Putting Palestine back on the agenda

Dissolving the Palestinian Authority and returning daily control to Israel would be an action nobody could ignore. It is not at all similar to a demonstration in front of the Municipality of Ramallah, nor is it similar to appealing to the United Nations for member-state status. This is a step that only you can take, and a step that will demand a response.

I know how difficult it is. I know how many tens of thousands of people depend on the Palestinian Authority for their livelihoods. I am able to appreciate all that you and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have accomplished – establishing Palestinian institutions, growing an economy in impossible conditions, and fostering security in the West Bank.

After all these endeavors, however, you still need to beg the government of Israel to release your money from customs, you still need to beg the Republicans in the U.S. Congress to transfer funds to the Palestinian Authority, and you still need to stand, day after day, before your Palestinian critics and explain why your political efforts are failing. Please don’t let this be the way you end your political mission – a mission that seeks to achieve Palestinian independence without the use of violence.

Do not hesitate for a moment! Do not accept the request of President Obama, who merely wants to be left undisturbed before election day. Do not let Prime Minister Netanyahu hide behind the fig leaf of the Palestinian Authority – impose upon him, once again, the responsibility for the fate of 4 million Palestinians. Remain as the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which will give you the authority to lead the political negotiations if and when they resume.

But for the sake of your own people, and for the sake of peace, you cannot let this farce continue.

After that call for action, Abbas told an unofficial Israeli delegation which included Beilin that he was not prepared to wait until after the U.S. presidential election in November and was prepared to rock Obama’s boat. What might that mean?

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is about to meet with Netanyahu and will hand him a letter which will lay out Palestinian positions for an agreement with Israel and give him, Netanyahu, one month to respond positively. If he does not respond positively, the letter will say, Abbas will resume the process of seeking to obtain UN recognition of a Palestinian state.

Momentum on that front could be seriously embarrassing for Obama because it could lead to him having to veto UN recognition of a Palestinian state in the final countdown to the November election. (I can almost hear Obama administration officials saying to Abbas something like, “If you wait until after the president is re-elected, there will not be an American veto).

During his meeting with the unofficial Israeli delegation Abbas confirmed that his officials have discussed dismantling the Palestinian Authority and said that the issue will arise again if the process of seeking to obtain UN recognition of a Palestinian state is resumed.

Could that mean that Abbas will be ready and willing to dismantle the PA in the event of an American veto of UN recognition of a Palestinian state and/or Netanyahu’s confirmation by default that Israel is not remotely interested in peace on any terms acceptable to the Palestinians?

I hope so.

If Abbas does agree to end the farce and dismantle the PA, how would be the Palestinians be represented after the impotent and discredited institution had been put out of its misery?

Short answer, by bringing back to life the Palestine National Council, re-invigorated by elections to it in every place on Planet Earth where Palestinians are living.

In my view dismantling the PA would put Palestine back on the agenda and a re-invigorated PNC could and would keep it there.

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