Ulterior motives

FILE - Palestinian protesters hold up a national flag in front of Israeli troops during a demonstration on route 443 near the West Bank village of Beit Ur. (AFP PHOTO /ABBAS MOMANI)

Palestine has once again faced vocal rejection of its statehood bid, this time in a statement from the United States declaring that such a move would set back the peace process. The U.S. has said the decision must include Israel, and has further warned European countries, in a private memo, not to support Palestine’s bid.

Ever since the Oslo Accord of 1993, every time the Palestinians have sought more legal standing in the eyes of the international community the West has given them the message that it’s not the right time and such a move would jeopardize peace talks.

Back then the Palestinians had significantly more land than what they have now. The difference has since been swallowed by sequestration of land, settlements and all kinds of actions either by the Israeli government or by settlers.

Every year this excuse is given that recognizing Palestine any further would jeopardize the peace process, but it is clear that the peace process is not moving one iota anyway.

The delay in recognizing Palestine instead means the country is steadily losing more land and an unstable atmosphere is being created for the Palestinian people.

People need to know if they are living in a state, a nonstate, or a semistate. The Palestinian Authority has not only to consider what the West wants it to do, but also to consider the needs of the Palestinian people.

At the moment, because of the political and economic situation, they are living in a powder keg. There is no way of knowing when this might explode.

Overnight, the frustration at their situation could grow to a dangerous point, and the world could be faced with another intifada. When people are forced into such a seemingly hopeless situation, it is only natural that their frustrations will reach boiling point.

The attitude of the West also threatens direct funding to Palestine, mostly from sympathetic Gulf countries. This is just another ingredient of the powder keg. Without status, Palestine is denied rights to funding that would help it progress, something that would ultimately benefit the U.S., the West and the whole world.

The powers that resist Palestine’s statehood bid do not have the interests of Palestine at heart, no matter what their stated opinions of peace talks.

It is high time they let the Palestinians decide their own fate. Palestine’s leaders should call the West’s bluff and act only according to the interests of their people, regardless of the consequences. There is no use in heeding the caution being professed by the U.S. Palestine is at rock bottom. Holding out for a solution that will never come will not answer any of their problems.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 17, 2012, on page 7.




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