[R-G] Palestinians Consider Going to the UNO for a State; Israeli Right threatens to Recognize its own Colonies in Retaliation

Sid Shniad shniad at gmail.com
Wed Nov 18 11:56:45 MST 2009

Palestinians Consider Going to the UNO for a State; Israeli Right threatens
to Recognize its own Colonies in Retaliation

*The Palestinian leadership is making medium-term preparations to go to the
United Nations to ask for a declaration of a Palestinian
1967 borders (i.e. in the West Bank and Gaza).

The move comes *because the Obama administration's attempts to kickstart the
peace process have crashed and
as Elaf pointed out. The Obama team told far rightwing Likud Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu that Israel was to cease creating new colonies on the
West Bank in preparation for the resumption of talks. *Netanyahu defied
Obama, insisting that new Israeli squatter settlements would be
the Palestinian West Bank.

The Palestinian leadership had made an Israeli settlement freeze a
prerequisite for new talks, and so refused to sit down with the Israelis as
long as the latter were stealing ever more Palestinian land.

Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that he might well
not run for president again, given complete Israeli intransigence and

Since the Netanyahu government is about the least likely government to
negotiate a Palestinian state within 1967 borders you could imagine, the
Palestinians are giving up any hopes that talks will lead anywhere.
Moreover, since Netanyahu *has secret plans to thousands of further Israeli
houses on Palestinian land in the next few
time is short. If it has not already happened, the likelihood is that a
Palestinian state will become impossible very shortly simply because the
West Bank looks like Swiss cheese because of all the Israeli colonies on it.

A Palestinian state is important because the Palestinian people are
stateless. Being without citizenship in a state leaves people vulnerable and
without rights, since there is no state that will defend their rights. If
someone just moved into your house while you were out watching a movie, you
could ask the police of your town to remove them, with reference to the
property deed that you filed with your municipal authorities. But if
Israelis take over Palestinian land, the Palestinians have no one to
complain to. The Israeli courts favor the colonizers and don't recognize
Palestinian rights. Palestinians, being stateless, do not have the right to
have rights. The children of stateless people often lack access to education
and other services.

*Even three years ago the situation was already dire, and it has gotten
worse* <http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4750.shtml> since then:

As such, the Palestinians are the most oppressed people in the world. There
are other peoples who feel that they have the wrong citizenship and would
like to secede, but at least they have a government and rights within that
government's framework. They have someone to give them a passport, which
Palestinians do not. There are other peoples that are in conflict and being
killed in fair numbers. A not insignificant number of Palestinians has been
killed by the Israelis, whether through often indiscriminate and
disproportionate violence or through food and services blockades (a lot of
Gazan children are stunted owing to the bad nutrition caused by the Israeli
blockade of Gaza, which is an illegal collective punishment of
noncombatants,including children.) But of course there are other groups that
are killed in larger numbers. But I would argue that the psychological toll
taken by the imposition of statelessness on a people is more debilitating
than the knowledge that some of the group has been killed by oppressors.

European Jews themselves were made stateless by Nazi decree, as were
millions of other Europeans (leftists were denaturalized by Franco in Spain,
e.g.). In the post-WW II world, citizenship has become recognized as key to
basic human dignity and civil rights. There are only about 12 million
stateless now, and the Palestinians are the single largest group of them.

If there is not a two-state solution, with the Palestinians gaining
citizenship in that way, then ultimately there will be a one-state solution,
and Israel will over the long term be forced to take them on as Israeli
citizens. Boycotts of an Apartheid situation will grow in Europe and
elsewhere in the world, and Israel is vulnerable to such pressures. The US
has so far backed even the worst Israeli policies to the hilt, but those
days may be coming to an end, and anyway the US is now itself an indebted
nation rather than a creditor. It is the creditors who are in the position
to deny Israel access to world credit markets over time.

I know it is hard to imagine now the situation in 50 or 75 years, but I
believe it will be increasingly unfavorable to Israel if the Palestinians
are kept as chattel without basic rights deriving from citizenship. The rise
of al-Qaeda and other radical movements is intimately linked to the
oppression that the Palestinians suffer, and that wave of radicalization is
not over. The Israeli and Neoconservative hawks who hoped that if Saddam
were removed from Iraq, that Iraq would suddenly turn friendly to Israel
have been proved fools. The ways in which Israel lost both the Lebanon war
of 2006 and the Gaza War of Winter 2008-2009 in the court of world opinion
are astonishing if the situation is compared to 1967, when the West
supported Israel to the hilt in its war with Egypt. The trend lines are

So if the Palestinians could get the UNO to declare a Palestinian state and
pressure Israel over it, they would actually be doing the Israelis a huge

The bully Netanyahu announced that if the Palestinians unilarerally declared
a Palestinian state, then Israel would immediately formally annex the
largest Israeli settlements on the West Bank. It is unclear why Netanyahu
thinks a formal annexation would be meaningful. Israel has already de facto
announced that territory and no one in Israel is even hypothetically
offering to give it back. The question is not what has been annexed but what
will be annexed. There is every reason to think that the Israeli far right
will just steal all Palestinian land over time if this sham 'peace process'
continues as it has since 1993.

from "Informed Comment"  Juan Cole  16/11/09

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