Monday, December 04, 2006
Abbas's Shameful Behavior
Standing alongside Condoleezza Rice, the American Secretary of State, during their joint press conference in Jericho, Thursday, 30 November, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, declared that efforts to form a national unity government with Hamas reached a dead-end.
He added in a threatening tone that he would soon take measures toward the formation of a new government, in lieu of the present one headed by Ismael Haniya, whose main task would be the lifting of the American-led, Israeli-enforced financial and economic blockade on the Palestinians.
But Abbas’s really scandalous behavior was his reported reference to a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in southern Israel a few days earlier as “positive.”
In that largely theatrical speech, already dismissed by the bulk of the Israeli press as a “spin” Olmert said Israel would withdraw from “much territories,” “free many prisoners” and release Palestinian customs money withheld by the Israeli authorities for the purpose of punishing Palestinians for electing a government not to Israel’s liking.
And all this Zionist charity would be given only if the Palestinians agreed to give up the paramount right to return, stop armed resistance to the Israeli occupation army and accept other Israeli demands.
I really don’t understand why any Palestinian, let alone the Chairman of the PA , would view this speech as positive?
To be sure, Olmert didn’t say anything that can be construed as suggesting a departure from erstwhile Israeli polices which are based on perpetuating the occupation and colonization of Palestinian land.
In fact, the opposite is true, as Olmert indicated that Israel would retain much of the occupied West Bank, keep the bulk of the settlements intact and never return East Jerusalem to its rightful owners.
And on the top of all of this, he urged Palestinians to forget about the right of return for millions of tormented refugees awaiting for decades to be repatriated to their homes and villages in what is now Israel.
Well, what kind of a final peace settlement would this look like? Are we talking about a modern version of a Kafkaesque metamorphosis?
So what does Mr. Abbas see as positive in Olmert’s speech that we don’t?
It is really shameful that the Palestinian leader stood silent while Rice was babbling the same affronting nonsense about “restarting the peace process,” “confidence-building measures” and the “viable and geographically- continuous state.”
We have been hearing these mendacious words for many years, while the occupation and the land theft continued unabated with American knowledge and acquiescence.
Last week, the Peace Now Movement, quoting Israeli army records, revealed that up to 40% of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank were built on privately-owned Palestinian land.
Interestingly, not a single Bush Administration official said anything about this huge land theft by the “only true democracy in the Middle East.”
Why? Because the American policy on Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank is actually a reflection of the Israeli policy. Indeed, if silence is approval, this is the only conclusion any honest person would read in this regard.
As to Rice’s assertions that the settlements wouldn’t prejudice the outcome of any final-status settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, one doesn’t have to be a great authority on American foreign policy to realize that these assertions are nothing but a hogwash aimed at deceiving gullible Palestinian and Arab leaders who would interpret any smile or nice word from an American official as indication that America is finally embracing a new policy based on morality and justice and international law.
I really really wonder why Mr. Abbas didn’t take Rice to task by asking Rice to condemn the huge land theft and declaring it to be null and void? Doesn’t he know how to communicate his people’s grievances to foreign visitors? Can’t he speak up in defense of his people’s rights?
Indeed, what is a “president” for if he doesn’t or can’t do what he is supposed to do?
It is amply clear by now that Abbas is failing to carry out his duties as President of Palestine!! (the title itself is fake to a large extent since there is no Palestinian state and it is not in the Palestinian people’s interest to pretend that there is one when there none).
Why didn’t he remind the visiting former Kremlinologist, whose knowledge of the vicissitudes of the Palestine issue is mediocre at best, that there would never be a true, lasting peace in Palestine, indeed in the entire Middle East, until Israel ended its occupation of “ALL” Arab lands occupied in 1967 and allowed a just settlement of the Palestinian refugee plight in accordance with UN resolutions 194? Isn’t that after all the ultimate legal reference upon which all peace efforts are supposed to be based?
Why didn’t he say so? Was he afraid of upsetting the feelings and mental equanimity of the black lady? Was he worried that voicing his people’s grievances in a forceful manner would make him lose his American certificate of conduct?
In truth , Abbas and other Palestinian leaders should never ever seek certificates of good conduct from America and Israel, the tormentors of the Palestinian people, or even from Europe, especially , as is often, when such a certificate happens to be at the Palestinian people’s expense.
We all know that in the Middle East receiving an certificate of good conduct from America is often a mere euphemism for alienating the people.
As to the subject of the national unity government with Hamas, it is really sad that Abbas chose to lambaste and castigate Hamas while in the company of Rice?
Did the man want to tell her that he was more faithful to his subservience to the White House than to Palestinian national interests.?
I am afraid that there are already worrying signs that Abbas is becoming another American puppet in the region very much like Qarazai of Afghanistan and Maliki in Iraq.
He may of course claim to be doing all of this in the hope that the Americans would force the Israelis to give him something.
But this is wishful thinking, as Arafat’s bitter experiment amply showed.