Mon Sep 25, 2017 | 11:52
'Time for Palestine's statehood now'
Thu, 03 Mar 2011 21:48:27 GMT
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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
How long will the wave of revolutions and developments in the Arab states last? When would Muammar Gaddafi's regime collapse? Would Libya be afflicted with civil war and turn into another Somalia?

The premier, whom Hosni Mubarak had tipped to assume office for the next round, buckled under the Egyptian masses' pressure and was replaced by some other choice made by the military council. [Also] Mohammed Ghannoush, who had spent the last 13 years of Tunisian President Zine El Abidin Ben Ali's tenure in the post of the prime minister, gave up the office due to the force of public opinion and his own dependence on the previous regime.

The developments still continue. In Yemen and Bahrain and even in Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the thoughts of the dissidents are brought further and further to the fore each day. Would it be conceivable that within the next six months, the developments reach a definite conclusion and, in many Arab countries, new people, who have risen from among the people, would have replaced the dysfunctional politicians? It could turn out that way, but why until September?

Last year, when administration of the United States President Barack Obama was busy laying the groundwork for pushing the Palestinians and the Israelis into direct and then indirect talks, it pledged that a Palestinians state would be established by September 2011 and that the United Nations would find itself a new addition, whose membership has been delayed for more than 60 years.

Tel Aviv managed to defeat Washington's plan by insisting on settlement construction in East al-Quds and expanding the existing settlements in the West Bank. Enjoying the support of both the Democrats and the Republicans in US Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stonewalled Obama's request for cessation of the settlement activities for simply three months and…every attempt was ground to a halt.

Amid no signs of progress in the matters at hand, Israel invited tenders for further projects for construction of new settler units in the occupied Palestinians lands. Elsewhere in the world, however, something transpired, which Tel Aviv could not prevent. One after another, Latin American countries recognized the Palestinians state based on the 1967 borders. Netanyahu tried to downplay the measure as the disputed lands are in Tel Aviv's grip and seem to have no foreseeable way of achieving independence.

Mahmoud Abbas' Authority, whose semi-autonomous rule is simply limited to some parts of the West Bank, moved to keep, what it called the peace process, alive by consulting Arab, Non-Aligned and European countries and get them to support his proposed resolution in the [UN] Security Council, which was [simply] a repetition of former resolutions regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict: Condemnation of the settlement construction.

A tsunami-like typhoon, however, started to overwhelm the Middle East, which defied the calculations of Obama, Netanyahu and Abbas. Tunisia's revolution abruptly affected Egypt and Hosni Mubarak, the three's major ally, was forced to leave power in three weeks and everything fell apart.

Washington's vetoing of the resolution, which had been backed by 130 UN members, was the continuation of a traditional and inefficient policy, which does not suit the particularities of the new atmosphere in the Middle East. It is heard in the US that the Republicans would have skinned Obama alive, if he had withheld the veto. The explanation, however, does not cut the mustard as Obama spoke to Abbas on the phone for 50 minutes to dissuade him from tabling the resolution at the council. In Israel, the question also persists in the minds of the authorities, whether the US would veto the new resolution.

Israel should make new calculations. The Middle East Quartet (the US, Russia, the European Union and the UN) has again taken small steps. Tel Aviv is concerned that in the Middle East's new circumstances, Washington may lose the monopoly of coming up with new peace initiatives or even loses interest in playing the role of the sole intermediary.

There is news about Israel's phased-out plan, which Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman advertizes. Based on the plan, the stopgap Palestinian state would comprise some 40 percent of the West Bank and issues like the status of al-Quds, the return of the refugees, water resources and domestic security would be assigned to next stages and long-term periods.

The Palestinian side has already rejected the proposal and Mahmoud Abbas or any other Palestinian official does not seem to be willing to take the risk of accepting it in the present circumstances.

Nabil Shaath, a member of the Palestinian negotiating team said in Paris that the Palestinians had obtained the guarantee from all the Europeans that they would recognize a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders in September, adding that they preferred that the recognition take place then rather that September.

According to him, France, Sweden, Spain and Portugal are moving towards undertaking the recognition, Cyprus has already recognized such state and Malta and Slovenia would do so soon.

Europe is geographically closer to the Middle East than the US and the region's crises affect its domestic and social security. Unlike the US, Europe has taken a big step in nearing itself to the Arab viewpoint. All the European members of the UN Security Council approved of the resolution, which condemned the settlement construction.

Until September, Israel should find itself face to face with a new crisis on top of the current collapses of its Arab allies as there is no doubt that, having achieved victory in their movements, the Arab nations would set about evaluating Washington's policy regarding the issue of Palestine freely and without fearing suppression by other governments.

MS/HN/MGH
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