Palestine – Testing the World’s Patience

July 3, 2011 by David Singer
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The Palestinian Authority headed by an unelected President – Mahmoud Abbas – and an unelected Prime Minister – Salam Fayyad – continue to live in a fantasy dream world.

Talks to replace the Fayyad Government with yet another unelected Government comprising the two arch rival Palestinian factions – Hamas and Fatah – continue to founder despite the pomp and fanfare that accompanied the signing of  a heads of agreement between them in Cairo on 4 May.

On 29 June Fatah and Hamas were reported to have agreed to delay the formation of the unity government until after the expected United Nations vote on Palestinian Arab statehood in September. The official Saudi Press Agency said PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas relayed the proposal to Hamas through Turkey, which has reportedly sought to resolve obstacles to reconciliation.

This delay comes as no surprise.  Turkey is wasting its time trying to remove the insurmountable obstacles to the formation of such a unity government.

Any idea that Hamas would join a government of national unity with Fatah to seek recognition in the United Nations of a second Arab state in just 5% of former Palestine is an illusion.

For Hamas it is 100% of former Palestine or nothing.

Hamas – The Islamic Resistance Movement – makes its sworn objective of creating an Islamic State in all of former Palestine very clear in Article 11 of its Charter:

The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of   it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President nor all of them in the aggregate, have that right, nor has that right any     organization or the aggregate of all organizations, be they Palestinian or Arab, because Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection.

Fatah on the other hand seeks to create a secular state in all of former Palestine as is made clear in articles 12 and 13 of its Constitution :

Article 12:  Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.

Article 13:   Establishing an independent democratic state with complete sovereignty on all Palestinian lands, and Jerusalem is its capital city, and protecting the citizens’ legal and equal     rights without any racial or religious discrimination.

The Palestinian Authority  (PA) – the love child conceived by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993 – remains captive to the objectives of the PLO – which believes the liberation of former Palestine can be achieved in stages by first regaining a territorial foothold in the West Bank  and Gaza as the prelude to a final all out assault on Israel and Jordan.

This is made clear in articles 1 and 9 of the PLO Charter:

Article 1:  Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.

Article 9:  Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it . They also assert their right to normal life in Palestine and to exercise their right to self-determination and sovereignty over it.

British Mandate Palestine comprised what is today known as Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza – and the PLO claims all of it.

The PA is nothing more than a negotiating front for the PLO. The PA lacks any real independent authority, political credibility  or the ability to conclude a  peace treaty with Israel that would be permanently binding on the Palestinian Arabs.

The PA is captive to the aims and ambitions of Hamas and the PLO – which itself is dominated by Fatah and does not include Hamas among its members.

The PA  President – Mahmoud Abbas – is totally conflicted as head of both the PLO and Fatah as well.

In the face of this overwhelming commonality of interest between Hamas, Fatah and the PLO to get rid of both the Jews in Israel and the Hashemites in Jordan – one must ask why the United Nations could possibly believe that any approach by  the politically neutered PA to recognize a Palestinian Arab State in the West Bank and Gaza could advance the cause of peace and end a conflict that has lasted 130 years.

The Palestinian Arabs have passed up countless opportunities to achieve their own state in the West Bank and Gaza during the last 74 years – and on some occasions in even more territory than that – in:

  • 1937 – when recommended by the Peel Commission
  • 1947 – when recommended by the United Nations
  • 1948-1967 – when such a state could have been created by the stoke of an Arab League pen after all the Jews living there had been driven out
  • 1950 – when the West Bank Arabs instead chose to unify with Jordan
  • 2001 and 2008 – when offers by Israel to cede sovereignty in more than 90% of the West Bank were rejected by the PA
  • 2005 – when Israel disengaged and evacuated all its citizens and military forces from Gaza

Any United Nations decision to recognize such a state in 2011 would fly in the face of international law – particularly the Montevideo Convention 1933 – and open up the United Nations to demands to recognize similar claims for independence and secession by scores of other groups agitating for self-determination within many of the member states of the United Nations.

The United Nations should make it clear that until the Palestinian Arabs speak as one and declare their intention is not to eliminate two UN member states – Israel and Jordan – any thoughts of revisiting a proposal made by this very organization and rejected 63 years ago will not be entertained again.

The world has bent the knee for far too long trying to do appease the Palestinian Arabs. It is time for the Palestinian Arabs to clean out the stables and get a single unified government which is prepared to sign an unconditional peace treaty declaring its readiness to recognize the sovereignty and independence of Israel and Jordan.

Until this happens the United Nations would be well advised to turn down any PA approach in September.

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network



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