By Stuart Littlewood
No-one connected with the old discredited peace ‘circus’ should be allowed anywhere near the new quest for justice in the Holy Land. Too many are strangers to fair play and appear to share the morals and mentality of the alley-cat.
The only surprise about the Palestinians’ bid for freedom at the United Nations was the panicky response of US president and the speed with which he jettisoned all pretence of integrity and political respectability.
Obama’s speech to the UN overflowed with Tel Aviv disinformation and was a brazen advertisement for his enslavement by Israel.
After enthusing how "more and more people were demanding their universal right to live in freedom and dignity" he required the Palestinians to go cap-in-hand to their tormentor, Israel, and once again haggle for their freedom and dignity and the return of their stolen property.
Shrugging off the international community’s responsibilities, he tried to put the onus for sorting out the criminal mess on the Palestinians’ shoulders: "Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians – not us – who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem."
What ignorance. What an embarrassment. Does anyone out there still look on him as leader of the Western world?
And how’s this for unadulterated humbug?
“The United States will continue to support those nations that transition to democracy – with greater trade and investment, so that freedom is followed by opportunity. We will pursue a deeper engagement with governments, but also civil society – students and entrepreneurs; political parties and the press. We have banned those who abuse human rights from travelling to our country, and sanctioned those who trample on human rights abroad. And we will always serve as a voice for those who have been silenced.”
Cannot Obama see the excruciating irony of what he says?
The man now cuts a pathetic figure… from golden boy to crap-merchant in less than three years, a freak who prematurely accepted the top peace prize but still lacks the moral fibre to earn it. And he’s going for a second term?
It’s time to take that noble trophy off the mantlepiece, Mr Obama, and hand it back.
His speech, so heavily larded with lies, was only surpassed by the rantings of his buddy, Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu, a dangerous person whose finger hovers over the only nuclear button in the Middle East. Both were desperately trying to paint the armed-to-the-teeth bully-boy as the victim. "The truth is that Israel wants peace, the truth is that I want peace," Netanyahu said, when all the evidence points the other way. He added that "we cannot achieve peace through UN resolutions".
He means, of course, that Israel cannot achieve its greedy ambitions through UN resolutions. On the other hand the UN route is the only way Palestinians are ever likely to obtain justice.
The bid for statehood had to be made, I believe. But was Mahmoud Abbas the right man to present the case? He lacks legitimacy. His presidential term expired long ago and he cannot claim to speak for a unified people. Abbas’s speech was good in parts but sadly inept in key respects. Did he rise to the occasion? No, not really. Not in the way a better man might have done… with a brighter team of scriptwriters.
"The PLO and the Palestinian people adhere to the renouncement of violence," he said, but demanded no reciprocity. Since non-violence has got them nowhere why throw away the option, especially when Israel uses extreme violence every day?
"We adhere to the option of negotiating a lasting solution to the conflict in accordance with resolutions of international legitimacy… The Palestine Liberation Organization is ready to return immediately to the negotiating table on the basis of the adopted terms of reference based on international legitimacy and a complete cessation of settlement activities." Adopted terms of reference based on international legitimacy? What on earth does he mean? It needs spelling out.
And is he happy to negotiate while still under illegal occupation and blockade? Shouldn’t the occupation end before anything else begins?
Abbas said he wants to "build cooperative relations based on parity and equity between two neighboring States" but didn’t link this to the necessary requirement for parity to be established first, together with a level playing field, and for Israel to remove its jackboot from Palestine’s neck. Many would say Abbas should not contemplate or even mention negotiations while the occupation, blockade and land-grabs continue.
Negotiations, in this case, mean pressuring the Palestinians to forego their rights under international law and settle for far less than they are entitled to, just to avoid a kerfuffle in the UN and save the US’s face. Abbas should insist on securing those rights first and, otherwise, asking bluntly if the United Nations has now abandoned its raft of resolutions and is letting the alley-cats re-write international law and the UN Charter in their own stinking urine to suit Israel’s ambitions.
