The Implications of Raised Expectations in Palestine
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has officially decided to go to the United Nations in September to ask for recognition of a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines.
But how can Abbas go to the UN in New York when he cannot even go back to his home in the Gaza Strip, which has been seized by Hamas?
How can he go to the UN when he cannot visit the Gaza Strip, where more than 1.5 million Palestinians live?
How can Abbas go to the UN when he cannot even visit a refugee camp in the West Bank, Lebanon or Syria?
Even if the UN votes in favor of a Palestinian state in September, how does Abbas plan to implement the decision on the ground? Can he really convince Hamas and Palestinian refugees to accept the two-state solution and abandon the "right of return" to Israel proper?
Hamas, which represents many Palestinians, has made it clear that it would never recognize Israel's right to exist or accept the two-state solution. Hamas will, of course, reject any UN resolution calling for the establishment of a state "only" within the pre-1967 lines.
Hamas's goal is to replace Israel with an Islamic state that may allow some Jews to live under its jurisdiction as a minority. Hamas wants all the land, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. That is why any resolution adopted by the UN would not bring everlasting and comprehensive peace to the Middle East.
Most refugees, for their part, will also oppose any UN resolution that does not call for their return to their original homes and villages inside Israel. For them, recognition of a state along the pre-1967 lines would mean depriving them of their right to return to their original homes and villages. Already now, many refugees are expressing concern over the September statehood bid.
Abbas has failed to consult with all Palestinian factions and representatives of his people about his controversial statehood bid. It is highly likely that he doesn't want to do so because he is afraid that he would not enjoy the backing of a majority of his people for such a move.
True, Abbas has secured the support of Fatah and the PLO for his statehood initiative, but who said that these two bodies are representative and have a mandate to make such important decisions? The two groups are dominated by Abbas loyalists who receive funding from the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.
It is obvious by now that the September initiative would not advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. On the contrary, it would further complicate matters for both Israel and the Palestinians, plunging the region into another vicious cycle of bloodshed and violence.
Abbas has raised the expectations of many Palestinians to a dangerous level, as many are now expecting to wake up in September to see a new state where they live in peace and security. But when that does not happen, and the Palestinians realize they have been once again sold false promises, they could turn to violence not only against Israel, but also against their leaders in the West Bank.
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by Peter Huessy
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