Hot off the Arab press 387118

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A lost hope for a Palestinian State
Al-Hayat, London, January 2
The American administration’s opposition to the Jordanian government’s resolution on the end of the Israeli occupation by 2017 did not come as a surprise.
The US leadership has been a blind supporter of Israeli policies for decades. Despite all of the promises made by US President Barack Obama in his famous Cairo address to the Arab world, nothing changed on the ground. In a sense, things have even gotten worse; it would have been much better not to make these promises to begin with, than to back down from one’s commitments.
Interestingly, the US’s opposition to the resolution did not end there; American officials attacked France for daring to vote in favor of the draft. What they failed to understand was that French President François Hollande and his foreign minister simply chose to align with their senate, which voted in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state.
Unfortunately, the unconditional American support for Israel, the lack of a moderate Israeli leader and the crumbling Palestinian Authority all lead Palestinians to think the two-state solution is dead. Perhaps other visions, like that of Sari Nusseibeh calling for a binational state, are more realistic. The moves carried out by PA President Mahmoud Abbas in the last week – the UN Security Council resolution and the appeal to the International Criminal Court – are nothing more than symbolic gestures. But they are still moves for those suffering the tragedy and humiliation of occupation. – Randa Taki al-Din
After Israel’s embarrassment, what’s next?
Al-Sharq al-Awsat
, London, January 3
The US did not have to use its veto power at the Security Council, as the Palestinians could not even secure nine simple votes in their favor. Now, after Abbas’s defeat at the UN, it is necessary to think what Israel’s next step will be in retaliation. Abbas’s move was designed, first and foremost, to embarrass Israel and the US in the international arena, and perhaps halt the building of settlements or return to the negotiating table. But it failed, as the US got away with it easily, with no veto needed. Abbas’s hope that the world will see how an American refusal stopped the Palestinians’ biggest chance for peace did not materialize.
Now, Israel is already threatening to cancel the understandings from the Oslo Accords. However, this threat is as futile as that of Abbas to cease security cooperation with Israel. Abbas is well-aware of the fact that the one more dangerous thing than Jewish fanatics taking over his lands is Hamas fanatics taking over his authority.
During Obama’s remaining time in office, we should not expect much to change on the ground. Obama’s position remained weak and he did not stop Israel – during his six years in office – from explicitly violating standing agreements with Washington. The real fear is that the Israelis will take advantage of this weakness, and retaliate against Abbas. They may very well choose to act aggressively against Palestinians, and more specifically, against their chairman. – Abd al-Rahman al-Rashed
The next step for Palestine
Al Jazeera, Qatar, January 2
Washington was not spared from using its veto against the Arab-backed Palestinian bid at the Security Council. Instead, the US continued to turn a blind eye to the Israeli crimes, and lured Security Council members into abstaining from the vote. Thus, the only Arab member of the council – Jordan – could not attain its desired majority and failed to pass the resolution.
With the Palestinian cause abandoned by the international community, Abbas faced one choice, and one choice only: To turn to those few left who still have some moral conscience – the Europeans. The Palestinian decision to sign the Rome Statue and join the International Criminal Court was long overdue. The Palestinians will now be able to prosecute Israeli officials for war crimes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which – in six years – have been subjected to three devastating wars. The Israeli land thefts, the killing of Palestinians, and the confiscation and destruction of homes, will all be scrutinized by the international community from now on. It is about time the Palestinians take positive steps on their way to achieving the Palestinian dream. – Jasser Abd al-Aziz al-Jasser
Abbas’s ultimate promise
Al-Dostour, Jordan, January 3
Despite strong opposition coming from various Palestinian fractions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Abbas decided to proceed with his plan at the Security Council. In its initial version, Abbas’s resolution was disastrous: It offered too many concessions and did not safeguard the interests of the Palestinian people.
Following internal pressure, it was later amended and improved. Fortunately, Washington saved Abbas from his proposal, threatening to veto it.
In any case, we all know by now that such international decisions do not matter, as nothing changes on the ground. The Zionists never recognize any international decision, and do whatever they want. They devour the West Bank and Jerusalem; they steal and annex land, and leave the leftovers that they do not want behind. What makes Abbas think that more negotiations – which have failed so many times before – will suddenly work? It is time Abbas implements his ultimate promise: to end security and economic cooperation with Israel.
Only when the occupation becomes costly and the possibility of an uprising becomes imminent will the Zionists make concessions. Meanwhile, Israel negotiates with Abbas every few years, while continuing its massive Judaization of Palestinian lands. – Rajeh al-Khouri