Opposition to or reservation about the Palestinian U.N. bid to gain non-member observer state status is ill-advised, hypocritical and wrong, especially on part of the U.S., Germany and Britain.
Most of us have given up on the United States. One was hoping that President Barack Obama, now that he has won a second term, would be a bit more assertive, not to say aggressive, vis-à-vis the present Israeli government, with the aim of making it seek peace in earnest, for its own sake, for the sake of the Palestinians, and for the sake of the whole region.
All indications, however, tend to dash such hope. Neither the Obama administration nor the American Congress dare deviate from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s farcical edict: that the Palestinians should seek statehood and all other matters through “negotiations” with Israel, even though the Palestinians spent many years negotiating with Israel fruitlessly and losing more territory as they were negotiating.
Germany seems to be hopeless. In a pathetic attempt to make it up to Israel for what the Nazis did to the Jews of Europe, the Germans, by eternally saying yes to Israel, are causing a similar harm to the Palestinians.
Britain is a huge disappointment. The ones who should unwaveringly and unconditionally vote in favor of this humble Palestinian request are the British, whose sinful colonial policies were the main cause of the Palestinian tragedy. One would think that after the elapse of so many decades of Palestinian suffering, the Britons would try to make it up to the Palestinians even in a tiny, symbolic way.
But no! Britain wants concrete assurances that the Palestinians will unconditionally go back to the negotiating table (as if the Palestinians were against negotiating!) and that they will not seek legal action against Israel for past transgression and crimes.
Had the British asked for guarantees that the Palestinians would not act legally against Britain for the transgression committed in the days of the so-called British Mandate, one would have somewhat understood. But to prevent the Palestinians from taking legal, lawful, civil action against their aggressors is really too much.
Like the Americans, the British have appointed themselves mouthpiece for the mighty Israeli prime minister. The leaders of both countries are repeating Netanyahu’s words verbatim.
The Palestinians should not be dissuaded. They should go to the U.N. General Assembly with great determination. For years, they have followed American, British and European advice faithfully, and such advice proved to be horribly wrong.
Not only have more than 10 years of ongoing negotiations with Israel led to nothing, but these years in fact caused the Palestinian cause, due to Israel’s settlement activities and outright aggression against the Palestinians, a lot of harm.
Furthermore, the Palestinians do not need the American, British and German blessings. They can get the non-membership status without their sanction.
Even if the vote depends entirely on the positions of the U.S., Germany and Britain, they should still go. Let these three countries, and others, add to their long list of bad decisions and positions against a people who is simply seeking liberty and independence like all other nations on earth.
Nothing good can come out of subservience and foolish obedience. Ultimately, no one can give the Palestinians their rights but themselves. And it is they themselves who should decide what they should do.
(Ahmad Y. Majdoubeh is a writer for The Jordan Times where this article was published on Nov. 29, 2012)