A non-partisan journal of the left.

Carrot Versus Breadcrumb: A Palestinian Dilemma

Wed 28th Nov 2012


Palestinian Authority leader, President Abbas, is attempting to gain an upgraded status for Palestine at the UN this month. Israel and America are determined that this will not happen. There is no veto in operation on this new bid and as a result it looks highly likely that Palestine will win its upgrade to 'observer status' at the UN.

As a result of this forthcoming bid Palestinians in Gaza, and those who support them in the West Bank, are being subjected to the most horrific punishment for daring to try and claim their Human Rights.

Israel informed the world more than two weeks ago that they would inflict punishment on Palestinians for this so called unilateral attempt to bypass the long defunct peace talks. Israel is euphemistically calling the punishment 'Pillar of Defence'. A biblical reference which no doubt will gain them supporters amongst extremist Christian Evangelical Zionists.

Israel also insists that it will topple President Abbas and stop collecting taxes and transferring them to the Palestinian authority. I believe this is collective punishment which, under International Law, is illegal.

President Abbas, for once, stood his ground despite the increased and disproportionate assaults by Israel on his people.

'Pillar of Defence' has killed 160 Palestinians, injured hundreds more and, of those injured, several more are likely to die. There is currently a ceasefire in place.

During this latest assault, Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, indicated that he was "mulling over" an offer of a non-binding recognition of a Palestinian entity with non-binding borders as long as President Abbas withdraws his bid at the UN.

Why is Israel dangling a carrot like this? Easy. If the Palestinians get their upgrade there are international benefits which will accrue to them.

The most worrying of these is access to the International Criminal Court and thus the ability to have Israel held accountable for the many war crimes committed over the last decades.

It is no surprise that the US is also pushing President Abbas to withdraw his bid. We knew that they would blindly follow where Israel led.

The UK has made it clear that it will support Abbas but only if he takes the right to access international bodies like the ICC out of the bid, in which case the Palestinians would accrue no significant benefit from the upgrade.

Why is it so important not to have Palestinians achieve their international rights?

Firstly, Israel would have to be held accountable for its war crimes. Secondly, all UN resolutions would have to be complied with or sanctions would be imposed. Thirdly, Israel would have to return all occupied lands which it currently keeps through military force.

All of these outcomes are an anathema to Israel. The pre-emptive strikes, formerly known by the rest of us as declarations of war, would no longer be acceptable. Israel would have to learn to deal on a level playing field with its neighbours. The continued building of illegal settlements would have to be halted and those already in existence would have to be dismantled. Racist and apartheid policies would have to incur global sanctions just as they did for South Africa decades ago.

What should we all learn from this?

The US, Israel and the UK need to know that they no longer have the right to trample indigenous people underfoot to satisfy their feeble attempts to maintain a dying Western supremacy.

A carrot or a breadcrumb is all the US, the UK and Israel are prepared to offer Palestinians. In this day and age, it is not enough. Palestinians deserve recognition as a state and this upcoming bid is the first step along the path of recompense for the horrific colonialism that they have suffered for more than sixty four years.
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