The joke of Palestinian statehood

What can be done with one fifth of a homeland, a quarter of a nation and half an authority? Can they add up to a functional state? This question is probably running through the mind of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as he heads to the United Nations Security Council today, Friday, to submit a bid for Palestinian statehood.

Abbas, known locally as Abu Mazen, is responsible for conspiracies against his own people that surpass any imperialist ploys. He has showered Israel with countless concessions on just about every major issue of negotiation, and has outsmarted brokers with his ability to sell his own cause and his people. Now, Abu Mazen intends to go to a senile United Nations, with the support of a dilapidated Arab League, to ask for recognition of a quasi-state of Palestine.

Notwithstanding the opposition of Israel and the United States to the Palestinian statehood bid, there are legitimate reasons not to support it. The Palestinian state-to-be will encompass only 20 percent of the land of historic Palestine and will exclude Palestinian refugees, who have a legally-enshrined right to return to their homeland, leaving their fate hanging in the air. Vaguely-worded agreements will offer refugees no assurances.

If recognized, Abu Mazen's new Palestinian state will replace the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole representative of Palestinians before the international community. The PLO’s long-standing principle of equal representation of Palestinians living inside and outside of historic Palestine will be brought to an end. Palestinians living in the diaspora will risk losing their access to representation at the United Nations and their ability to advocate for their inalienable rights. 

Abu Mazen’s state will foreclose any possibility of full Palestinian liberation and the establishment of a democratic state in historic Palestine. It will lead to a demographic squeeze as Palestinians will be crammed within the confines of state that does not have the necessary resources, like water, for survival. 

The Palestinian bid for statehood is a silly joke, told by an authority that has lost most of its supporters. Neither Fatah nor Hamas have worked seriously enough for the creation of a Palestinian state. Fatah is still reveling in its past glories and has not offered Palestinians any promise for the future. And Hamas has turned resistance into an arms dealing business. Whether it succeeds or not, Abu Mazen’s statehood bid should be rejected by Palestinians. The best it can achieve is a quasi-state that does not enjoy full sovereignty over its land, borders or natural resources.

The Palestinian people's legitimate aspirations for freedom and self-determination appear destined to be postponed. There will be no state for Abu Mazen, his aides, or rivals. There will be no state in September.


Khodor Salameh is a Lebanese journalist and blogger. He blogs at http://jou3an.wordpress.com/

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