Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.

Donate

Palestinians ask Obama: Why not endorse our Arab Spring?

The United States and Israel may insist that a Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations next week will be disastrous for Middle East peace prospects, but Palestinian officials are painting the move in much more positive hues.

In a region where the Arab Spring is in full bloom, they argue, the Palestinian leadership has to offer its people something – especially with the peace process President Obama re-launched a year ago all but dead.

“This [UN move] is aimed at preserving the two-state solution,” said Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestinian ambassador to Washington. “We are trying to keep hope alive among the Palestinian people that this [two-state solution] is going to be feasible.”

Speaking at a Monitor breakfast Tuesday, Mr. Areikat said that while the UN bid for statehood is not aimed at souring relations with the US, the Obama administration should consider how opposing the Palestinians’ statehood initiative will come across among freedom-seeking Arabs and around the world.

Calling the Palestinians’ UN bid “an issue of national pride for a people who want to be independent and free,” Areikat said it is not the kind of initiative that Arabs and others expect America to oppose. “I don’t think it’s the natural role for the US to block the admission of a state” to the United Nations, he said, adding that such action is not “compatible with US principles.”

The US-educated diplomat offered his comments to Washington reporters only hours after the Palestinian Liberation Organization committee reportedly decided to take the bid for statehood to the UN Security Council next week. Areikat is the chief diplomat at the PLO’s Washington office.

The Obama administration has said it would veto any Palestinian petition submitted to the Security Council for full UN membership. But the administration still hopes to avoid that step: President Obama on Tuesday was to send his Middle East envoys, David Hale and Dennis Ross, back to the region for a final stab at dissuading the Palestinians from seeking a UN vote.

The two envoys last visited the region just over a week ago, but according to Palestinians had nothing more to offer than the threat of a US veto. Mr. Hale is the special Mideast envoy who replaced former Senator George Mitchell after his resignation in May, while Mr. Ross is Obama’s chief Middle East adviser in the National Security Council.

It was not immediately clear what, if any, new offer the envoys had to make to the Palestinian leadership in exchange for dropping the UN bid. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said he could forego the UN bid if presented with a serious plan for direct negotiations with Israel, but he says the plan would have to include a halt to Israeli settlement construction.

Areikat said the Palestinians appreciate how Obama made the peace process an early priority of his administration, but he added that the Obama administration turned out to be no different from previous ones when it came to dealing with Israel.

Rather than using its “leverage” with the Israeli government to get it back to the negotiating table, the administration “gave in and gave up,” he says.

The Palestinian campaign to secure statehood through the UN has spawned a number of reactions in the US Congress, including bills in the House of Representatives that would cut off US aid to the Palestinian Authority.

But Areikat insists the Palestinians aren’t going to make decisions about their path to statehood based on threats to withdraw foreign assistance. “We are not going to allow financial aid to be a sword over our necks,” he said.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Jonathan Johnson on 09/19/2011 - 09:57 am.

    The only solution for a lasting peace is absolute democratic process (that we Americans cherish so passionately) for the entire territory in question, otherwise, the peace will not last. All people who lived there without regard to religion, race, etc. should vote on how they would like their one country to be run. I favor one state solution because two states would only attempt to “legalize” Zionist occupation that will be remembered in history until it is corrected by future large scale conflicts, so no lasting peace will result.
    The only issue with the fair democratic process is what to do with all manipulated Jewish people who the Zionist regime imported for decades to increase the Jewish population from around 100,000 to over 5 Million since the start of the occupation. This is obviously an attempt to unjustly manipulate any future democratic process by forcefully increasing the occupier’s population at the expense of others. Any compromise other than the absolute fair democratic process with no manipulated population will be temporary with terrible conflicts looming to correct it in the future.
    The truth is that the Zionist regime will not accept any democratic process even if the manipulated Jewish population is included because it cannot exist as a democratic country as Zionists will be outvoted by all others who live there (Zionists were in an infinite minority before the occupation). The Zionist regime can only temporarily exist through the force of its arms as a one people country where only select ones can vote and where different laws apply to different people.
    The world must stand up against the Zionist regime by cutting all diplomatic and economic relations with it. Many countries have already stopped all relations with the Zionist regime and others are in the process of doing the same. We Americans need to completely distance ourselves from this oppressive regime through urging our state representatives and senators to do what the rest of the world is doing.

  2. Submitted by Brandon Newton on 09/19/2011 - 10:37 am.

    If it is ever reached, the current and any other artificial “peace agreement” will be illegitimate before it is ever signed because (1) all people living in Palestine regardless of religion, race, origin, etc. (hereinafter “All People of Palestine”) were never given a choice on how they want their land to be governed, and (2) all contracts signed under duress are null and void.

    The biggest problem in Palestine is that the Zionist regime never offered a choice to All People of Palestine on how they want to govern their land because the Zionist regime cannot exist as a democratic entity. If there was ever any democratic process in Palestine, Zionists would have been outvoted and the Zionist regime would have never existed. That is why the Zionist regime is the occupier because it does not offer choice (i.e. democracy), but instead imposes its regime (i.e. occupies). Imagine if Russians would simply occupy a town in the U.S. where they are in significant numbers and attempt to create a Russian state there without giving the rest of the Americans living there a choice. Imagine then if they would try to institute a “peace agreement” that would attempt to legitimize their occupation. The “peace agreement” would logically and legally be illegitimate because the Americans were not given a choice.

