Abbas's "Diplomatic Intifada" Against Israel
Translations of this item:
The Palestinian Authority fears that the EU, under pressure from the Americans, may delay imposing restrictions out of fear that the move could harm the peace talks.
Abbas is also seeking to pave the way for the potential failure of the peace talks by holding Israel responsible; sending the message that Israel prefers settlement construction to peace with the Palestinians.
As the US-sponsored peace talks continue, the Palestinian Authority has launched a worldwide campaign to promote sanctions against settlements in the West Bank and Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.
The latest campaign is mainly aimed at persuading the European Union [EU] to activate its new "guidelines" that call for imposing sanctions on any Israeli institution or organization that operates over the pre-1967 lines, namely east Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights.
The EU regulations are expected to go into effect on the first of January, 2014.
But the Palestinian Authority fears that the EU, under pressure from the Americans, may delay imposing the restrictions out of fear that the move could harm the peace talks.
That is why Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last week visited a number of EU countries in a bid to convince their leaders not to delay implementation of their anti-settlement "guidelines."
Catherine Ashton (L), the EU 's foreign affairs representative, meets with PA President Mahmoud Abbas (R). (Image source: European Union)
During a press conference in Brussels with the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, Abbas called on international firms that do business with settlements to stop "violating international law."
Abbas's EU tour coincided with reports that the Palestinian Authority leadership has prepared a "blacklist" of 500 international companies that have business ties with settlements. The Palestinian Authority is threatening to take legal action against these companies.
So while the Palestinian Authority is conducting peace talks with Israel, its leaders are busy waging a fierce campaign in the international arena against settlements .
Yet what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is not telling the European leaders is that he himself agreed three months ago to drop his demand for a full cessation of settlement construction as a precondition for returning to the negotiating table.
For four years, Abbas refused to resume peace talks with Israel unless the Israeli government agreed to a full cessation of settlement construction. He eventually abandoned this demand after coming under heavy pressure from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
What Abbas is also not telling world leaders is that he and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, had negotiated with Israel for more than 14 years while construction in the settlements was continuing. Back then, the issue of the settlements did not seem to bother Abbas and Arafat.
According to Palestinian sources, Abbas even agreed to continued settlement construction in return for the release of Palestinians from Israeli prisons.
Facing growing criticism from Palestinians over his agreement to resume the peace talks with Israel unconditionally, Abbas is now trying to recruit the Europeans to exert pressure on Israel regarding the settlements.
His latest anti-settlement campaign is aimed at appeasing his Palestinian critics who accuse Abbas of capitulating to American pressure to drop his demand for a settlement freeze.
By placing the issue of settlements at the top of his list of priorities, Abbas is also seeking to pave the way for holding Israel fully responsible for the potential failure of the peace talks. The goal of his anti-settlement campaign is to send a message to the world that Israel prefers settlement construction to peace with the Palestinians.
Abbas failed to get a promise from the Americans that settlement construction would stop during the peace talks. Now he is hoping that the Europeans will step in to give him what the U.S. was unable to provide.
Some Palestinians have described Abbas's new campaign as a "diplomatic intifada" against Israel in the international community. They say that the move is the first in series of steps that the Palestinian Authority intends to take in the coming weeks and months to rally the world against Israel.
The next steps the Palestinian Authority is planning include seeking full membership in the United Nations General Assembly and other international agencies and conventions, especially the International Criminal Court. The Palestinian Authority says it has prepared a list of dozens of Israelis that it hopes to prosecute as "war criminals."
The anti-settlement drive should be seen in the context of the Palestinian Authority's massive efforts to isolate Israel in the international arena. Palestinian Authority leaders are hoping that international pressure will force Israel to its knees and prompt it to accept all of Abbas's demands, first and foremost a withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.
With such an intifada raging against Israel, it is hard to see how the peace talks could ever result in an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Abbas obviously does not believe that the talks will produce an agreement. That is why his strategy these days is, with the help of the international community, to try to impose a solution on Israel.
Reader comments on this item
|Futility of Peace Talks [74 words]||Phil N.||Oct 29, 2013 16:51|
|It is Netanyahu's fault. [49 words]||Ralph Haglund, PhD||Oct 29, 2013 07:52|
|What peace talks and what is new on the diplomatic front? [57 words]||Bart Benschop||Oct 29, 2013 06:46|
Comment on this item
by Pierre Rehov
For terrorists, the death of innocent children is irrelevant. In a society that promotes martyrdom as the ultimate sign of success, the death of innocent children can sometimes even be seen as a public relations blessing.
In every action, intent is paramount. There should never be a moral equivalence painted between the deliberate killing of civilians, and a retaliation that tragically leads to casualties among civilians.
There is, however, one small difference: in the Middle East, reporters are threatened, except in Israel. Their choice becomes a simple one: promote the Palestinian point of view or stop working in the West Bank. Keep the eye of the camera dirty or lose your job. This show should not go on.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Since 1948, the Arab countries and government have been paying mostly lip service to the Palestinians.
"They have money and oil, but don't care about the Palestinians, even though we are Arabs and Muslims like them. What a Saudi or Qatari sheikh spends in one night in London, Paris or Las Vegas could solve the problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians." — Palestinian human rights activist.
"Some Arabs were hoping that Israel would rid them of Hamas." — Ashraf Salameh, Gaza City.
"Some of the Arab regimes are interested in getting rid of the resistance in order to remove the burden of the Palestinian cause, which threatens the stability of their regimes." — Mustafa al-Sawwaf, Palestinian political analyst.
"Most Arabs are busy these days with bloody battles waged by their leaders, who are struggling to survive. These battles are raging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian Authority." — Mohammed al-Musafer, columnist.
"The Arab leaders don't know what they want from the Gaza Strip. They don't even know what they want from Israel." — Yusef Rizka, Hamas official.
by Soeren Kern
European elites, who take pride in viewing the EU as a "postmodern" superpower, have long argued that military hard-power is illegitimate in the 21st century. Unfortunately for Europe, Russia (along with China and Iran) has not embraced the EU's fantastical soft-power worldview, in which "climate change" is now said to pose the greatest threat to European security.
For its part, the European Commission, the EU's administrative branch, which never misses an opportunity to boycott institutions in Israel, has issued only a standard statement on the shooting down of MH17 in Ukraine, which reads: "The European Union will continue to follow this issue very closely."
The EU has made only half-hearted attempts to develop alternatives to its dependency on Russian oil and gas.
by Shoshana Bryen
Proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about [equality of] firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.
"Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime.... even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality)." — Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.
"The greater the military advantage anticipated, the larger the amount of collateral damage -- often civilian casualties -- which will be "justified" and "necessary." — Dr. Françoise Hampton, University of Essex, UK.
by Irfan Al-Alawi
"Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi" is Abu Du'a, a follower of the late Osama Bin Laden. By adding the name "Al-Qurayshi" in his current alias, he is also seeking to affirm descent from Muhammad.
The allegation of theological sovereignty over all Sunnis extends to Indonesia and Morocco. The idea that the borders between Syria and Iraq will be dissolved by the new "caliphate" defies all Islamic theology and history. As the Qur'an states, "Allah "made the nations and tribes different." (49:13) Syria and Iraq have been distinct for millennia.
The "Islamic State" seeks to obliterate these diverse identities by expelling or killing all Shias and Sunni Sufis. And it does not invoke the Ottoman caliphate in its propaganda, demonstrating decisively the fake nature of the "Islamic State."
A caliphate is obsolete and the "Islamic State" is totalitarian. All Sunnis need to repudiate them soundly, even by force of arms.