News |   Obits |   Sports |   Business |   Opinion |   Things to Do |   Life |   Blogs |   Photos |   Video |   Data |   Jobs |   Homes |   Autos |   Buy/Sell


Palestinian leader's path to statehood is a dangerous road to nowhere

  • Follow Opinion columns

This week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas intends to propose a resolution requesting admission for a Palestinian state to the United Nations. Refusing to return to direct negotiations with Israel,
Abbas has chosen instead to pursue a unilateral declaration of independence, ceasing all efforts to reach an agreement through negotiations.

Unfortunately, if Abbas goes ahead with
his plan at the United Nations, no one will
suffer more than the Palestinian people themselves.

BY UNILATERALLY circumventing bilateral negotiations – over the strong objections of the Obama administration and both houses of Congress, as well as many leaders around the world – Abbas has chosen the easy road. It’s no real achievement to pass a resolution at the United Nations, which is biased against Israel since there is an automatic majority in the U.N. General Assembly for any resolution initiated by the Palestinians and the Arab League, no matter how counterproductive.

Unfortunately for the Palestinian people, this path also is a road to nowhere. Palestinian political leaders might get the symbolic victory they seek, but daily life for the Palestinian people won’t change for the better. On the contrary, it might just get worse.

As the single largest contributor of aid to Palestinians, the U.S. Congress has issued a serious warning that financial assistance may be in jeopardy if Abbas persists, which should cause concern. Indeed, some high-level Palestinian officials, including the current and former prime ministers, Salam Fayyad and Ahmed Qureia, have questioned Abbas’ tactics.

THEIR CONCERNS ARE echoed in the nongovernmental organization world, where Ziad J. Asali, founder of the prominent American Task Force on Palestine, warned of the negative repercussions Abbas’ plan might have. A longtime advocate for Palestinian rights, Asali warned in The Washington Post that “a potentially dangerous confrontation looms in September over the
question of Palestinian statehood, one that threatens significant negative consequences for all parties.”

Completely disregarding these warnings by trusted Palestinian leaders, Abbas is determined to continue on this destructive path.

While Abbas has claimed that his U.N. bid is a campaign for the Palestinian people, a poll conducted over the summer by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg and the Palestinian Center for Public Opinions, showed that a mere 4 percent of Palestinians considered a unilateral declaration a top priority.

Unsurprisingly, job creation was their main concern – something that will be much harder to address if the United States is forced to pull its funding. In 2010, people took notice of the Palestinian economy’s high growth rate of 9 percent, but that number depended heavily on foreign aid.

The dangers of a unilateral declaration of independence aren’t solely monetary. Abbas has called on Palestinians to gather in the streets in protest. Although he has called for nonviolent resistance, Abbas may be starting a fire he can’t contain.

With backing from Syria and Iran, we already have witnessed two violent provocations against Israel this past year. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is known for meddling in international affairs, and he’s called the unilateral Palestinian declaration just the first step in the effort to wipe Israel off the map.

ABBAS MIGHT COME home from the United Nations with a statehood resolution of some kind, but it will be a hollow victory. Imagine what could have been accomplished if Abbas had been willing to hold bilateral, substantive talks with his Israeli counterparts over the past year.

Ultimately, a negotiated agreement is the only way to resolve the conflict. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has recognized the fundamental right of the Palestinian people to a state of their own, has repeatedly expressed his willingness to negotiate all issues without pre-conditions.

Abbas should change course to leave a legacy of peace and independence for his people.

(The writer is executive director of the Augusta Jewish Federation and Community Center.)

Comments (6) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Brad Owens
4110
Points
Brad Owens 09/18/11 - 04:26 am
0
0
Mr. Ronen, Where do I begin

Mr. Ronen,

Where do I begin on this wonderful peice of propaganda and fear mongering?

First, a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) may be the ONLY choice the Palestinian people have given the oppressive nature of the Israeli government policies that have been put in place against them.

They are not equal citizens and live under a perverted form of Apartheid that everyone seems to be blind to except those Palestinians suffereing under it.

There is only one truth despite what your Psychology professor may have told you, and your letter doesn't address any of the problems causing this UDI to happen.

You claim Netanyahu has "recognized the fundamental right of the Palestinian people to a state of their own" and has "repeatedly expressed his willingness to negotiate all issues without pre-conditions." yet this option of complete freedom for the Palestinians is NOT an option? Maybe Netanyahu is lying through his teeth and has no intention of allowing two states. I mean is it unheard of for a politician to lie? Saying it and doing it are two different things, and actions always trump words.

