Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why Palestinian unilateral bid for UN recognition is way to nowhere

“It’s hard to understand, but Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is heading full force into his own collapse, and that of his Authority, in September”, wrote an Israeli commentator Guy Bechor a few days ago.

It’s one thing to make declarations; it’s another thing to bring to their implementation. It’s one thing to use strong expressions like “Israel will face diplomatic tsunami in September”. However in reality, the vote in the UN, if it will happen (with strong emphasis on “if”), could hardly be described even as an “aftershock”. Rather it will prove to be void of any significance, like most of the communication spins promoted by Palestinian Authority and their supporters in the media.

We don’t have to be prophets in order to understand why this outcome of the UN bid is almost inevitable. We just have to be good listeners.

Let’s first listen to somebody who probably has better understanding than the average person, why the unilateral declaration in the UN is useless and counterproductive. Person whom the President of the Palestinian Authority Abbas wants to keep as his Prime Minister -the acting Prime Minister Salam Fayad. In an interview to the AP on June 28, asked what would change on the ground after the UN recognition, he said: “Nothing, unless Israel is part of that consensus”. Fayad also warned against raising false expectations among the Palestinians.

He is, of course, right. Once the Palestinians will see their expectations unanswered, the situation can get out of control. Israel, no doubt, will be the target of this frustration – but also the Palestinian authority. Because PA and its leaders will be blamed for this failure, and Hamas will have another chance to strengthen its influence in the West Bank.  This scenario would be hardly welcomed by the population of the West Bank, after 3 years of economic growth and improved conditions of life. They don’t want to see the green flags of Hamas waving over Ramallah and Bethlehem.

In the Israeli-Palestinian equation there are of course much more players. Let’s listen to our neighbor from East.  Here is what said senior Jordanian official to the UAE-based Al-Bayan newspaper: "Jordan’s top national interests will be in danger if the Palestinian Authority declares statehood unilaterally – especially in everything related to the issue of refugees, water, Jerusalem, and the borders".

And of course it’s not only Jordan who is very skeptical about the new Palestinian initiative. We also hear voices from the Persian Golf, like the one of Abdallah al-Hadlaq in the Koweiti newspaper Al Watan: “All those who hope for real peace in the region must reject these reckless unilateral Palestinian moves that block the negotiation process. The Palestinians must be made to understand that the only way to a permanent peace 
treaty will be through direct talks”.

Palestinian strategy of unilateral recognition won’t work. United States, Germany, Italy, Holland and other European countries already stated that they will not support it. We are sure that France and Great Britain will follow the same path. The position of Russia and China are still not clear, despite the spin the Palestinians are trying to make.

All these strong expressions like “diplomatic tsunami” or diplomatic isolation of Israel are no more than spin whose goal is to pressure Israel. A political tsunami did happened in the Middle East – it started last December in Tunisia, made its way to Egypt, and nowadays takes place in Syria. However, the UN vote on Palestinian State in September won’t even make an “aftershock”. It would be just another vote in UN that will change nothing. Mahmoud Abbas went to the other part of the world to get recognition for his state. He forgot that the distance from Ramallah to Jerusalem is less than 20 kilometers, and that the two-state solution is a way to solve our conflict, not to perpetuate it.

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