Pro-Palestine rally at Kalandia_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Israel and the US may be scrambling to scuttle the Palestinian statehood bid,
but in the West Bank, Gaza and across the Arab world a nearly unanimous
consensus has formed in favor of this week’s UN declaration.
released Monday by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found
83 percent of Palestinians support the unilateral declaration, and half of
respondents said they would join any demonstrations that might break out in its
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Elsewhere in the Arab world, the prevailing sentiment is
The website NOW Lebanon carried an unsigned editorial Monday
asking, “Is this the Palestinian role in the so-called Arab awakening? Perhaps.
The mood in the region has changed, and the Arab street appears to have teeth
A statehood declaration, even a symbolic one, it said, “might
even blunt the angry sword of Hamas and strike a blow for mainstream
diplomacy... Quite how Hamas and, to a lesser extent, Hezbollah will react is
anyone’s guess. The point is that this is not the time to be shamelessly and
blatantly pandering to the whims of Israel and the Israeli lobby in the
“From Tripoli to Cairo, the West has positioned itself as the
champion of democracy and freedom. And yet on any matter to do with Israel, when
push comes to shove, the big players back off,” it said.
Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper editorialized, “Any world leader that claims to
support aborted Israeli-Palestinian negotiations while opposing the latter’s bid
for statehood is either a liar or a coward. Those seeking a way out of
Palestine’s application are rapidly losing the benefit of the
Emad Gad, heads of Israel studies program at the Al- Ahram Center
for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, wrote, “It is very clear that the
incumbent Israeli government refuses to re-launch talks to reach a political
Accordingly, this government wants to waste time and
manipulate inter-Palestinian divisions, but will not begin any serious
discussions that would lead to political settlement.
“A resolution by the
General Assembly recognizing an independent Palestinian state is an immense
achievement for the Palestinian cause, and would change the nature of
negotiations with Israel from talks between an authority representing a people
under occupation and the occupying state, to talks between two countries, where
one country is occupying the other,” Gad added in Monday’s state-run Al-Ahram
Hussein Ibish, a Lebanese- American writer and senior fellow at
the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), is one of a handful of
pro-Palestinian activists who has questioned the wisdom of a unilateral
statehood declaration. In an op-ed Monday in the Abu Dhabi-based daily The
National, he warned: “The potential damage to the Palestinian national interest
and project can hardly be overstated. As Mr. Abbas himself has repeatedly
acknowledged, a negotiated agreement is the only choice for the creation of a
Palestinian state. And there is no alternative broker other than the United
“A crisis in relations with the Americans by provoking a veto in
the Security Council is unlikely to enhance the prospects for genuine, rather
than virtual, Palestinian statehood,” Ibish wrote.
despair could provoke an outburst of anger and even violence, turning a
difficult diplomatic mess into an unmanageable political and security nightmare
for Israel and the PA alike,” he continued.
“Cooler heads should prevail
at the UN, but what is more important is to prevent an irrational overreaction
that takes a bad situation and makes it potentially
Ibish’s opposition to the PA’s UN gambit has already
provoked a heated backlash.
Daoud Kuttab, a Jordan-based Palestinian
journalist (and regular Jerusalem Post
contributor) resigned last week from the
ATFP, citing its position on the statehood bid.
“The approach to the UN
was and is the most non-violent alternative that was left available to the
Palestinian leadership,” Kuttab wrote on his blog Wednesday. “Denying
Palestinian leaders this option is nothing more than pushing them into the hands
of extremists who believe that Palestinian statehood can... be won only through