    Under all countries’ laws, any contract is null and void if it is signed under duress. The current Palestine “peace agreement” process reminds me of The Godfather movie where the mafia boss (i.e. the Zionist regime) made a guy “an offer he could not refuse” by placing a gun (i.e. Zionist conventional and nuclear arsenal) to his head and making him sign the contract. Like the mafia boss’ offer, any “peace agreement” other than the choice for All People of Palestine is a crime, and the contract is legally null and void.

    The bottom line is that All People of Palestine never wanted to divide their land into artificial two states the way the occupation and this “peace agreement” attempt to divide it. From the beginning of the Zionist regime to its unavoidable end, All People of Palestine and the region never wanted the Zionist regime and they do not want it even more after all the atrocities the Zionist regime committed. I just cannot believe how the Zionist regime can be so ignorant to think that this or any other “peace agreement” that does not allow people to choose how they want to be governed will last and ensure its people’s survival. The Zionist regime fails to realize that no matter if it succeeds in muscling this “peace agreement” by unspeakable historic coercion tens of millions of moral people around the world will oppose it until it is corrected, and until justice and free choice prevail. Also, ever increasing number of Jewish people are realizing that Zionism is becoming a destructive force for them and are leading the global resistance to it.

  3. Submitted by Marlon McKenzie on 09/19/2011 - 11:39 am.

    The main Zionist claim is that they have a supreme right to some of Palestinian territory because they lived there thousands of years ago. Let’s examine the core & real nature of this claim.

    (1st) this claim is mistaken & selfish in its core concept because Zionists fail to recognize that history is a continuum & that there were other people living in majority in Palestine before the Jews & also after the Jews. Zionists simply cut history at a convenient point for them & claim ancestral ties to the land as of that convenient point.

    (2nd) whatever the claim, it is beyond absurd to try to shape modern world based on thousands of years old maps. Imagine if the rest of the world would be reshaped by who was on the land thousands of years ago. It would cause horrific wars, countless refugees, & unimaginable human suffering, exactly what is happening in Palestine.

    (3rd) Zionist goal was to establish a Jewish state wherever possible. Palestine may have been a preference, but Palestine wasn’t the only location that Zionists planned as their state in modern times. Another location was Argentina where Jews have been migrating for hundreds of years for the purpose of establishing a state. Locations in Europe were on the list and that’s why the Catholic Church was killing/expelling Jews since Roman times (read the history of the Holly Inquisition). Whatever the location, Zionist plan was to simply occupy the people living on the land even if that would mean imposing a regime worst than Nazi Germany’s from which they escaped. Zionists would just use a different ideological coloring than the one used in Palestine in the attempt to rationalize the occupation.

    In conclusion, the main claim on which the Zionist regime is built in Palestine is erroneous, selfish, & a lie. I’m categorically against generalizing, & recognize that many Jews are against the crimes the Zionist regime is committing & that many Jews are leading the global resistance to it. They should be proud

  4. Submitted by James Martin on 09/19/2011 - 12:24 pm.

    Imagine in the current time if France would want to create its own state in Michigan and separate it from the U.S. French are a minority in Michigan so democratic vote on the separation would not work because they would be outvoted by the rest of the Americans living in Michigan. So imagine if they had a historic opportunity when the U.S. is at its weakest and militarily occupy a part of Michigan and impose a regime where only French can vote and all the others who lived there cannot. Furthermore, the occupiers rename the occupied part of Michigan as the “French State” where not only that Americans are not welcome, but they are systematically expelled over time creating huge refugee camps in nearby states of Indiana and Ohio. Imagine then that at that point in history the artificial organization called the United Nations is full of French supporters and somehow that makes the occupation “legal” and Americans who fight for their homes in the occupied part of Michigan are labeled as terrorists. The occupation is a part of a careful log-term plan (i.e. Zionism) of acquiring land by French, so literally days after the occupation is implemented (what a coordinated plan!) the occupiers import millions of other French from all over the world to increase their population in Michigan from around 100,000 to over 5 Million in a short period. Then Americans resist and fight to regain the occupied part of Michigan, but Russia steps in, sends weapons, cash, and everything else the occupiers need to sustain the occupation.

    What do you think all of us Americans would feel? We would hate French first, and then all of their supporters (Russia in this analogy) that make the occupation of our land possible. Still questioning yourself why people in the Middle East and other parts of the world do not like us? Because our Zionist controlled government, not the people, supported the very exact scenario as described above against our will and with our tax money making us accomplices in this unspeakable crime. The scenario that would outrage all of us Americans and make us fight against it if it happened in Michigan or anywhere else in the U.S.

    This comment is not intended to make derogatory remarks about France and Russia. It is merely used as an example of how Americans would be outraged and fight back in the same situation as the forced establishment of the Zionist regime and its occupation of Palestine.
    Urge your state representatives and senators to immediately stop any remaining support for the Zionist regime. Much of the support already stopped because of the increasing pressure on this issue, but we Americans need to completely distance ourselves from this oppressive regime and start actively opposing it.

Leave a Reply