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Islam and Politics ( 31 Dec 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Why Palestinians Opposed Abbas's Statehood Bid




By Khaled Abu Toameh

December 31, 2014

It is ironic that while Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas worked hard to win the support of the international community for his statehood bid at the UN Security Council, he failed to persuade many Palestinians to back his move.

Palestinians representing various factions, including Abbas's own Fatah faction, publicly came out against the draft resolution that was presented by Jordan at the U.N. earlier this week, and which failed to pass a Security Council vote yesterday.

Their main argument is that the resolution compromises the rights of the Palestinians and includes concessions to Israel that are unacceptable to most Palestinians.

The fierce opposition to the resolution shows that Abbas does not have a mandate from his people to embark on such a move. Abbas's critics accuse him and a number of his advisors of "hijacking" the decision-making process and acting on their own.

Fatah and PLO leaders say they were never consulted about the resolution, which calls for setting a timeline for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.

Jamal Muheissen, member of the Fatah Central Committee, said that he and his colleagues learned about the draft resolution from the internet. They argue that Abbas and his top advisors had never presented the resolution to PLO and Fatah leaders before submitting it to the Security Council.

Several Palestinian factions even called on Abbas to withdraw the resolution from the Security Council -- an appeal that fell on deaf ears.

Hours after the resolution was submitted to the Security Council in New York on Monday, six Palestinian groups issued an urgent appeal to Abbas to withdraw immediately, claiming it compromises Palestinian rights on refugees, prisoners, Jerusalem and borders.

The Palestinian groups that issued the appeal against the resolution are: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Popular Front-General Command and Al-Sai'qa.

These groups are opposed to the resolution not only because of the purported concessions it offers on the issues of refugees, prisoners, Jerusalem and borders, but also because it calls for a resumption of peace talks with Israel under the auspices of the US. "We are opposed to a return to the path of 'futile' negotiations," the groups said in a joint statement. "Our people have the right to pursue resistance in all forms."

Some Palestinians vowed to work toward thwarting the resolution; saying they would not allow Abbas and a few Palestinian officials in Ramallah to "turn their back on a majority of Palestinians."

Hassan Asfour, a former Palestinian Authority minister and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, advised Abbas to "throw the ominous resolution to the nearest wastebasket."

Asfour added: "There's still a chance for President Abbas to return to his people before it's too late. It's time for Abbas to return to the national oath he made to defend the homeland and the legitimacy of the Palestinian cause."

Other Palestinians have accused Abbas of "high treason" for submitting a resolution that does not meet the national aspirations of the Palestinians and offers "far-reaching and dangerous" concessions to Israel.

Palestinian political analyst Fayez Abu Shamalah called for a commission of inquiry to hold those behind the resolution accountable.

"The unclear nature of the resolution represents political treason at the highest level," he charged. "The Palestinians have been deceived."

The widespread opposition among Palestinians to Abbas's statehood bid at the Security Council is a clear sign that many Palestinians remain opposed to any form of concessions to Israel. It is also an indication of fierce opposition among Palestinians to the resumption of peace talks with Israel.

Those who opposed the Palestinian resolution also argue that Abbas should have gone instead to the International Criminal Court to file "war crimes" charges against Israel. For many Palestinians, punishing Israel should take priority over any peaceful establishment of a Palestinian state.

But the opposition to the resolution, which envisaged a two-state solution, also shows that many Palestinians continue to believe that violence, and not diplomacy, will bring them closer to achieving their goals.

As Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar put it, "This Palestinian resolution is catastrophic and has no future on the land of Palestine. The future belongs to the resistance. We will continue to work to liberate all the land and achieve the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Hamas will not accept anything less than all the lands that were occupied in 1948."