Statehood: Two-prong Approach Needed

By Stuart Littlewood

What a thought-provoking piece Prof Lawrence Davidson’s latest article is, whether you agree with every word or not.

Titled ‘The Palestinian Bid for UN Statehood Recognition’, it makes the point that the Palestinians’ move, which Tweedle-dum Obama and Tweedle-dee Netanyahu (they never contradict each other, you’ll remember) are desperate to discourage, merely replicates the process by which Israel itself gained recognition as a state. The world will recall that America recognized the Jews’ declaration of an Israeli state with almost indecent haste… like immediately.

The bid also echoes the UN’s original intention to divide Palestine between Jews and Arabs. So there’s no attempt by the Palestinians to break new ground here. What they propose chimes nicely with what went before. How can there possibly be a valid objection? Recognition should be accorded Palestine just as easily as it was accorded Israel.

However, Prof Davidson seems keen to airbrush Hamas out of the proceedings, saying the resistance movement "refuses to recognize Israel and would destroy the Zionist state if it could". He admits that refusing recognition is mutual and Israel is busy trying to destroy Hamas. In the end, however, Hamas cannot prevail, so is dismissed as a key player.

For my part I believe Hamas has a vital role to play, if it re-markets itself with a friendlier face. The rest of the international community should not imitate the hypocrisy of those loudmouthed preachers of democracy like the US and Britain and ignore – even punish – the people’s choice before it has a chance to make good. Besides, there is considerable talent among Hamas’s senior ranks.

Foreign minister Muhammad Awad has been calling for a united government to be formed urgently, ahead of the Palestinian bid in September, as agreed between the factions in Cairo months ago. Attempts to form a unity government have so far come to nought largely because Hamas rejects Fatah’s insistence that Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayaad leads the new government. Fayaad is a stranger to Palestinian elections and has no democratic legitimacy.

Nevertheless many outside Palestine want to see Fayaad up there because he is liked in the West. For the purpose of the bid there probably needs to be a team of 3 or 4 all singing the same tune, Fayaad and Haniyeh included… Haniyeh because he is proven to be gritty and steadfast for Palestinian freedom, and has survived the worst that Israel and the conniving PA can do to dislodge him.

Prof Davidson is not so keen on the bid. He argues that Israel has no intention of allowing a meaningful two-state solution and "UN recognition of Palestine as a pseudo state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip will solve nothing and may well cause more problems for the Palestinians on the ground." The alternative, he says, is Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions within the context of increasing worldwide awareness of Israel’s essential racist nature.

He pins great hopes on the BDS movement, noting Ilan Pappe’s remark that BDS, as part and parcel of a civil society struggle in support of Palestinian rights, has been successful in key European countries. He suggests there is a good chance that a worldwide BDS movement, growing steadily for the next quarter century, could achieve the de-Zionization of Israel.

This is where I tend to part company with the good professor. Dismissing the UN bid and relying instead on BDS, doesn’t take into account the further damage by Israel’s continued poaching of Palestinian territory while we wait 25 years for the BDS magic to work. During that time the occupation will have a much too permanent flavour. Israel, of course, does not want a viable Palestinian state nextdoor. But the world cares less and less about what Israel wants. The creation of even a pseudo state, in the meantime, should provide Palestinians with sufficient status to demand UN protection against further predation and encroachment.

And America gets weaker by the day. For how much longer will Zionist Washington rule the UN roost?

There is a general expectation that BDS will bring apartheid Israel to its knees in the same way it put paid to apartheid South Africa. But what gives Israel its criminal licence is the subjugation of our own politicians to Israel’s agenda. An essential part of BDS strategy, therefore, must be to break that parliamentary support.

BDS has the makings of an international organisation that could eventually bring about the downfall of Israel’s global life support system. Civil disobedience and direct action are the way to go, because you cannot rely on lobbying elected representatives – most are corrupted by Zionist influence. They are the real enemy, and they are fouling our democratic way of life.

“Civil disobedience,  that is not our problem…. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. And our problem is that scene in All Quiet on the Western Front where the schoolboys march off dutifully in a line to war. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem…” — Howard Zinn, 1970.

Palestinians and their allies around the world need to show they mean business. It seems to me the situation calls for a two-prong attack. The bid for statehood is essential if only to put down a marker and change the dynamic. Doing nothing means being forced back to the ‘negotiating’ table and we know what that means. There must be no negotiations until Palestinians have equal rank to Israelis within the international community and a level playing field. Continuing to push for negotiations before then is utterly immoral.

The second prong is to develop and expand BDS to neutralize the ‘enemy within’ our Western parliamentary structures and media.

If Palestinian leaders mess up in September I suspect they’ll lose a lot of friends. By messing up I mean going about it in a half-baked, disunited way. They’ve got one month left to straighten themselves out.

– Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. He contributed this article to

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