Writes David Singer:
'Annexation of large areas of the West Bank by Israel has now become a distinct possibility with the unilateral decision this week to scrap any trace of the existence of the Palestinian Authority by its President Mahmoud Abbas.
In a "presidential decree" Abbas has called for all official documents – including passports, drivers' licenses, postage stamps and car number plates – to now bear the name 'State of Palestine', instead of the generally used 'Palestinian National Authority'.
Abbas has also ordered foreign ministries and embassies around the world to start using the title.
Abbas's decree comes just a few days after he had reportedly told an Israeli politician that if there was no progress in the peace talks:
“I will take the phone and call Netanyahu and tell him: ‘Sit in the chair instead of me; take the keys and you will be responsible for the Palestinian Authority."His remark prompted this angry response from senior Hamas official Abu Marzouk, in a posting on Facebook:
“Why does Abbas want to hand the keys over to Netanyahu? Why not hand it over to Hamas?”Abu Marzouk – who turned 62 on 9 January and is slated to replace Khaled Mashaal as head of Hamas – said it would have been:
“better and more effective had Abbas threatened to hand the West Bank to Hamas.”In a fearless riposte, Jamal Muheisen, a member of the Fatah Central Council, said the Palestinians should first hold presidential and legislative elections to choose their leaders
“Whoever wins in the elections will be handed the keys of the entire Palestinian Authority, be it Hamas or Fatah or any other Palestinian faction”Now it seems the keys to control of the entire Palestinian Authority have been thrown down the drain by its own president just days later – as have any hopes of negotiating a two-state solution as prescribed by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.
This solution has simply vanished into thin air after being flavour of the month for the last twenty years – with one of the two principal negotiating parties having gone missing in action.
We are now being subjected to the following delusional garbage being spouted on Al-Jazzera on 8 January by the now defunct chief negotiator of the now defunct Palestinian Authority – Saeb Erekat:
"Palestine is a country under occupation. What were Norway, Finland, Holland, France, Korea, Philippines between 1939 and 1945? – nation states under occupation. Today, the state of Palestine is officially a state under occupation. It has 192 member countries that recognise this and a nation state, Israel, which is the occupying power; these are the new realities."The comparison is totally fictitious and Erekat's arrogance is unbounded.
Comparing States that had existed for centuries to a State that has never existed in recorded history whilst claiming statehood in an area it has never controlled is mind blowing.
Certainly 192 "member countries" – presumably in the United Nations – do not recognise Erekat's outrageous statement.
Purporting to draw many of these countries into what is increasingly appearing to be a continuation of the Fatah-Hamas rivalry for control of the hearts and minds of the long suffering Palestinian Arabs is political madness.
Certainly 50 of those countries did nothing of the sort – 9 rejecting and 41 abstaining from supporting the General Assembly resolution on 29 November last granting Palestine the status of a non-member observer State at its meetings.
Abbas and Erekat should have heeded the explanations given by Singapore and Germany for abstaining - before embarking on their new flight into unreality
A summary of these two countries views was issued in a release from the United Nations Department of Public Information News and Media Division; Germany's vote against the Resolution was summarised as follows:
"The delegate of Germany said his nation firmed believed in “two States for two peoples” and shared the goal of a Palestinian State. However, such status must be achieved only through direct negotiations. There was doubt that today’s action would be helpful for the peace process at this point in time. “It might lead to further hardening of positions instead of improving chances of a two-State solution through direct negotiations,” he said. He explicitly welcomed that today’s resolution called for a two-State solution and, hence, recognized the right of Israel to exist in peace. However, Israel’s legitimate security concern had to be addressed in a credible manner."To say Germany was spot on in its predictions would be an understatement.
Singapore was even more circumspect in its sober assessment made against the baying cries from those 138 states who could not see the wood for the trees.
"The representative of Singapore said that his delegation supported the right of the Palestinian people to a homeland and had, in the past, supported relevant Assembly resolutions. However, his country had abstained from today’s vote because only a negotiated settlement, consistent with Security Council resolution 242 (1967), could provide the basis for a viable, long-term solution. Both sides had legitimate rights and shared responsibilities and must be prepared to make compromises to achieve the larger good of a lasting peace. Because of those interlinked rights and responsibilities, no unilateral move could result in a just and durable outcome."The preparadness of especially the democratic states to vote for the General Assembly Resolution on 29 November and abandon Security Council Resolution 242 – the only internationally accepted United Nations resolution binding both Jews and Arabs to ending their conflict – was shameful.
Those democracies must now rue the day that their votes could be interpreted as giving aid and comfort to the state of utter confusion that now exists following Abbas's presidential decree and Erekat's involvement of them in his latest statement.
Israel will hold elections on 22 January.
A new political party, Bayit Hayehudi – the Jewish homeland party – could possibly end up exercising a controlling vote in the next Parliament.
Its leader Naftali Bennett has already made clear that he will be calling for Israel to annex at least 60 per cent of the West Bank – adding in an interview in Haaretz on 28 December:
"And in the end, Jordan will be Palestine. There is no chance that, between the river and the sea, a Palestinian state will arise. The two-state solution is dead. There is no need to bury the two-state solution because it is already buried."Abbas has helped advance this possible outcome because of his inane presidential decree consigning the Palestinian Authority to the dustbin of history.
Ave atque vale, Palestinian Authority.
Others less charitable might say – "good riddance".