Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
September Bid for Palestinian Statehood
By Mazin Qumsiyeh
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, August 9, 2011
In memorium: friend of Palestine, a great French activist, who founded
friends of Al-Rowwad Theater (Aida Refugee Camp)in France,
Jean-Claude Ponsin passed away at age 81. We shall not forget such
great human beings.
Some of my friends in Fat'h (Fatah) and others
will not like some of what I have to say here. Others will respect and
even appreciate it including some members of Fat'h central committee.
The situation is becoming intolerable and some of us feel we cannot remain
silent. I personally owe it to the 50,000 of you who occasionally read my
emails and the many who specifically email to ask me about this issue of
September. The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back leading to
this essay was an email from Dr. Saeb Erekat today that included a
document claiming to be strategies of the Palestinian leadership in going
to the UN in September for recognition. The same day, Israeli
authorities initiated laws in the Knesset to make Israel more Jewish (see
below) AND approved 930 new houses for a new Jewish only settlement of Har
Homa C. This is an adjacent hill to Har Homa A and B and is on Jabal
Al-Deek, land of my village of Beit Sahour. Words from unelected
representative can be lost in the din of jack-hammers and bulldozers
tearing the ancient landscape. Declarations to the media about 122
countries recognizing Palestine (about the same as was the case in 1989)
mean little to villagers and refugees who are losing daily in their
struggle to get their concerns heard by those driving SUVs and Mercedes
cars in the streets of Ramallah and who go unhindered through checkpoints
with VIP cards.
I talk and work with activists on the
ground daily. The message they all relay is that there is a widening
rift between all political parties and the people. They know it and
admit it (many leaders said they can no longer mobilize people). The
answer is known: go back to the people and reignite the revolutionary
spirit that exists within each of us. The therapies for the
metastatic growth of settlements on Palestinian land, to the increase in
racist Israeli laws, to the plight of refugees all do not involve
documents by Erekat or a resort to biased International fora that issues
resolutions they were never willing to implement.
category of "What we have to do?" Erekat's document starts with "1. Open a
strategic dialogue with the U.S. administration on the question of
membership. It is evident that the use of the United States' 'veto' makes
it impossible for Palestine to become a member state. "After 37 years of
opening "strategic dialogue" with the US, 18 years of direct negotiations
under the auspices of the US, under what logic can such a dialogue lead to
anything. Just think of the standing ovations given to the war-criminal
Netanyahu in the US Congress to see that this is an illusion. If the PA
could not even get Obama to stick to his own words on simple matters (e.g.
settlement activity must be stopped), what makes Erekat and company think
that talking more will get Obama to help establish a Palestinian state.
Our own representatives refuse to even boycott Israeli officials (our UN
representative attends a farewell party to the Israeli representative).
Ofcourse every one knows that we Palestinians are the ones being pressured
and not the Israeli government. The trap of Oslo that created a
class of people dependent on their livelihood on aid ensured that
independent Palestinian decision-making is impossible. Under these
circumstances, what makes anyone think that it is possible to change the
status quo without removing the structures of dependency created by the
In a second point of "What we have to do?" Erekat
states that "Recognizing a Palestinian State on the 1967 borders and
becoming a UN member will make it easy for the Palestinian leadership to
make a decision on the final status negotiations immediately, on all
issues without exception (Jerusalem, borders, settlements, refugee, water,
security, and the release of prisoners and detainees)." This is
extremely dangerous and misleading. Why is UN recognition linked to
unconditional return to fruitless negotiations? What makes anyone with any
logic believe that the US would change without us first changing and
applying some real pressure? And since when is the Palestinian struggle
reduced to a Palestinian "state" in Part of the West Bank (no Palestinian
or Israeli leader now believes even in getting the whole of the West
Bank)? Many Palestinians point out that records of previous "negotiations"
show that Qurei, Erekat and Abu Mazen were willing to give up on refugee
and other rights in return for this emasculated state (see leaked
Palestine documents and Abu-Mazin - Beilin agreement and Geneva accords).
In a third point, it states: "In light of President Obama's speech on
5/19/2011 in which he talked about our choice to go to the UN saying: "for
the Palestinians, their efforts to delegitimize Israel will ultimately
fail, the symbolic actions to isolate Israel from the UN in September will
not create an independent state. It is clear that the Obama administration
understands that we are going to the UN for:
-An attempt to isolate and delegitimize Israel.
-That it is a
-Such effort will not lead to the creation of an
This understanding is contrary to what we want to achieve from applying
for a membership for the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East
Jerusalem as its capital. We do not seek to delegitimize Israel or isolate
it nor is this a symbolic act."
