USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Rima Merriman: Abbas is far from the ‘right and moral point’

Posted by uscsjp on January 31, 2007

At the Davos World Economic Forum recently, the Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas accurately summarized the terrible state of the Palestinians in the occupied territories, the economic siege and resulting deprivation inflicted upon them, the segmentation, the Israeli theft of Palestinian land and resources, and the daily humiliations they must endure.

Nevertheless, he avowed that he was optimistic, based, apparently, on the strength of his last meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister: “I have recently had a good conference with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, during which we talked very frankly about several issues, and it was agreed that Israel will carry on certain procedures that will alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.”

It’s really hard to understand the source of Abbas’s expressed optimism. He has no power whatsoever to achieve anything in his present capacity without, in his words, “a behind-the-scenes international conduit”, which is not even on the horizon.

But the most telling factor that evokes skepticism in Abbas’s optimism is his implicit acceptance of the spurious Israeli point of view regarding the reasons behind the stalling of progress in the peace process these past many years (Palestinian terrorism). Also appaling is his misreading of Israeli’s new administrative procedures as signs of good intentions, when they are clearly and simply meant to entrench and streamline the occupation by providing such mundane things as special privileges to some and special permits to others.

The chasm between Abbas’s vision of a peaceful resolution to the conflict and the “hopeful” signs he has read into Olmert’s administrative manipulations of the status quo is astounding in its enormity. Abbas is careful to describe his oft-announced vision as one that “must end with the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza within the 1967 borders, an independent state that lives in security and peace with all its neighbors, including Israel, and with finding a fair and negotiated resolution for the Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN resolution 194.” It’s a vision that, were the Israelis even remotely ready to grant from their position of authority and power, Abbas would have absolutely no problem selling tomorrow to any and all Palestinian factions and to Palestinians in the diaspora and to the entire Arab and Muslim world. (continued . . . )

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