Abbas's Statehood Bid Will Deepen Divisions Among Palestinians
If and when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas submits his request for Palestinian membership at the United Nations later this week, he will not be able to claim that he is doing so on behalf of a majority of his people.
Many Palestinians have already told Abbas what they think of his plan -- they oppose the statehood bid because they want a state on all of what they consider Palestine, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
The refugees are also worried that UN recognition of a Palestinian state "only" on the pre-1967 lines would deprive them of the "right of return" to their original homes inside Israel.
So while Abbas has won the support of more than 120 countries for his statehood bid, he does not seem to enjoy the backing of most Palestinian factions, especially the Islamic Jihad, and Hamas -- which wants a state that would replace the Israel, and not just a small one next to Israel.
Many Palestinians also say that Abbas does not have a mandate to demand a state only on the pre-1967 lines. They do not accept a two-state solution, which is the reason they are opposed to the statehood bid. They say all the land is theirs; and that Israel has no right to exist.
Although a few public opinion polls published in the West Bank on the eve of Abbas's visit to New York have indicated that a majority of Palestinians support the statehood bid, the credibility of such surveys has always been in question: most of the polls are funded by groups affiliated in one way or another with the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank.
It is also not even clear what percentage of the Palestinians Abbas and his top aides represent. The PLO and Fatah institutions, that approved his UN move, are all dominated by his loyalists or officials who are on his payroll.
Abbas has chosen to ignore the voices of the opposition -- including those that came from within his inner circle. His spokesmen have dismissed the opposition by accusing its leaders of "conspiring" with Israel to thwart the statehood bid.
There are also a large number of Palestinians who see the statehood bid as a political "stunt" that is only aimed at strengthening Abbas's status among his people by making him appear as a strong and determined leader who dared to challenge the US and Israel.
Abbas has spent the past few weeks working hard to win international recognition for his plan to seek Palestinian membership in the UN. His representatives and diplomats visited dozens of countries around the world to convince their governments to support the statehood bid.
But Abbas did not go to the Gaza Strip to talk to the Palestinians living there about his statehood bid. Nor did he talk to major Palestinian factions such as Hamas, which controls the entire Gaza Strip. He negotiated with almost all the governments in the world about the statehood plan, but never asked himself whether he enjoys the support of most Palestinians.
Abbas cannot even claim that he represents the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip or the 4 million Palestinians scattered in different places around the world. His term in office expired in January 2009 -- a fact that has not prevented him from staying in power. But because of the power struggle between Abbas's Fatah faction and the Hamas, Palestinians have not been able to hold presidential, parliamentary or municipal elections over the past five years.
At present, Abbas cannot set foot in the Gaza Strip because Hamas expelled him from there in the summer of 2007. He cannot even visit his private residence in Gaza City, which has since been seized by Hamas.
Abbas could, however, at least have tried to ask the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and the refugee camps in the Arab countries, about his plan. It would have been better had he held a referendum about the statehood bid to see what the majority of the Palestinians really wanted.
Abbas's statehood bid will not only damage the Palestinian Authority's relations with the US, Israel and several EU countries; it will seriously deepen divisions among the Palestinians as well.
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
by Alan M. Dershowitz