Al Quds al Arabi
It was with a sigh of relief that we watched Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announce that he is going to the UN Security Council to obtain membership for an independent State of Palestine on the borders of June 1967. This, he said, is a legitimate right to end "historical injustices" against the Palestinian people.
That relief was because we were afraid that last minute pressure exerted by American envoys led by Dennis Ross – well known for his desperate defence of Israeli interests – would force President Abbas to step back from a move which has been at the centre of his policies over the past ten months. The hopes of a nation rose.
The pressures on the president are enormous, including threats to suspend financial assistance, the end of diplomatic support, perhaps even the further deployment of the Israeli killing machine in the occupied Palestinian territories. Standing firm must not be easy.
Nevertheless, we understand that some people have reservations, especially the fear that Palestinian constants such as the right of return and occupied Jerusalem, will be lost. Such concerns are legitimate, but that must not prevent Abbas from exploring all possible means to achieve gains for the Palestinian people, no matter how small, as long as principles are not compromised.
Quite simply, the Palestinian Authority wants to internationalise the Palestinian cause again after it had lost hope due to Israeli procrastination and deception. So too has the PA despaired of the US administration's empty talk about the desired peace based on negotiation between the two parties to the conflict.
Negotiations are associated in the minds of the Palestinian people with Israel's illegal settlements, house demolitions, land confiscation and building the apartheid wall. Negotiations have become synonymous with humiliation in the face of unbearable Israeli arrogance.
US President Barack Obama disappointed the Arabs when he used deceptive talk about peace when he first took office. He numbed Palestinian expectations by talking about an independent state, just as George W. Bush did twice, first to justify his attack on Afghanistan under the guise of the war on terrorism, and second the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
By going to the Security Council the PA's move is not only a challenge for the Obama administration, which has threatened to use it's veto, but is also a reminder to the world of its responsibilities to obtain justice for a people who have been suffering for more than sixty years. Palestinians look to establish their state on all of their own territory, a state which will be free of all racism and discrimination. If the world still has a humanitarian conscience, the result of the move to the UN is a foregone conclusion. However, things are never that simple, so that's a very big "if".