How many liberation movements in the world do you know of that refuse
to even try to isolate a repressive apartheid regime? Just like many other
situations before, this Palestinian authority wants to get Israel off the
hook. Just like when they shelved consideration of the Goldstone
report or when they lobbied Israel against release of Palestinian
political prisoners (supposedly so that Hamas would not gain points).
Just like when many of them said publicly that they do not boycott Israeli
products but only "settlement products" (as if there is a difference in
Just like when they issued instructions to their
security services to stop popular resistance activities (only allowing
vigils in the middle of cities but no friction with Israeli occupation
soldiers). The list goes on and on.
As for the event at the
UN being a symbolic act, indeed that is what is being contemplated.
The PA should instead get beyond symbolism and do serious actions like
demand the UN rescind Israel's membership (since it failed to respect the
UN charter and violated its own promises to comply with its obligations).
A real effort would entail asking UN member state to deal with Israel like
they dealt with Apartheid South Arica since Israel fulfills all the
requirements of an apartheid regime under the relevant International
A few years ago, Mr. Erekat came for a tour in
the US. When some leading Palestinian Americans started questioning
him on the failure of Oslo, he just got angry and said to about 40 of us
that he has a PhD and that "who are you all to question things".
This is simply unacceptable. The cause of 11 million Palestinians cannot
be left to a few individuals (no matter how or if well-meaning).
The fear of aid cut
US Aid to the Palestinian authority is done in
a way to implement US policy which in turn (due to AIPAC and other
lobbies) serves Israeli occupation policies. For example most USAID
dollars go to infrastructure (mostly roads) that create temporary jobs and
relieve the responsibility of the occupier. Most roads are
alternative roads that help solidify the apartheid system (ie. roads
around settlement blocks etc). The bulk of the aid goes directly to
support the salaries of Palestinians employed by the Palestinian
authority. Most of that budget goes toward salaries for security
Per Oslo II, that security is to ensure that there is no friction with
Israelis (ie. suppress any resistance including nonviolent resistance).
Because the salaries and political stability of the subservient
Palestinian authority has come to depend on this aid, it is very easy to
use it as leverage to extort high level officials. We saw this for
example in the shelving of the report by the Goldstone commission.
We saw it in 2006 and
2007 (when aid was cut following the elections,
quickly the elites had to undermine the government and go back to
supporting the status quo). In short, aid from the US harms Palestinian
national interest and serves to perpetuate the occupation because it
entrenches the status quo, reieves Israel from the cost of being an
occupier, and restricts political freedom to liberate ourselves.
more on this, please read
I urge the
central committee of Fat'h which acted boldly to remove Dahlan from his
position as its media person to act boldly to go down the path of further
and bolder changes. Setting term-limits on service would be an
appropriate first step for Fatah and could set the stage also for setting
term limits for PA positions. My humble and open recommendation is
for the Palestinian leadership to come back to the people and get new
blood periodically. With this new blood, a mobilization of the
Palestinians in exile can be done to effect real change by building
appropriate short, medium, and long term strategies for example by
lobbying, media work, and BDS (Boycotts, divestments, and sanctions).
Internally, the Palestinian house needs to be put in order by implementing
existing agreements to create a representative Palestinian National
Council (of the PLO). That would create an atmosphere of real
popular resistance that could indeed quickly change the dynamics on the
ground.[See my book on lessons from 130 years;
There are hundreds of Palestinian lawyers, political science
professors, and other experts who can be consulted to build a real
strategy and direction towards liberation. Engaging in open dialogue
about these things is good for everyone. The status quo cannot be
tolerated. It is better to do this now than wait till September when
the people (having falsely raised their hopes of an end to the occupation)
will see the leaders who kept talking to them about September flounder and
It really makes no difference whether one is apathetic or
one is colluding with the status quo of an occupation profitable to the
occupiers (thanks to the Oslo accords). After all, silence is complicity.
Palestinians will soon come full circle: Years have been wasted making
concessions to their colonizers. Palestinians were right to call for a
secular state at the outset
[After passing laws that discriminate in land rights, in
civil rights, in privileges, in residency, and even in marriage among many
others, now comes new laws on freedom of speech, and then there is this.]
Lawmakers seek to drop Arabic as one of Israel's official languages
"Another clause states that Jewish law will be a source of inspiration to
the legislature and the courts. This would mean that MKs would be asked to
legislate in the spirit of Jewish law, and courts to adjudicate by it in
cases where no other express law exists."
Must read especially
to those who still believe in Oslo accord: Palestinian low salaries also
linked to Israeli social struggle
Check the label:
Boycott Israeli dates
German): Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh - Akademiker und Aktivist im Nahostkonflikt
Am I allowed to be a Palestinian Jew? by Audrey Farber <http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/am-i-allowed-to-be-a-palestinian-jew.html>
Hidden video camera inside Israeli prison (from women held when they
tried to come to spend a week in Palestine 'Welcome to Palestine'
A Bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home