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Ear to the Ground

Mahmoud Abbas: Why Palestine Seeks U.N. Membership

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Posted on May 17, 2011
Flickr / World Economic Forum

Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas penned an Op-Ed in Tuesday’s New York Times making the case for Palestine’s right to statehood and giving the reasons why it should be considered a legitimate member of the international community. Abbas wrote that Palestine’s plan to request international recognition in September should not be considered a “stunt” and the move is necessary because “we have been negotiating with the State of Israel for 20 years without coming any closer to realizing a state of our own.”

On Sunday, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was again exacerbated when Arab demonstrators mourning the loss of Palestinian territory to Israel clashed with police along four of Israel’s borders. And earlier this month, Abbas defied Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by reconciling Abbas’ party, Fatah, with the more radical Hamas to create a unified democratic government. At this rate, Abbas is on pace to leave a lasting legacy for his people. —KDG

Mahmoud Abbas writing in The New York Times:

Our quest for recognition as a state should not be seen as a stunt; too many of our men and women have been lost for us to engage in such political theater. We go to the United Nations now to secure the right to live free in the remaining 22 percent of our historic homeland because we have been negotiating with the State of Israel for 20 years without coming any closer to realizing a state of our own. We cannot wait indefinitely while Israel continues to send more settlers to the occupied West Bank and denies Palestinians access to most of our land and holy places, particularly in Jerusalem. Neither political pressure nor promises of rewards by the United States have stopped Israel’s settlement program.

Negotiations remain our first option, but due to their failure we are now compelled to turn to the international community to assist us in preserving the opportunity for a peaceful and just end to the conflict. Palestinian national unity is a key step in this regard. Contrary to what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel asserts, and can be expected to repeat this week during his visit to Washington, the choice is not between Palestinian unity or peace with Israel; it is between a two-state solution or settlement-colonies.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, May 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

driving bear, May 17 at 7:01 pm

Bingo!  I think has the best chance for stability and the end of the horrible poverty in these areas.

Israel is the only nation, in all of human history, that has been “expected” to return land it had gained after being attacked.

While Israel has been willing to do that on several occasions peace has been elusive while there remains those who claim she should not even exist.

Place the contested areas under Arab governance and, after Hezbollah and Hamas is willingly disarmed, negotiate over the militarily significant high grounds of the Golan region.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, May 17, 2011 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

TDoff,

You write that Palestine should be returned to Palestinians.

Isn’t the point of Abbas requesting statehood a confirmation that a Palestinian state never previously existed on those lands?

If I understand my history the epicenter of the famed and known “Palestinian State” is currently known as Jordan.

The West Bank and Gaza, until very recent days, has been governed by both Jordan and Egypt.  Never was there talk of, not even the concept of, a Palestinian State on those lands.

The Palestinians who lived in those areas, with Jews along with a handful of Christian Copts and Buddhists, lived with no threat from Israel or from Jews.  Not until Israel was attacked on all sides by its neighbors, motivated to destroy the state, did those lands become “Occupied Palestinian”.

-

I am tired of pretending Arabs have not used these poor people and the “Palestinian Cause” to needlessly enslave them in abject poverty, in the strictest sense of the word, as an inhumane and cruel tool for several decades and generations.

I think it bears repeating that the Arabs of West Bank and Gaza are surrounded by some of the wealthiest per capita nations on earth.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, May 17, 2011 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

An all-out, sincere and monumental, effort to congeal a unanimous U.N. Resolution recognizing Israel’s right to exist would be the best next step toward mitigating violence in the region.

An unprecedented U.N. effort toward ending Iranian and Syrian support of the military arms of Hezbollah and Hamas would be the next best concrete direction toward saving lives.

If a few of the wealthiest per capita nations on the planet, Arab nations with Arab oil wealth, were to build commerce and education centers in the West Bank and Gaza the next crucial step, open and secure borders, would be aided IMMENSELY.

-Perhaps the surrounding Arab nations could open their borders to West Bank and Gaza residents (which none have ever done).  No Arab nation has ever formally allowed Palestinians to emigrate.

-Perhaps the United Nations can explore having Egypt and Jordan step up and “govern” and “secure” the area until Statehood is achieved for the Palestinians in all contested lands.  Arabs could “protect” Palestinians and secure the borders with Israel.  This would make it an Arab issue.

-Perhaps after these concrete goals have been achieved Israel may be more amenable to once again sharing Jerusalem.

-

Of course none of this speaks to the dozens of millions across the region living under brutal autocratic rule every day.  Places where homosexuals are hanged, woman have no right to their own bodies and dissent is met with prison and, regularly, worse.

How many churches are there in Saudi Arabia?  Anyone happen to know?

Any government which does not allow for freedom of faith, an open press, an independent judiciary or allow its citizens to yell at the government from the town square is inherently dangerous to its people and its neighbors.

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driving bear's avatar

By driving bear, May 17, 2011 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment

To Gerard

In late 2005 early 2006 then Sen Sam Brownback of Kansas purposed that the Palestinian parts of the west bank be reattached to Jordan and Gaza be reattached to Egypt, that each then would be considered an semi autonomous Provence of the Mother countries

In his plane he envisioned that the mother countries who have peace treaties with Israel be in charge of Security

In my opinion this is the only Idea that has even a snowball’s chance in hell of working.

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By TDoff, May 17, 2011 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

There is a simple solution: Return Palestine to the Palestinians, whatever it takes. The world should unite behind this. The citizens of any nation that doesn’t, should do what it takes to change that nation’s decision. With help from other nations, if necessary. In other words, revolt against the status quo. Is there any other way to effect change?

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, May 17, 2011 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

I hope to witness a peaceful revolution for the Palestinian people for their own nation.

Palestine will be founded on the blood shed by Israel but not of the Israelis.

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By gerard, May 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

Frankly, what other solution is reasonable?  Suggestions?

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By berniem, May 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

An excercise in futulity so long as you-know-who has veto power! FREE BRADLEY MANNING!!!!

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