The ‘Palestinians’ have called for a ‘day of rage‘ against the United States on Friday, as they prepare to take their resolution condemning Israel to the UN General Assembly.
Palestinians on Saturday called for a “day of rage” this Friday to protest against the US administration’s decision to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have condemned Israel for building in the settlements.
Expressing outrage over Friday’s veto, the Palestinian Authority threatened to reassess its position on the Middle East peace process.
The PA said it was now considering going to the UN General Assembly with a request to issue a similar resolution condemning construction in the settlements. Just two months ago, the assembly passed a resolution – which had the approval of 159 out of 192 UN member states – calling on Israel to halt settlement activity. Only six nations, including Israel and the US, opposed it.
Some Palestinians, including Tawfik Tirawi, a former Fatah security commander, called for organizing the “day of rage” against the US next Friday.
Tirawi said that the veto “exposed America’s real face and the extent to which it is biased in favor of oppression and occupation.”
In response to reports that the US had threatened to cut off financial aid to the PA if it insisted on presenting the resolution to the Security Council, Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf said that the Palestinians “want to get rid of occupation and are not only waiting to earn their living.”
The US Administration should support the Palestinians and not block freedom and independence, Assaf said. He added that Fatah was planning more anti- US demonstrations in the West Bank in the coming days.
“US threats to cut off the aid show that that the Americans are ignorant of our people’s moral and national values and aspirations,” read a statement issued by Fatah the leadership.
“The US veto is a victory for occupation and settlements.”
Fatah said that the veto harmed Washington’s status as a major broker in the peace process and encourages Israel to continue building in the settlements.
Hamas also condemned the US veto, saying it exposed Washington’s bias in favor of Israel.
“The US veto is an award to the occupation government for its violations against the Palestinians,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.
Here’s a blow-by-blow description of what happened on Friday afternoon.
Obama spoke with Abbas for 50 minutes on Thursday to urge the Palestinian president not to bring the resolution to a vote. According to the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, Obama told Abbas that the resolution could damage U.S. interests in the Middle East and could induce the U.S. Congress to halt aid to the PA.
Obama reportedly suggested that in lieu of bringing the resolution to a vote, Abbas accept an alternative package of benefits, including a presidential statement on the settlements by the Security Council. Such a statement would be nonbinding, but could be couched in harsher terms. The package would also have included a Security Council visit to Ramallah to express support for the PA and denounce the settlements, and a statement by the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers that, for the first time, would call for the boundaries of the Palestinian state to be based on the 1967 lines.
On Friday afternoon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton phoned Abbas with an even more sharply worded message.
But Abbas told both Obama and Clinton that settlements were the reason for the breakdown in the peace talks, and the Palestinian people would not back down on this matter.
And then there was the pile-on.
The British ambassador read a joint statement by Britain, France and Germany that said that construction in the settlements, including in East Jerusalem, contravened international law.
The ‘Palestinians’ are the real winners of Friday’s saga, despite the veto, while both the US and Israel are unsatisfied.
The veto garnered praise from pro-Israeli American lawmakers and numerous Jewish groups that had been working energetically over the past few weeks to secure it.
But the Obama administration is reportedly worried that the veto will degrade America’s status in the Arab world.
And an Israeli official in New York warned that “the Palestinian initiative was thwarted, but it increased Israel’s isolation.” Israel’s claim that the Palestinians are responsible for the stalled talks falls on deaf ears at the UN, he added.
Abbas’ rejection of Obama’s request will help him politically, as the Palestinian public will not be able to accuse him of buckling under U.S. pressure, as it did in 2009 when American reservations led the PA to postpone a UN Human Rights Council vote on the Goldstone report on Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza earlier that year. Moreover, given the anti-government protests now sweeping the Arab world, Abbas apparently wanted to demonstrate that it is not afraid of a showdown with the White House.
All of this is Obama’s fault, as the New York Daily News did a great job of explaining in this editorial.
Obama began the botch in 2009, when, out of nowhere, he called for a settlement freeze – effectively making that a precondition for peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.
This was something no Palestinian partner had ever asked for or expected. It also vested a third-level consideration with more importance than, say, Palestinian recognition of Israel’s right to exist. And it displayed a naive belief that Palestinians would negotiate in productive good faith if only Israel would make this one gesture.
With the American President suddenly prioritizing it, the demand morphed into the perfect excuse for the Palestinians to stall – telling people to “look over there” while rejectionists continued their frontal assault on Israel’s legitimacy.
Obama further degraded matters by repeatedly using some of the same “settlement” terminology to describe neighborhoods that are home to tens of thousands of Jews in East Jerusalem.
These are not settlements in any shape or form.
And so the Palestinians adopted a strategy of painting Israel as a party so intransigent and anti-peace as to be willing to resist the requests of the Jewish state’s close ally America.
With anti-Israel sentiment running high around the globe, it worked.
The Security Council took up a Palestinian-backed resolution that had more than 100 cosponsors. Desperately, Obama tried to persuade the council to issue a “statement” rather than a “resolution,” as if the damage would have been less, as if any good would come of it.
This is not a split-the-difference, muddy-the-waters kind of thing. There is right and there is wrong – and the President, unfortunately, was wrong.
Not that he is willing to admit it.
Would that this could become a humbling lesson for Obama. His grand attempt to forge a Mideast peace is in shambles. Yes, talks break down, but this is worse. The parties are further apart than when he started, thanks largely to his settlements demand.
|Riyad Mansour , PhD, MA
Contact Info: Phone:
Title: Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations
Position: Pro Two-State Solution to the question “What are the solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?“
Reasoning: “Israel’s continued colonization of Palestinian land and settler colonialism is also further destroying the vision of two-States living side by side in peace and security, based on the 1967 borders.”
“Mansour to UNSC President: Israel’s Plans to Construct New Colonies in OPT Illegal,” WAFA Palestine News Agency, Jan. 3, 2007
Members of Congress, Ambassadors, Counsul Generals, heads of government, heads of major government organizations, members of legislative bodies, and PhD’s with significant involvement in, or related to, the Palestinian – Israeli conflict. [Note: Experts definition varies by site.]
Involvement and Affiliations:Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, 2005-present
Senior Executive Consultant, Maali Enterprises, Florida, 2002-2005
President, Mansour Consulting LLC, 2002-2005
Litigation Consultant, Leventhal & Slaughter, 2002-2005
Adjunct Professor, Political Science, University of Central Florida, 2002-2005
Vice-President, Intram Investments, 1994-2002
Deputy Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, 1983-1994
PhD, Counselling, University of Akron
MA, Education Counselling, Youngstown State University
BA, Philosophy, Youngstown State UniversityQuoted in: Is a two-state solution (Israel and Palestine) an acceptable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? via israelipalestinian.procon.org