORE defensible borders that its neighbors.

        • eljay says:

          >> @talknic, your link takes me to a paper that presents Israel’s need for defensible borders which can hardly be refuted given Israel’s precarious position surrounded by antagonistic Arab states.

          Not to mention Israel’s precarious position as an antagonistic – and colonialist, expansionist and nuclear-armed – state.

        • Mooser says:

          “understand that Jews must be able to defend themselves, by themselves, behind defensible borders, both physically and spiritually”

          And spiritually! Defensible spiritual borders! What a battle! ‘Incoming, incoming, X-mas trees at thirty degrees! Easter eggs sighted in the north! ‘C’mon you guys, get that Star of David limbered up and start firing back!!’. Sound of spiritual weapons firing; ‘Oy,oy,oy,oy and then the weird whistle of the Christian spiritual artillery: Kyrieeeeee, Kyrieeee, as the Christian soldiers fire, on the words “Lox vobiscum”….
          It was a hell of a battle, and the field was littered with tefillin before it was all over! ‘Medic, Medic, this man is bleeding seriously, get some prayers into him, stat.’ Sarge, if you don’t mind, I’d prefer plasma… “Shut up, self-hater, and follow orders….”

          When ever I hear the words “defensible spiritual borders”, I think, “oh crap, there goes the age of consent, they’ll be marrying 12 year olds next”.

        • Mooser says:

          “gilad, You’re not asking for a Palestinian Mandela. You’re asking for a Palestinians Rumkowski.”

          Gilad know of many cases where the sight of X-mas lights got past Jewish “spiritual defenses” and caused Jews to plotz on the spot, like they were poleaxed. By a ten-foot poleaxe, too.

        • Mooser says:

          “This, giladg, is the state you claim represents Jews?”

          I think “owns” not “represents” is a better description of Gilad’s ideal relationship between Jews and the Jewish State. He wants all Jews to be slaves of the Zionist entity.

      • giladg says:
        “And there is no Nelson Mandela on the Palestinian side who is willing to acknowledge and accept this”

        To quote Nelson Mandela himself:
        “The UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

        To paraphrase another commenter:
        If you need the other side to produce a Gandhi, King or Mandela, then you’re on the wrong side.

        link to mondoweiss.net

  3. HarryLaw says:

    Oslo was predicated on the stopping of settlement building and a gradual handover of occupied territory, making a viable Palestinian territory possible, the opposite has happened, settlements have increased, land the Palestinians were promised has shrunk, Israeli settlements are exporting fifteen times more goods than Palestinian farmers, the PA are more in hock to donors like the EU/US and therefore political manipulation, you will engage in talks with the Israelis without preconditions blah blah blah, It seems the emerging bantustans are bankrupt even before they have been set up properly, what a mess, but don’t look to the Arab League they are too preoccupied with their own predicaments to worry about the Palestinians. the EU/US are going to have to stump up, and get used to it because those bantustans will never be viable.

  4. Les says:

    Abbas is caught between a rock and a hard place, that is Hamas and the US. Abbas has all the credibility of our “great capitulator” Obama.

    • W.Jones says:

      I like Abbas. He knows what is going on and I admire his going to the UN, which was bold and successful. He is not a Quisling. The Israelis have their own candidate for that for the West Bank.

  5. two interesting links over the weekend.

    link to timesofisrael.com

    Likud minister and two party MKs say they want to annex the West Bank
    Netanyahu didn’t speak about a Palestinian state ‘in the full sense,’ lawmaker Yariv Levin tells Times of Israel at conference promoting a one-state solution

    Senior members of the ruling Likud party called Tuesday night for the government to annex all or part of the West Bank, running up against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stated commitment in principle to a Palestinian state.

    At a Jerusalem conference entitled “Application of Israeli Sovereignty of Judea and Samaria,” a government minister and two Likud MKs declared the two-state solution dead and spoke of the legal and legislative steps needed to make the West Bank — biblical Judea and Samaria — a part of Israel proper.

    An Israeli annexation of the West Bank, land the Palestinians claim for a state of their own, would likely be met with harsh international sanctions and rebuke, and is generally regarded as outside mainstream political discourse in Israel.

    Despite pre-election attempts by the Likud to paint itself as a right-center party, several current and prospective Likud MKs have declared support for a so-called one-state solution, rejecting the idea of an independent Palestinian state.

    The Likud and its Yisrael Beytenu ally have been losing votes in recent weeks to the Jewish Home right-wing party, whose leader Naftali Bennett advocates Israel annexing the 60% of the West Bank that is designated as Area C, where Israel still maintains overall control.
    ………

    MK Yariv Levin advocated a slow but steady de facto annexation of the West Bank, mainly by expanding existing settlements and taking whatever steps were possible to apply laws on Jewish communities beyond the Green Line.

