Abdullah Iskandar
Dar Al-Hayat (Opinion)
September 29, 2011 - 12:00am

Let us go through the best case scenario in regard to President Mahmoud Abbas’ request before the Security Council to earn the recognition of the Palestinian state: The Council decides during today’s session to transfer the request to the commission in charge of examining the petitions, which is at the same time composed of the fifteen member states. The committee ratifies the request and transfers it for voting at the Council, where it earns the sufficient number of votes (nine and above) only to be obstructed by the announced American veto and be consequently toppled.

At this point, a simplistic mind would intervene and say: So, what is the point if the step will eventually fail due to the American veto? This simplistic mind, which is represented by the Hamas movement on the Palestinian arena, would also add that everything being done by Abbas is a play that is useless for the cause, as long as the Israelis and the Americans behind them are rejecting the formula and warning that the state is extracted from the occupation and not requested at the United Nations.

However, this simplification missed the fact that the presentation of a full membership request at the United Nations is the outcome of the modern national action course since the eruption of armed action in 1965. Furthermore, the Palestinian diplomatic action which has been accompanied by the armed struggle – since then – succeeded at times and missed at others, but remained the one that revived the necessity of finding a solution to the Palestinian cause, whether on the regional or international levels. Moreover, since the Madrid Conference in 1991 and its famous “land for peace” slogan, this action placed the solution of the Palestinian state on the agenda of all the preoccupations related to regional issues. One would even say that since the Arabs’ consensus over the land in exchange for peace, the fate of the Palestinian state has become linked to the peace process, regardless of the American and Israeli positions toward the nature of this peace and despite the fact that the supposed American and Israeli donation of that state is a mere illusion.

At a time when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was methodically undermining the peace process in an attempt to undermine the independent and sovereign Palestinian state, the Palestinian peace method was earning support and assistance to consecrate the nuclei of this state on the ground. Now is the time to reap the fruits of this effort via a major diplomatic battle at the level of the United Nations. This is what is currently happening in the hallways of the blue building in New York, i.e. keeping the state’s request alive as the pivotal point of the peace process in the region.

This Palestinian national course was obscured by the simplistic and childish response of Hamas to the request to see the Palestinian state recognized on the international level. Consequently, the Islamic movement appeared to be outside the context of this course at best, even converging with the occupation and the American position in regard to the rejection of the recognition request, regardless of what it is saying about the recognition of Israel and the right of return. This is despite the fact that Abbas’ speech focused on the border of the state whose recognition is requested, and on the international resolutions that should govern this recognition.

As for extracting the right to control a piece of land without international recognition, it would be better to go back to the related precedents. In this context, one might point to the experience of the North Cyprus “state” that is still a Turkish reserve, because Ankara is still failing to attract any sort of external recognition of the Northern Cypriot entity. And despite the nature of the conflict on the island and the attempts to unify it, the southern part is still the Cypriot state because it enjoys this international recognition.

There are other cases around the world in which an armed group imposed its laws, such as the drug cartels in Latin America or the fundamentalist groups in Asia. We do not think that Hamas wants the Gaza Strip to remain in this situation - i.e. with an armed force merely controlling a piece of land - because such a control will in no way be considered a state, or at least a national state.

Anyway, Hamas missed the chance of becoming part of the Palestinian national project and its historical character, through its position vis-à-vis the meaning of the international recognition of the Palestinian state. So will it make amends at the level of the reconciliation file?


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