Sunday, September 18, 2011

Palestine's Revolution

While Arab leaders scramble to keep their populations away from the revolution and uprising fever that has hit the region, the Palestinian leadership is leading its people into a different kind of revolt. It is armed with diplomacy and a focused intent to apply for full United Nations membership this week despite outcries and protests by some of the world’s most vocal powers.

We’re witnessing a new Arab struggle for recognition very different from what the term “Palestinian struggle” conjures up in the collective mind of the world. The image of Yasser Arafat addressing the United Nations in 1974 in military garb, his symbolic checkered headdress and a gun holster on his side is long gone. An older, much more common Palestinian diplomat has been at the helm of the Palestinian quest for independence since 2004. President Mahmoud Abbas might not be the most popular Palestinian figure but he certainly has proved to be the most effective in drawing the world’s attention and sympathy.

For the first time in 63 years of the Palestinian search for statehood, the world is agitated for the most part in support of Abbas and his bid for full UN recognition of an independent “Palestine” in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza; the lands captured by Israel in the six-day-war of 1967.
The fact that Abbas chose the Security Council route over a safer request to the General Assembly is proof that the Palestinian leader means business. He will be requesting an official recognition into the world body despite a sure veto by the United States and despite Israeli outcries echoed by the United States, some European nations and even Arab pundits who oppose the move. The Arab League is standing in full support of the bid. In a statement, Arab foreign ministers vowed to “take all necessary measures and to rally needed support of all world countries, starting with members of the security council, to recognize the state of Palestine.”

The fact is that Mahmoud Abbas is going to the Security Council knowing very well that despite the almost guaranteed veto there, the General Assembly will likely grant his request for an upgrade in status to member state. This move causes a major military concern for Israel, as it will give the Palestinians control over their air space and waters off its Gaza shores. Both are now completely under Israeli Air Force and naval control. A Palestinian membership into the International Criminal Court is also part of that equation.

Meantime, Palestinians seem to think that they have nothing to lose by their move. Quite the contrary, it seems that they already feel empowered, determined and focused on their goal. Judging by the world’s reaction and what will happen at the UN this week, Palestinians could achieve the first significant step towards their goal of an independent state and they would have done it with their own merit. This United Nations move by President Mahmoud Abbas and his diplomatic body is the result of years of peaceful steadfast work, consistent positive nation building and a steady message of non-violence that has gathered many Israelis and Palestinians around it. A very different approach towards statehood from what the Arafat years brought and what Hamas has demonstrated through its history.

Now we watch as history unfolds at the United Nations. It is said that in war it is important to know one’s enemy. Would knowing your friends be the Palestinian president’s label for peace?

This is a momentous week for Palestinians. They are about to find out their true friends and learn whether their diplomatic revolution will achieve an important first step towards their lifetime dream.


Keep the conversation going...

Anonymous Anonymous said...


October 7, 2011 at 2:59 PM  

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