    “In this way, we will try, slowly but surely, to expand the circle of settlements, and to afterwards extend the roads that lead to them, and so forth. At the end of this process, the facts on the ground will be that whatever remains [of the West Bank] will be merely marginal appendages,” he said.

    Last week, two senior Likud MKs caused an uproar when they stated that the party does not support a two-state solution, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2009 Bar-Ilan University speech, during which he in principle agreed to a demilitarized Palestinian state, if the Palestinians recognized Israel as a Jewish state.

    more about the conference here:

    link to israelnationalnews.com

  6. sardelapasti says:

    When such a washcloth administration like the PA has already threatened, several times, to place the occupier directly before its responsibility –their only action that could hit the Zionists– and hasn’t done it the first time, where is the credibility and why even bother to report it as if the PA suddenly had bit a dog?
    All other things being equal, what is different about Abbas as compared to local collaborationist minders for the Nazi occupation, Pétain, Buhl, Tsolakoglou, etc., in a roughly similar situation and with similar duties? The only thing I can see is the recent non-state statehood –for which the “celebrations” in Ramallah had to be staged by journalists (Baghdad statue, anyone?). Even though a couple lawyers say different, one can argue that this and a token will take you all the way to the Bronx.

    • sardelapasti, i am not completely convinced all the people celebrating the statehood bid are fake. here’s one rally celebrating in hebron. looks like a lot of people.

    • Hostage says:

      All other things being equal, what is different about Abbas as compared to local collaborationist minders for the Nazi occupation, Pétain, Buhl, Tsolakoglou, etc., in a roughly similar situation and with similar duties?

      One fact that the Israeli Prime Minister’s echo chamber at Haaretz undoubtably got right, was that when the Palestinian Authority appealed to the International Criminal Court in 2009, the move was authorized by both Prime Minister Fayyad and President Abbas. See Israel demands PA drop war crimes suit at The Hague: Palestinian Authority called on International Court to examine IDF’s January operation in Gaza. link to haaretz.com

      Years ago in 2003, Côte d’Ivoire made a similar declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the Court in accordance with article 12(3). In 2011 the Security Council adopted resolution S/RES/1975 which noted apparent crimes against humanity that were then happening there and the fact that “the International Criminal Court may decide on its jurisdiction over the situation in Côte d’Ivoire on the basis of article 12, paragraph 3 of the Rome Statute…”See S/RES/1975

      Observers, like Prof. William Schabas were puzzled by the fact that the Security Council had not simply referred the situation to the ICC and the suggestion by the Security Council that the Court “may decide on its jurisdiction”, when it had jurisdiction, as an automatic result of the 2003 declaration.
      link to humanrightsdoctorate.blogspot.com

      President Laurent Gbagbo (2000-2011) later challenged the scope of his government’s declaration, arguing that it applied only retroactively. The ICC Appeals Chamber agreed that non-member States can make declarations that are retroactive in effect, but ruled that they remain in force and cannot be used to limit the scope of the Court’s jurisdiction to a specific situation.
      link to opiniojuris.org

      One obvious difference between the PA and the Nazi collaborators is that Abbas and Fayyad have put their own necks at risk and charged Israeli officials with war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Hague.

      • sardelapasti says:

        “One obvious difference between the PA and the Nazi collaborators is that Abbas and Fayyad have put their own necks at risk and charged Israeli officials with war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Hague.”

        Correct. The difference, as far as I understand, depends strictly from the difference in the vastly different environment, not in the function; by not taking these steps (including the statehood bid, and it is obviously a good thing) the PA leaders would have put their… necks at greater risk. Of being lynched at home.

        • Hostage says:

          Correct. The difference, as far as I understand, depends strictly from the difference in the vastly different environment, not in the function;

          I’ve pointed out time and again that it was the General Assembly that got sick and tired of the suicide bombings and the construction of the Wall and finally ordered Abbas and “the Palestinian Authority to undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks” as part of one of its “Uniting for Peace” resolutions adopted during the 10th Emergency Special Session. See A/RES/ES-10/15, 2 August 2004. link to unispal.un.org

          Frankly the PLO and Palestinians have zero hope of accomplishing any of their political aims if they ever loose their base of moral and legal support in the UN General Assembly.

        • sardelapasti says:

          Hostage – You mean the PA. Which should disappear asap anyway. A Palestinian Oppression Org on behalf of the Zionists and, as you pointed out, also officially in the eyes of the UN.

