For the past six months I have constantly heard the phrase ‘Palestinian UN statehood bid’ or a phrase not too dissimilar, describing the events which are expected to take place next month. Reading left-leaning publications would have you believe that this was the last great hope of the Palestinian people as we seek to end the suffering that we have collectively faced for over 60 years. Finally rejecting those useless negotiations which have only increased our suffering, we will actually be getting somewhere with this course of action.
Most Palestinians are trained to never get excited about any of the latest ‘initiatives’ or ‘plans’ because every Palestinian over the age 15 has seen, at the very least, two great pushes for peace fail miserably. Those would be the ‘roadmap’ with George Bush, and Barack Obama’s well documented failure in the last three years. If that Palestinian is over 20 he will remember Camp David and the great hope that was generated then, and the end result which was the 2nd intifada. Someone over the age of 30 will have a recollection of this entire ‘peace’ process from the end of the first intifada. Those over 40 will remember the first Camp David accords. This is how the pattern continues. The more sham and futile attempts you have witnessed over the course of your life, the more nauseous you feel every time a new attempt is made.
This is because those who claim to represent us have absolutely no connection to us. We had ‘our’ leadership imposed upon us by virtue of the fact that Arafat was able to convince the rest of the world that he was our representative. And perhaps he and his cronies did at one point hold a large degree of trust from the Palestinian people, even if we never directly asked. However whatever trust this leadership did hold, has been all but lost. It was only in January that any confirmation that was needed to prove the very nature of the Palestinian Authority was received. The ‘Palestine papers’ peace negotiations scandal has been well-documented elsewhere and does need to be repeated here in detail.
This is however where my scepticism over this ‘statehood bid’ next month comes in. The bid in the UN next month has been led entirely by the Palestinian Authority. The men who we are supposedly entrusting to deliver us a state, or at least the makings of one, next month are the same men who in negotiations gave up large settlement blocks in the West Bank, the right of return, Jerusalem and were willing to recognise Israel a Jewish state.
It is therefore in this context that you also begin to see why even ‘success’ next month does not spell good news for our cause. It is a point which I feel far too many analysts have completely overlooked and that is what would happen in theory if the ‘perfect’ situation was realised and a state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital was born. The Palestinian cause is NOT just those of us holding green cards who live in decent houses in economic and social conditions that aren’t too bad. We are a collective cause and when we find a solution we want a solution for all of us, because in 1948 an entire group of people were wronged and the solution to that does not just entail justice for what would in this case be less than half of those people. There are those of us who live in refugee camps in the ‘Palestinian territories’. There are those living in much dirtier and dingier refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and other Arab states. There are even more refugees the world over who too are part of this cause.
However let me draw attention to group who will suffer most if we in the West Bank have our fancy state. There are 1.2 million ‘Israeli Arabs’ who will be the victim of what we can only call betrayal if the Palestinian Authority has its way. The abuses and discrimination that these 2nd class citizens of Israel face can sometimes be overlooked due to the ways in which Israel can claim they have ‘equality’.
Israeli-Arabs can vote, work the same jobs and even sit in the Knesset. However in practise the range of discriminatory obstacles they face in their daily life’s makes means that the abuses they face are just as grave as that of Palestinians elsewhere. The Palestinian Authority and those going to the United Nations next month don’t care about the Israeli Arabs. Lacking any understanding of what the Palestinian struggle means and simply concerning themselves with only what they perceive to be their own territory, they would consider the Palestinian problem solved. Is this simply a staunchly anti-Fatah boy talking with no knowledge or do we have evidence of what their intentions would be? Well when pressed to recognise Israel as a Jewish state in peace talks with Israel, chief negotiator Saeb Erekat responded ‘call it what you want…it’s their issue not mine’, his lack of interest in the topic being a direct reflection of his attitude towards those Palestinians who stayed on their land in 1948.
And this is just one reason why I refuse to be swept away by the excitement that sections of the pro-Palestinian media are trying to create. It may all sound good on paper, but my instincts tell me quite clearly that there is a sting in the tail somewhere. Even in the unlikely event of this illegitimate leadership delivering a Palestinian state, there is sure to be a catch somewhere to once again dispel any hope that may be resurrected. Feeling the combined weight of both my family’s and my own bitterness and scepticism over our state of affairs, forgive me for being the cynic who sits in the corner and refuses to put any more faith in these men and their plans.
Views expressed in articles are the author’s and do not represent Comment Middle East
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