Also, when writing a letter of obvious bias at least leave out the duplicitous arguments where in one sentence you smite the Palestinians for not bowing to international pressure while calling Iran and Syria’s support for their cause “meddling.”

The way I see it, if the U.S. foreign policy towards this situation is, do what Israel wants or we will cut off all aid, then we don't REALLY want a fair soultion now do we? We want Israel to have all the power and the Palestinians to be good serfs.

Also, if we were giving the aid for the right reasons, to help the people who need it (I mean this is not like the billions in military aid and weapons we give to the Israel each year, this is humanitarian aid to make sure Israel doesn't starve out the Palestinians). Why are the Palestinians in need of that much help anyway? I mean I hear about how “1st World” Israel is, then why does such a large group need so much help?

And when the aid is funneled through the Israeli giverment, isn’t that yet another form of direct control they have over this group of people?

Now, before I hear all the typical propaganda blather about “terrorist” and “security” let me say, that is not the issue now is it? This letter is about how if UDI is declared it will mean even more harsh treatment for the Palestinians and that the U.S. will cut off aid. How do we know that and how can Israel have the power in OUR congress to force a drastic action like a freeze on life saving humanitarian aid?

I think we had best let Israel and the Palestinians sort out their own problems without trying to force a capitulation by the Palestinians.

The time has come for America to live up to the expectations of freedom seeking peoples around the world by taking an even handed approach to this issue and not making threats against folks that seem to only want their freedom.

I have been pro-Israel my whole life and I still am, but there has to be some fairness and equality in our foreign policy. We as Americans cannot accept things that go against our core values and beliefs of freedom and self-determination for individuals. Israel is wrong in the way it treats and subjugates the Palestinians. Period. end of story, it is WRONG! It is high time we had an even hand on this issue.

And one last thing, there is no right or wrong in propaganda, on effective and ineffective; given the feelings of absolute support the average American has towards Israel and the general negative opinions they have for Palestinians, I can only leave it to you to figure out who is winning that fight.

There is only ONE truth,

Brad

Brad Owens
4110
Points
Brad Owens 09/18/11 - 04:33 am
0
0
P.S. I support Israel and

P.S. I support Israel and it's right to exist, and I do not support terrorist attacks or use of violence against non-combatants as a means for Palestinians to gain their freedom.

Riverman1
79726
Points
Riverman1 09/18/11 - 06:52 am
0
0
Brad, what you say about the

Brad, what you say about the truth is the truth, but there's also a reality. Israel will continue to expand until they control all of the mideast and they will keep the Arabs in check as they do inside Israel today. The Arabs will be quasi citizens without the right to complain or protest just as they are managed in Israel today.

Israeli government and judicial systems in accordance with Hebrew Law will be created to govern the 100 million Muslims. The 7 million Jews will elect governors for the conquered states. After the mideast is brought under their control they can begin to look at India with all those Hindus. It's the only way to control matters.

Little Lamb
44008
Points
Little Lamb 09/18/11 - 08:55 am
0
0
Leah Ronen wrote: Abbas has

Leah Ronen wrote:

Abbas has chosen instead to pursue a unilateral declaration of independence. . . . Palestinian political leaders might get the symbolic victory they seek, but daily life for the Palestinian people won’t change for the better. On the contrary, it might just get worse. As the single largest contributor of aid to Palestinians, the U.S. Congress has issued a serious warning that financial assistance may be in jeopardy if Abbas persists, which should cause concern.

What might happen is no reason not to proceed. You have to act on what you believe to be right, regardless of what might happen later. And if the only downside is a hollow “warning” from the U.S. Congress, then full steam ahead, Mr. Abbas.

Jake
31699
Points
Jake 09/18/11 - 11:16 am
0
0
I like Brad's editorial

I like Brad's editorial better.

Little Lamb
44008
Points
Little Lamb 09/18/11 - 08:58 pm
0
0
I wonder what Abbas' proposed

I wonder what Abbas' proposed map of the new Palestinian State looks like? I'd like to see where he draws the borders. Do you thing the U.S. will veto the resolution in the Security Council?

Brad Owens
4110
Points
Brad Owens 09/19/11 - 12:10 pm
0
0
Robertson, Please feel free

Robertson,

Please feel free to post some "facts" to un-pervert us.

Brad

Back to Top

Top headlines

Frazier retires after demotion

Long-time Richmond County principal Wayne Frazier, known for his unorthodox approach to school reform, submitted his resignation Wednesday after being demoted to a teacher this summer.
Search Augusta jobs