Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to talk peace with Israel only after the Palestinian bid for U.N. non-member state status is accepted is correct.
For one thing, nothing comes out of talking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government at this point in time, as it is interested only in fruitless negotiations while continuing to adopt and implement its policy of changing “facts on the ground” in Israel’s favor through illegal expansion of settlements and confiscation of Palestinian land.
Nothing good can come out of negotiating with a dishonest, ill-meaning partner. Much good, however, can come out if Palestine becomes a U.N. non-member state and, hopefully in the future, acquires full membership.
When Israel is ready to negotiate in good faith and to implement what has already been agreed upon, I am sure Abbas would more than reciprocate. At this point, under this particular government of extremists and colonialists, talks are a total waste of time.
Abbas’ vision for peace is clear. His commitment to the two-state solution is unshakable. And so is his respect for Israel’s right to exist and live in peace. When he talks about peace, he wants peace for both Palestinians and Israelis.
The same can be said about the overall Arab position, as epitomized very clearly not only in the agreements signed between a number of Arab countries and Israel — which even an Islamist like the current Egyptian president fully respects and abides by — but also in the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002.
By contrast, Israel, at least at this point in time, has no vision for peace and no clear position — other than wanting more Palestinian land. And when and if it says it wants peace, it wants it on its own terms and for its own citizens, including the lawless, criminal settlers. No respect and no sympathy for the Palestinians.
Rather than waste time with this Israeli government, Abbas is right in trying to pursue and boost Palestinian interests on other fronts. The U.N. is one such venue, and Palestinian recognition there will bring both the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people much good support, not just moral but also logistic and material.
If the Israeli government thinks time and facts on the ground are on its side, it is mistaken. This is a shortsighted view of the situation. No matter what it does to change facts on the ground, and no matter how much land it swallows, the Palestinians are not going anywhere, and they will never abandon their right to the land occupied by Israel. The Palestinians’ home is Palestine, nowhere else.
The Palestinians, the Arabs, the Muslims are patient and they can wait — as patient as they were during the crusades, the European colonialism and now the Zionist occupation.
Time can be on our side too.
For these and other reasons, the Palestinian president should not only be confident about his decisions, but insistent and adamant. The last thing he wants to do is strike a bad deal with a bad partner — as was done in Oslo, as we tragically realize now.
Ahmad Y. Majdoubeh is a writer for The Jordan Times where this article was published on Oct. 18, 2012