  7. Is this the same Mahmoud Abbas who’s term expired on 9 January 2009 but who unilaterally extended it for another year, and continues in office even after that second deadline expired?

    Mahmoud Abbas is not only a Quisling, he is also a self-proclaimed* Arab President-for-Life. However unlike the other Arab tyrants, he clings to power using a unique loophole where he promises not to seek re-election (after cancelling the scheduled elections) and then sabotages Palestinian reconciliation which is a prerequisite for any new elections.

    Unfortunately for Abbas, he may end up with the same fate as his mentor Mubarak.

    Abbas: I’ll not seek re-election [November 2009]
    link to aljazeera.com

    Abbas: I won’t seek re-election in next Palestinian polls [March 2011]
    link to haaretz.com

    • Hostage says:

      Is this the same Mahmoud Abbas who’s term expired on 9 January 2009 but who unilaterally extended it for another year, and continues in office even after that second deadline expired? Mahmoud Abbas is not only a Quisling, he is also a self-proclaimed

      When General George Washington and the Continental Congress hadn’t paid the Army in over 12 months and its member’s enlistments were up, he employed firing squads and summary executions to stop people from returning to their homes to support their families. See January 27th: On this date in 1781, George Washington quelled a dangerous mutiny in his starving Continental Army with a couple of salutary summary executions. link to executedtoday.com

      Abbas was actually re-elected as the Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee in elections held on August 27th, 2009. link to miftah.org

      FYI, the 1988 Declaration of the State of Palestine named the PLO Executive Committee as the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine until such time as the occupation comes to an end, i.e. the duration. It empowered the Executive and the Central Committee of the PLO to appoint and formulate governments and to vote on motions of confidence. link to unispal.un.org

      The Palestinian Authority is only the interim municipal government created by Israel and the PLO under the Oslo Accords. The PLO has always been ultimately responsible for conducting its foreign relations. The Basic Law 2003 stipulated that it did not alter the role of the PLO. The recent General Assembly resolution recognized the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine:

      Taking into consideration that the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in accordance with a decision by the Palestine National Council, is entrusted with the powers and responsibilities of the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine;

      link to unispal.un.org

      It was the General Assembly that finally ordered Abbas and “the Palestinian Authority to undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks” as part of one of its “Uniting for Peace” resolutions adopted during the 10th Emergency Special Session. See A/RES/ES-10/15, 2 August 2004. link to unispal.un.org

      National liberation movements usually don’t conduct elections during the middle of an armed conflict. Israel permitted elections during the Bush era, but has long since arrested, imprisoned, or deported any Hamas-affiliated members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. I tend to agree with Mouin Rabbani:

      Q: How do you respond to those who argue that the current Palestinian leadership lacks legitimacy, either because their electoral terms have expired or because of the blurring of the lines between the PA and the PLO?

      A: Sure, if you look at it objectively, there is no legitimate Palestinian leadership, and that’s as true as it is for the government in Gaza as it is for the government in Ramallah. . . . Now does that mean that any Palestinian holding office is illegitimate and that anything they do is illegitimate? No. That would be going to the other extreme.

      link to maannews.net

      • Mahmoud Abbas has been Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since 11 November 2004, and was elected President of the Palestinian Authority (PA, aka Palestinian National Authority) on 9 January 2005. He also holds the title of President of the State of Palestine (since May 2005).

        The PA was established to govern the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a result of the Oslo Accords. The President of the PA is elected directly by the Palestinian people for a four year term.

        The three leadership roles cover different mandates and have their own electoral processes. Holding 2 other leadership roles (elected via councils) does not provide a mandate for the third role.

        Abbas will cling to power for as long as he can, and he may even die in office. But his achievements (or lack thereof) as President of the PA, will probably spell the death-knell for that organisation.

        • Hostage says:

          The three leadership roles cover different mandates and have their own electoral processes. Holding 2 other leadership roles (elected via councils) does not provide a mandate for the third role.

          That’s incorrect. The PLO’s 1988 Algiers declaration specifically provided that the Executive and Central committees have the power to formulate governments and remove them for lack of confidence, until such time as the Palestinian people exercise sovereignty over their territory.

          The PA was only intended to be a creature of the now lapsed 5-year interim accords between the PLO and Israel. It’s odd that people put so much stock on the sketchy details of the 2003 draft Basic Law and the 2005 amendments, when Hamas spoke out publicly against those same laws before the elections and deliberately ignored them afterward when it launched its own “preemptive coup” in Gaza.

          Can you name any other country involved in a long term civil war or war of independence which didn’t resort to the use of unelected provisional or revolutionary governments?

