Not accidently, this is the third time we have announced a Palestinian state; the first time was September 1948. It was announced by the commons of Palestine government. The second time was in Algeria in 1987. And here we go, this September we announce it for the third time.
Many Palestinians are cheering for the Palestinian Authority (PA) Bid. Many of them are well educated and even experts in their fields of law, politics and journalism. Yet, when it comes to the Bid, their knowledge and experience seems narrow, they become very passionate. Indeed, we Palestinians are emotional always, and this might be the reason. Protests are taking place in the West Bank, where Fatah movement as well as the PA are asking people to take it into streets. In fact, many are participating zealously. Certainly, the feeling is inexpressible when one gets an independence and freedom. The prospect of it materialising on the ground will be a life-changing experience for all the Palestinians when, we all will be emancipated from the occupier’s oppression. However, this should not be done the way it has been within that Bid.
I simply oppose it because I was never asked what I want as a Palestinian. I was marginalised like millions of Palestinians in the Diaspora and the refugee camps. The PA and Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) do not have the mandate to take such a bid to the UN. PLO created PA long time ago to self-administrate the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. However, PA pretends to represent all the Palestinians either in the Occupied Territories or in the Diaspora. PA and its leadership have been managing the political arena since Oslo. People in the Palestinian territories made it clear in the elections in 2006 that they did not approve PA as their representative. PA is referred to here as Fatah.
Having said that, PLO is another story, it was the legitimate representative of the Palestinians but not anymore. I’m not adopting Hamas stance which calls on reforming the PLO. Rather, I’m suggesting my personal view based on facts. PLO used to be the sole representative of all Palestinians when once; it had its own parliament called “Palestinian National Council”. During that period, refugees’ own voice was heard through their representatives from Chile in Latin America till the refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria. It has been almost 16 years where the last elections of the PNC took place. Does not this put the PLO’s legitimately on the edge?
I think going to the UN without consulting the Palestinian People undermines the right of the majority of Palestinians. The majority is being marginalized. It is apparent that a small group of people is monopolising the Palestinian decision. I clearly blame Fatah or call it the PLO or the PA, at the end they are all the same. I also, blame Hamas. Hamas was not clear on the Bid. Many of its senior officials supported the bid while others ignored it. Hamas has given the PA a cover to go for that Bid through the national unity deal signed in Egypt.
The nature of the Bid is really unclear to many people. But what is vivid here is that, Palestinians via PA are officially giving up on many of the principles of an entire nation. The bid adopts 1967 borders as the borders of that state. Why the PLO did not adopt other decisions to base its bid on? The PA /PLO are saying that they are in huge battle with Israel and the US to pass this bid. If it is that case, why cannot the PA base that bid on partition resolution 181? Sadly, the PA is being pushed in the corner for that bid. No one has pushed it. It has pushed itself because of the endless rounds of failure negotiations which have lasted for years. PA went to that Bid after realising that Israel is never ready for peace. The bid step was hasty and not profoundly studied. Even, us, Palestinians we are not familiarized about that Bid. We don’t know its contents, ramifications or its merits if there is any!
Obviously, the bid if passed will create new facts. Palestinians will officially adopt two state solution. Facts on the ground will make it hard to implement it and create that state. Yet, the whole cause will be limited to a dispute on borders. Israel will be asked to withdraw to these borders. Yet, major issues like Right of Return, Jerusalem, Water and other issues will not be addressed. The entire cause of a nation that has been ethnically cleansed will be an issue of a dispute between two people. Even, we will never see Israelis apologizing for us, same as the Germany did with the Jews.
Some experts consider the PA move as an intelligent plan to isolate Israel. They think the Bid will further seclude Israel after it has lost many key allies like Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia among other Arab regimes. Other experts suggest that this Bid is a move from the PA to regain its lost popularity on the Palestinian street. Without a doubt, there are many explanations on the issue. But the key element here is that the Bid does not represent the whole Palestinian nation. No mandate has been granted to the PA who lacks the legitimacy given by people.
PA and its spokespersons are counting on that step to reach peace. Whilst, facts on the ground put forward solid harsh realities. What will be the future of Israeli settlements on that state? Will we have our own real independence from Israel? Will Israel grant us sovereignty on that state? Will I fly one day from London to Gaza airport easily without being scrutinised by Israel? Will I visit the West Bank without any interrogation? All these questions and others will be left for the PA to answer, if the deliberation on the Bid is ever allowed to materialise in UN in the presence of Israel and the supposed peace broker the United States.
By Sameh A. Habeeb
Founder of the Palestine Telegraph Newspaper
Photo by Sameh A. Habeeb