Eyebrows must have shot up when he claimed that after being mired is disunity “we succeeded months ago in achieving national reconciliation…" How much unity was behind the statehood bid? He mentioned the continuing blockade on the Gaza Strip only in passing. The vicious strangulation and wrecking of Gaza is a monstrous war crime perpetrated by Israel and an ugly blot on the escutcheon of the international community, yet Abbas made nothing of it, reopening the old question: "whose side is this guy really on?"
Gaza’s cruel suffering has unlocked huge sympathy worldwide and done more than anything else to focus international attention on the Palestinian cause. But in preparing the bid Abbass’s team, worse than useless in the past, seems to have sidelined the 1.5 million innocent people in the beleaguered coastal enclave. Who can blame Gaza’s Hamas government for wishing to distance themselves from the whole adventure? Were they properly consulted? Were they permitted to participate? Were they allowed to preview the script?
I now read that Abbas is to have deep discussions with Hamas. Better late than never, I suppose, but what incompetence (or chicanery, take your pick).
Abbas’s speech made a good job of describing the Palestinian people’s plight but a bad job of setting out the action required of the UN to deliver a solution. Since lopsided negotiations so obviously failed the Palestinians before and only served to buy the Israelis more time to establish irreversible facts on the ground, wasn’t it rather silly of Abbas to offer to play into their hands again?
He harked back to the 22/78 debacle of 1993, when negotiators agreed to establish the State of Palestine on only 22 percent of the territory of historical Palestine. "We, by taking that historic step, which was welcomed by the States of the world, made a major concession in order to achieve a historic compromise that would allow peace,” Abbas reminded everyone. That huge concession – a compromise too far for many Palestinians – has been repeatedly flung back in the Palestinians’ face. As the 22/78 offer isn’t acceptable to Israel the default position, surely, is the 1947 Partition’s 43/56 percent formula, with Jerusalem a “corpus separatum” under UN protection. That was the basis on which the Israeli state was recognized although it was declared with no fixed boundaries. Nobody, as far as I know, actually agreed to fluid, ever-expanding borders.
The outcome of Palestine’s ‘day at the UN’ is that the Security Council has kicked the bid into the long grass while it deliberates. Meanwhile the Quartet, another tainted and discredited body of peace brokers that should be terminated, has issued a statement urging both sides to resume talks and setting a timetable, but not calling explicitly for a halt to construction of illegal Israeli settlements, the very thing that brought previous talks to an end. More alley-cat morals, then.
As the bid wasn’t addressed to the Quartet, they and their mouthpiece, the odious Mr Blair, should at least do us the courtesy of keeping quiet until the Security Council makes its response.
No Sense of Fair Play
The situation is not complicated. You don’t need a degree in politics or diplomacy to understand. There can be no peace under occupation. To force "negotiations" when one party has a gun to the other’s head is stupid and immoral. And to force negotiations when one party continues to steal the other’s lands, continues to commit war crimes and breaches every code of conduct in the book, is not only doubly stupid and immoral – it’s disgusting!
And continuing this relentless brow-beating… that’s how alley-cats behave in their garbage bin world.
For the rules of fair play, you can do no better than look up the Laws of Cricket (as I’ve said in my musings before). All players were expected to be civilized enough to know what fair play meant, and for 250 years the Spirit of the game was unwritten. As the game spread worldwide some players were so warped they took diabolical ‘liberties’; so finally, in 2000, it was set down in writing.
The game “should be played not only within its Laws but also within the Spirit of the Game. Any action which is seen to abuse this spirit causes injury to the game itself." Respect is a vitally important ingredient.
For cricket, read “peace-making”. The United Nations has laws and conventions in abundance but not the will to implement them despite the high-minded words of its Charter. A large injection of Spirit is needed urgently.
As the Great Umpire in world affairs the UN should not allow itself to be pushed around or deflected from fair play by pain-in-the-ass alley-cats.
– Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.