          Abraham Lincoln’s legal mandate from the states that were involved in the years-long insurrection was non-existent. They certainly didn’t participate in the electoral college that supposedly re-elected him as their President, although he and the US government always maintained the legal fiction that they had not seceded.

      • People put so much stock in the PA + Oslo Accords + Two-State Solution precisely because this has been marketed as the only viable “peace process” for the last 20 years (but all it has achieved for the Palestinians is more deaths, home demolitions, evictions, walls, sieges and colonial settlements).

        The topic of this article is about Abbas threatening to dissolve the PA (and with it the Oslo Accords). But coming from Abbas, these threats are toothless as he has repeatedly made the same and related threats for years, even as he relies on Israel and the US to prop up his collaborationist PA in the West Bank.

        • Hostage says:

          The topic of this article is about Abbas threatening to dissolve the PA (and with it the Oslo Accords).

          The PA is already defunct. The Palestinians are simply calling their government “The State of Palestine”. The Oslo Accords lapsed on September 13, 2000. Abbas is simply abandoning the status quo. In any event, Israeli regimes had declared all or parts of the agreements null and void, ever since the day the ink dried. See Palestinian Authority officially changes name to ‘State of Palestine’ link to haaretz.com

  8. Ramzi Jaber says:

    President Abbas did all he could. We thank him immensily for that. Now we enter the post-Abbas era. It’s the People’s Era with a different Intifada. An Intifada that is totally inclusive of all Palestinian society based on the Arab Spring model and non-stop non-violent demonstrations day-in day-out targeted at each and every illegal settlement and illegal outpost and illegal military checkbox and illegal segment of the shameful wall. Coupled with demos outside the occupied State of Palestine and around the borders of israel, we will push the criminal zionist occupation back to the 1967 line with this comprehensive and sustained approach. I bet it will not take more than 3 months to accomplish…. Time to go to work and liberate the occupied State of Palestine!

  9. thetumta says:

    “This week’s strikes show the ideology for a “Greater Israel” will come with a financial liability that Israeli politicians must be ready to assume if they pursue annexation. ”

    No, I think we should be be prepared for the the Repulo-Crats to saddle us with this cost as well. When in the last forty years have we not paid the Vig on this corrupt religious project?

    Hej!

  10. Sue Wood says:

    Thank you David! Just what I was thinking.

  11. Mayhem says:

    The blame for the PA’s financial demise lies plainly at the feet of its leadership.
    Arafat used the Palestinians as a scapegoat of suffering to be milked for his own profit. As Fayyad himself said

    although the money for the portfolio came from public funds like Palestinian taxes, virtually none of it was used for the Palestinian people; it was all controlled by Arafat. And none of these dealings were made public.

    If Abbas wants to dissolve Oslo and abdicate his responsibilities he should just have the same entitlements as anyone who is declared bankrupt.

    • Hostage says:

      If Abbas wants to dissolve Oslo and abdicate his responsibilities he should just have the same entitlements as anyone who is declared bankrupt.

      No, if Israel can’t 1) fulfill its responsibilities as an occupying power; 2) repatriate or compensate war refugees as provided for in the Geneva Conventions and customary law; while 3) providing its own people a decent standard of living; without outsourcing the costs to donor states and the UN and stealing Palestinian natural resources, then Palestine should have the same rights to impose economic sanctions on Israel through the UN, WTO, and World Bank as any other state.

    • talknic says:

      Mayhem

      “The blame for the PA’s financial demise lies plainly at the feet of its leadership”

      Nothing to do with having been under occupation, Israel withholding taxes, stifling industry etc etc ? Open the other eye for once… You do have two?

      “As Fayyad himself said
      although the money for the portfolio came from public funds like Palestinian taxes, virtually none of it was used for the Palestinian people; it was all controlled by Arafat. And none of these dealings were made public.”

      Ziopoop link to cbsnews.com

      From the NY Times (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED)
      “In total, the Fund estimates, the amounts diverted from the official budget from 1995 until 2000, when the diversions stopped, may have exceeded $898m. IMF officials say $799m was returned to the PA, with the difference accounted for by investment losses………the bulk of the money diverted from the budget – including all the Swiss bank accounts – was either given back or invested in companies that became part of the PIF, an assertion backed by the IMF”

  12. Hostage says:

    The blame for the PA’s financial demise lies plainly at the feet of its leadership.
    Arafat used the Palestinians as a scapegoat of suffering to be milked for his own profit.

    Duh! This may be news for you, but the PA has survived Arafat by nearly a decade. The economists at the World Bank have published several reports which explain in great detail that the Israeli occupation is the most serious economic problem facing the Palestinian people. If you’ve read the Fayyad government’s plan for ending the occupation and establishing the state, you’d know that he agrees with that assessment.