[News] Mahmoud Abbas' real "accomplishment" was not the UN vote on Palestine

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Sun Dec 2 17:01:48 EST 2012


*Mahmoud Abbas' real "accomplishment" was not the UN vote on Palestine*

Early last month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seemingly 
renounced any claim to a right of return [AP]

A day after the UN voted to admit "Palestine" as a non-member state, US 
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly praised the Palestinian 
Authority (PA) led by Mahmoud Abbas for its collaboration with the 
Israeli occupation army.

Speaking at a Zionist think tank in Washington on Friday, Clinton 
defended the PA from criticism by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor 
Lieberman. According to /Ha'aretz/ Clinton said 
"With very little money, and no natural resources, they [the PA] have 
accomplished quite a bit, building a security force that works every 
single day with the IDF (Israel Defence Forces). They have 
entrepreneurial successes. They are nationalistic - but largely secular. 
Israel should support them."

This is the same "IDF" that just a few days ago was massacring entire 
Palestinian families 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/11/2012111965527583514.html> in 
Gaza and shooting dead 
<http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/11/assault-provokes-support-for-hamas-in-west-bank/> West 
Bank Palestinians who dared to protest those crimes.

And during and after its latest attack on Gaza, the same Israeli army 
embarked on a rampage of arrests in the West Bank, detaining hundreds of 
people <http://www.addameer.org/etemplate.php?id=537> for expressing 
their views. In light of Clinton's comments, it is legitimate to ask how 
much the PA participated in these acts of rage and vengeance by Israel 
for its failure in Gaza.

Clinton could have added that daily collaboration with the occupation 
was not the only notable "accomplishment" of the Abbas-led US-backed PA. 
For years, the PA has been equipped and trained under US supervision 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/palestinepapers/2011/01/2011125145732219555.html> to 
act as an auxiliary for Israeli occupation forces to suppress any and 
all forms of Palestinian resistance, to beat and suppress Palestinians 
expressing their views 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/ei-blogger-who-witnessed-palestinian-authority-police-beating-protestor-forced> and 
to arrest and harrass journalists 
<http://electronicintifada.net/content/palestinian-forces-increasingly-join-israel-repression-journalists/11949> who 
dare to criticise it.

This is exactly the kind of repressive client regime the United States 
has always supported in Arab countries, and why Clinton commended the PA 
to her Israeli partner.

*A shameful record*

The Abbas PA's record of collaboration with Israel, against the 
interests of the Palestinian people is long, shameful and well 
documented. It includes plotting secretly with Israel 
the US and the former Mubarak regime in Egypt to overthrow the elected 
Hamas-led Palestinian Authority after 2006, colluding with Israel to 
bury the Goldstone report 
<http://electronicintifada.net/content/abbas-helps-israel-bury-its-crimes-gaza/8472> into 
Israel's war crimes in Gaza in 2008-2009, begging Israel not to release 
Palestinian prisoners 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/palestinepapers/2011/01/2011126132936232554.html> so 
as not to give credit to Hamas, and more recently Abbas' public 
renunciation of the Palestinian right of return 
a reflection of his longstanding position in negotiations.

These harsh realities should bring into focus the misguided celebrations 
over the UN vote, which as I explained on Al Jazeera 
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKwgZqAAz18&feature=youtu.be> is at best 
no more significant than winning an international football match, and at 
worst, as Joseph Massad 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/profile/joseph-massad.html> argued 
in /The Guardian/, ratifies a racist status quo 

*Bait and switch*

Quite a few people nonetheless tried to market the UN vote as a great 
victory, answering scepticism about it by saying it would give 
Palestinians access to the International Criminal Court (ICC), to hold 
Israeli war criminals accountable. Can anyone seriously believe that the 
Abbas-led PA that has done all this, and which Clinton praises for its 
close collaboration with the the occupation army, will do anything to 
bring Israeli war criminals to justice?

Already, the bait-and-switch has happened. Just a day after the UN vote, 
Abbas poured cold water on any such hope. "We now have the right to 
appeal the ICC, but we are not going to do it now and will not do it 
except in the case of Israeli aggression," Abbas told reporters 
While Palestinians in Gaza still mourn, and those in the West Bank 
struggle to retain their land as Israel and its settlers steal it, the 
ostensible Palestinian leader sees no Israeli "aggression".

*A hollow strategy*

The emptiness of the UN vote could not have been more clearly 
illustrated than by what has happened - or not happened - since.

On Thursday, the UN General Assembly voted to admit "Palestine" as a 
non-member state. On Friday, Israel announced its intention to build 
thousands more settler housing units on the territory of this supposed 
state. What now will be the international response in the wake of the UN 

Other than ritual condemnations, will there be real, specific action - 
including sanctions - by the 138 countries that voted for "Palestine" to 
force Israel to halt, and begin to reverse its illegal colonisation of 
the 1967 occupied territories? Sadly, that is unlikely, an indication 
that the UN vote was nothing more than a hollow gesture and a substitute 
for effective action to halt Israel's crimes.

It is also a reminder that there is no "two-state solution". There is 
one geopolitical entity in historic Palestine. Israel must not be 
allowed to continue to entrench its apartheid, racist and colonial rule 
throughout that land.

What ought to give us hope are not more empty gestures at the UN, but 
the growing Palestinian-led grassroots solidarity movement, pushing to 
hold Israel accountable. This movement scored a significant milestone 
this week when international music legend Stevie Wonder pulled out of a 
benefit gig for the Israeli army 
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/stevie-wonder-cancels-concert-for-group-that-raises-funds-to-support-israeli-military/2012/11/30/2c6edfca-3b41-11e2-9258-ac7c78d5c680_story.html> after 
an activist campaign.

Actions like this by prominent cultural figures indicate that the 
Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, 
modelled on the one that helped end apartheid in South Africa, is 
gaining strength and legitimacy. It is a movement based not on trading 
Palestinian rights for a West Bank mini-state under a dictatorial 
US-backed regime, but on restoring the rights of all Palestinians 
<http://www.bdsmovement.net/call> everywhere.

/*Ali Abunimah is author of */*One Country, A Bold Proposal to End the 
Israeli-Palestinian Impasse*/*. He is a co-founder of the online 
publication The Electronic Intifada <http://electronicintifada.net/> and 
a policy adviser with Al-Shabaka <http://al-shabaka.org/>.*/

/*Follow on Twitter him at: @AliAbunimah 

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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