Randa Takieddine
Dar Al-Hayat (Opinion)
September 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Salam Fayyad has been the prime minister of the Palestinian government since 2009, and tasked with the seeming "mission impossible" of building all of the institutions needed to prepare for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Fayyad has succeeded, despite the huge difficulties resulting from Israeli occupation, settlement and other policies. He prepared his report to donor countries, which meet periodically to discuss assistance for the Palestinian Authority, to say that he has met the deadline for the commitment to preparing for this state, whose establishment has been deemed necessary by the overwhelming majority of influential countries in the international community. However, this international community has failed to do anything to live up to this commitment.

Now we see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), ready to submit to the secretary general of the United Nations a request for state membership. This has generated a huge commotion, as the White House threatens a veto, even if Abu Mazen secures nothing from such a move because he will not obtain a majority of nine votes in the Security Council before confronting the American veto. In any case, the Palestinian president believes that he has reached a dead end with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama administration, whatever concessions he makes. The credibility of President Obama's promises and commitments vis-à-vis a Palestinian state is now completely shot, after the Arabs' high hopes following Obama's speech in Cairo at the beginning of his term, which was followed by his talk about a Palestinian state and the 1967 borders. However, Obama then went back on this policy when he added the issue of borders that include a land transfer, and taking into account "demographic changes," i.e. the settlements. The United States Congress then saw its members applaud 27 times for the worst-ever speech by Netanyahu, showing how impossible it is to de-couple any US administration from the desires of its Israel ally, no matter what the differences of opinion between them are.

Amid this American-Israeli stance, France and its president Nicolas Sarkozy are continually putting forward a new policy, one of a return to negotiations, since the US policy has failed. But Washington has rejected the idea of continuing negotiations in an international conference that will remain convened until a result is reached.

Everyone is calling for a Palestinian state, and now that this state is ready, an uproar has resulted. This is because Abu Mazen surprised the world, as we hear, and that he made a mistake, because his policy is making things more difficult for those who want to help him, such as France. But despite all of the confusion and threats that have resulted from his decision to go to the Security Council, he is aware of this. Abu Mazen is forcing countries to live up to their responsibilities and is showing the Palestinian people that he is a man of peace, who has given his interlocutors in the west all of the possible opportunities, but they have failed to pressure Israel; instead, they have sent their diplomats to threaten and pressure him, after they promised him much without doing anything. As for the foreign minister of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, it would have been easier if Tony Blair, who greatly influences her, had been appointed in her place instead. She does not inform countries that are her partners about the proposals she puts forward. The result is that Abu Mazen has become more hard-line, and he is right, since he has no other option. Even if Abu Mazen's request is impossible to carry out, it does not harm the Palestinian people, since it puts some countries before their responsibility to live up to their foreign policy commitments. If the White House threatens a cut-off of aid, this will rebound against the administration with Arab peoples, since it is completely biased toward Israel. France, meanwhile, was tardy in letting Abu Mazen know about the possibility of its support in the General Assembly for a Palestinian state that resembles the Vatican, leaving the talk to Ashton, who has spoken with the logic of Tony Blair. France insists on the necessity of adopting a balanced stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, the general European policy, even though the EU is Israel's number one funder, is ineffective and unbalanced, since it never punishes the Israelis, who have ignored a number of EU resolutions condemning the settlements.

Today, Arab peoples are rising up against repressive regimes, in what the west is calling the "Arab spring." At such a time, Abu Mazen has the right to rise up as well, after long being patient about the western policy that submits to pressure from the US, which is totally biased toward Israel. The Palestinian request for state membership in the Security Council is tantamount to a Palestinian spring, despite all of the pressure.


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