Members of Palestine’s original communist party are urging the Palestinian Authority to withstand intimidation from the US over a plan to seek recognition of statehood at the UN in September.
The head of the Palestine People’s Party, Bassam As-Salhi, says a threat by American lawmakers to suspend aid is simply the latest example of US willingness to provide diplomatic cover for Israel at the UN.
"All of these stances affirm the conspiracy of the United States’ cover for Israel and backing for its continued occupation, allowing Israel to escape the implementation of UN decisions," he said.
The US House of Representatives on Thursday warned the Palestinians that they risk cuts in US aid if they pursue UN recognition of a future state not defined in direct talks with Israel.
In an overwhelming 406-6 vote, lawmakers backed a symbolic resolution sending a stern message to the Palestinians one week after the US Senate unanimously approved a similar measure.
The US bill also urged President Barack Obama to consider suspending aid to the Palestinian Authority pending a view of a unity deal between President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction and Gaza rulers Hamas.
The PPP chief says the escalating hostility from Washington proves the US unconditionally backs "Israeli extremism," and it is for this precise reason that the Palestinians have no choice but to turn to the UN.
American policy "confirms day after day that the US-brokered peace process was killed by its total bias toward Israel," he said Saturday. "The US stance against the Palestinians seeking UN [recognition] is offensive toward Palestinians and their rights on the one hand and against the UN and its bodies on the other."
He said the peace process should be administered by the UN rather than the US.
Peace talks ground to a halt in September 2010 when Israel failed to renew a partial freeze on settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.
Since then, the Palestinians have refused to return to talks as long as Israel builds on land they want for a future state.
They are planning to seek recognition of their state within the 1967 lines that preceded the Six-Day War when the UN General Assembly meets in September, despite the opposition of both Israel and the United States.
Reflecting on the warnings from Israel, PPP official Walid Al-Awad said Israel was making strenuous efforts to tempt the Palestinians against turning to the UN, and he urged the PA not to fall for empty promises.
A successful outcome "will provide the Palestinians with an opportunity to demand that the UN implement its conventions on our case as a state under occupation," Al-Awad said, adding that the "blackmail" being used against the Palestinian Authority highlights how important it is that the government keep moving toward recognition at the UN.
"Israel is living amid a state of confusion now that it has realized the danger," Al-Awad said. The Palestinians "will carry out intensive diplomatic movement in the coming days to gain recognition from more countries."
A delegation will soon visit China to ask for its support for the bid, he added.
Several countries, including France, have indicated that they might recognize an independent Palestinian state if peace talks are not back on track by September.
Germany, like the United States, is opposed to any unilateral steps and accepts the Israeli position that any progress must be made through negotiations.