Writers Articles And News 

19 November 2009

By Sami Jamil Jadallah

The issue of continuing and expanding Jewish settlements came back to haunt the Palestinian leadership that negotiated Oslo and continued to negotiate with Israel for the last 16 years while Israeli continued to build and expand its settlements, not to mention building the Apartheid Wall.

Now 16 years later finally the Palestinian leadership discovered there is a problem with the Jewish settlements. One has to wonder why did Arafat continue to negotiate with Israel while Israeli continued with its settlement program? And why did Abbas continue to negotiate with Netanyahu predecessor Olmert while Olmert continued with his settlement program not to mention his on War on Gaza?

There is something fundamentally wrong with this Palestinian leadership that accepted, and for so long, Israel’s settlements policy that saw settlements expand 150% since Oslo, while we hear nothing but lip service and denunciation from Ramallah, while it continues to deal with Israel business as usual.

Of course we do understand this leadership that lead the Palestinian people from one failure to another, from one disaster to another continues to proceed with its Oslo policies even though those policies simply failed to make a difference for the millions under occupation. Of course Oslo made a big and substantial difference to the leadership and its army of do-nothing functionaries.

The statement of Hillary Clinton that Israel made “unprecedented concessions” on the issue of settlements should be a red flag for the Palestinian leadership that America under Barack Obama is no different from America under George Bush and that peace in the Middle East is not an international issue but strictly a domestic issue. The Palestinian leadership has to come to terms with and has to understand that the powerful American Jewish leadership and community will never, ever allow any US president to proceed and make serious efforts in making peace possible in the Middle East. Peace is never in the interest of this leadership and community.

The shifting sands are not in the Middle East, the shifting sands are in Washington, with President Barack Obama under tremendous domestic pressure from the American Jewish leadership and community to simply give up on his commitments to make peace possible. Instead this leadership and community wants and is demanding President Barack Obama manage the conflict but not solve it. Hence the backtracking on the issue of settlements as illegal and obstacle to peace.

Of course Bibi Netanyahu is challenging the Palestinian leadership to start the negotiations without pre-conditions and as he stated “the Palestinians have been negotiating for the last 16 years while Israel was building the settlements why stop negotiating now?" And yes, perhaps Bibi Netanyahu is correct; why stop negotiating now? This is the question the Palestinian leadership must answer and now.

If the Palestinians and the leadership are counting on the US and the Obama administration to deliver peace or deliver Israel to withdraw and ends its occupation they better think twice. Now and for the foreseeable future there is no US president who can muster the courage to stand up to the powerful, vengeful and harmful American Jewish leadership and community. Peace for Israel, peace in the Middle East, ending the longest occupation in modern times will undermine the power and influence of this leadership and community, and its is not about to give all that up, even it means tens of thousands of lives are lost on both sides.

Now the Palestinian leadership has to understand that the people are fed with a dialed and inept leadership, fed up with the same excuses, fed up with everything that comes out of Ramallah and for that matter out of Gaza or Damascus. The people are fed up with the Oslo Team continuing to manage the Jewish Occupation as if there are no expanding settlements, as if there are no demolition of homes, as if there is no Apartheid Wall, as if there is no ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Jerusalem, as if there are no 650 security checkpoints and expanding, as if there are no targeted assassinations. The people are fed with up the Ramallah negotiation team, fed up with Hamas stupid rockets and claims of effective armed resistance, fed up with Hamas, with Fatah and fed up with the PLO and the same leadership that failed them for so long. The Oslo Team that managed the Jewish Occupation since Oslo must close shop and close today before tomorrow.

We all know this is rather a difficult decision to make, not because it is the right thing to do, or because it is in the best interest of the people, no, because such a decision to close down Oslo Shop has so much implication for the rights, benefits privileges and personal financial interest of a leadership and a team that are direct beneficiaries of the continuing Jewish Occupation. Oslo was a bonanza.

Senior members will have to give up very expensive multi-million dollar villas, give up fleet of cars for them and members of their families, give up all the personal security guards and armed escorts, give up their Israeli issued VIP cards, give up on evenings in posh Tel-Aviv restaurants and night clubs, give up on business interests with the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Occupations. They simply have to give up salaries and benefits in the 6 digits figures. They have to give up all of this. Of course, tens of thousands of Fatah members also have to give up salaries paid directly by the PA since it is doubtful if Israel will keep them on its payroll. Members of Hamas will also have to give up similar privileges if Oslo closes shop.

There is no other choice but to disband the Palestinian Authority and to call Oslo null and void since Israel never had any intention to give up the Occupation, give up on settlements and was only interested in a Palestinian partner that can manage the Occupation but not deliver on ending the Occupation. The Road Map was a dead end to start with designed to allow Israel to continue with its Occupation. The Palestinian Authority and the PLO must stop being the manager of the Jewish Occupation and must stop begging for funds to fund the Jewish Occupation; time to let Israel pay for its own occupation.

Mahmoud Abbas should take the first flight to New York and demand to speak before the UN General Assembly and there and then announce the disbanding of the Palestinian Authority and asking the United Nations to take over managing the Jewish Occupation from the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization. That step will make ending the Jewish Occupation not an American domestic issue but an international issue as well. The US and especially the Obama administration must then make up its mind whether it wants to manage the conflict to appease the powerful American Jewish leadership and community or it wants to end this conflict and do what is right, the only right thing to do, ending the Jewish Occupation that lasted for some 43 years. The Arabs also have a right to know where the Obama administration stands on ending the Jewish Occupation.



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