By Daoud Kuttab
2 January 2015
There is an Arab saying about depriving people of options. It says: “Don’t break a full loaf of bread and don’t eat from a broken loaf -- but feel free to eat as much as you want.”
This is the international community’s response to Palestinian efforts to end the unjust 47-year-old Israeli occupation.
When Palestinians use armed resistance, which is legal by international law, they are called terrorists and asked to refrain from acts that endanger the lives of Israelis whose offensive actions against the people of Gaza are “legitimate” self-defence.
When Palestinians try popular national resistance, their actions are called provocative and their leaders are oppressed.
Israel deported (non-violent leader Mubarak Awad) and caused the death of minister Ziad Abu Ein by using excessive force against demonstrators.
Palestinians tried negotiations despite a statement by the former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir that Israel will drag talks for 10 years without results. The talks have dragged for 20 years without results.
An attempt to use the Security Council route was opened and then quickly shut. The attempt to put an end date to the occupation was not acceptable by Western countries despite the overwhelming support of their populations.
France tried to water down the Palestinian version of proposal without providing assurances that the U.S. will indeed support it. And in the end, the U.S. bullied Nigeria to abstain from voting, and therefore did not even need to use its threats to veto the said resolution.
Palestinians will now move to join various international agencies, having been rebuffed at the very agency that is entrusted to resolve global security and peace issues.
The world community that helped create the state of Israel using bullying in 1947 now used similar bullying to deny the second half of that partition plan regarding the state of Palestine on a mere 22 per cent of the land of Palestine in which Palestinians constituted 95 per cent of the population.
Multiple Messages Are Revealed By This Vote
The world wants to humiliate Palestinians to go back to the uneven talks in which Israel dictates conditions rather than negotiate in good faith and based on relevant international agreements and resolutions.
No consideration is given to the fact that years of negotiations failed to produce any tangible results, ending occupation.
The irony is that one of the conditions that Israel’s prime minister has demanded of the Palestinians, namely to recognize Israel’s as a Jewish state, has now been rejected by the Israelis themselves.
The current Israeli government and the Knesset have been dissolved in large part due to disagreements over this Benjamin Netanyahu call.
Options around the Corner
Palestinian options are not totally unlimited. They can try again in the U.N. Security Council in 2015, when members change, with the chance of obtaining the nine positive votes, but the U.S., which has cast a negative vote in 2014, will not worry so much anymore about casting a veto.
The other option that Palestinians have now is to join the various international agencies, including the Rome Statute, which will pave the way for Palestine to become a member of the International Court of Justice. This will prepare the possibility of suing Israel for its war crimes, the most important being the perpetual occupation and colonial settlement activities.
The U.N. security vote has sent home a clear message that it is not helpful to expect much from such international foray.
Palestinians and their friends around the world must start thinking of a new strategy, or perhaps use existing strategies that are calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli occupiers.
In the meantime, there is no alternative but to increase non-violent resistance efforts and adopt a national liberation strategy that can gain the largest support from all sectors of Palestinian society.
Pushing for a Security Council vote might have been a clever tactic, but it clearly was not well thought out and the negative consequences which many, including the Jordanian representative, had predicted, have come true.
Maybe the vote in the council was merely a step in a larger scheme that will legitimize going to various international agencies.
Daoud Kuttab, an award winning Palestinian journalist who resides in Jerusalem and Amman. Mr. Kuttab is the director general of Community Media Network a media NGO that runs a radio station in Amman (al balad radio 92.4fm) a news web site ammannet.net and a TV production operation in Palestine Pen media (penmedia.ps) which is producing the Palestinian version of Sesame Street.