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Go on, Abbas; dissolve the Palestinian Authority

May 4, 2014 at 3:54 pm

The fierce attack by Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, is reminiscent of the assault (in every sense) launched by Ariel Sharon against the late President Yasser Arafat leading up to his death after a long siege of his headquarters in Ramallah. The Israeli charges are the same, including being an “obstacle” to the peace process.

According to Lieberman, President Abbas is “not a man of peace [and he] works against Israel in the international arena”; furthermore, claims the Russian-born extreme right-winger, Abbas is the worst leader Israel could find itself in front of. “He threatens to hand over the keys, and we hope he does because his successor will be better.”

This vicious attack against the PA President follows his strong speech at the UN General Assembly in September and his insistence on applying for membership of the UN for an independent State of Palestine. Abbas has rejected all US and Israeli pressure to back down and return to direct negotiations on Israel’s terms.

Lieberman wants to turn the role of the Palestinian president into an employee at his Foreign Ministry, to carry out his commands. If the incumbent doesn’t play ball, suddenly he’s not a man of peace and must leave his office immediately to be replaced by a suitably complaint puppet prepared to dance to the tune of Israel’s right-wing extremist government.

One suspects that the Job Description preferred by Lieberman and his Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is that the president of the Palestinian Authority must applaud Israeli settlements in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem; return to the absurdity of negotiations, without any guarantees of reaching an independent Palestinian state on the borders of June 1967; and waive all Palestinian national constants, including the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Lieberman’s ethical and political terror campaign has not materialised out of thin air; he voices the thoughts of Netanyahu and the far-right coalition which runs Israel with direct support from the Obama administration. We viewed Obama’s election as a positive sign, but his mission now appears to be limited to defending Israeli settlements and fighting against the Palestinian people at every turn. This has included the threat to use the veto in the Security Council to block the UN membership bid and, lately, to cut off funding from UNESCO if the UN agency agrees to Palestinian membership.

Apparently, President Mahmoud Abbas is considering an emergency meeting of the Palestinian National Council and other PLO institutions to announce the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority in response to American and Israeli intransigence which rejects peace and supports illegal settlements. We hope that this is indeed what Abbas is considering, because the Palestinian people have not gained anything from the so-called peace process over twenty post-Oslo years.

The Palestinians are now a people who have to beg for international aid while the Israelis loot their homeland, steal their water and humiliate their people and leadership. This is the ultimate shame while the Arab Spring is flourishing elsewhere in the region, overthrowing corrupt dictatorships and restoring national and individual dignity.

President Abbas is the last of the historic ‘old school’ leaders of the Fatah movement and the PLO, and he really must go ahead and dissolve the PA. This would not only announce officially the failure of the peace process but also put an end to the deception practiced by Israel and the United States for twenty years in the name of the said process.

Dissolution of the Palestinian Authority should not be used as a bargaining chip or tactic to improve the negotiation terms or obtain symbolic recognition of the State of Palestine at the United Nations. It is a serious step resulting from deep conviction of the failure of the negotiation strategy; it would signal a return Palestine’s other options, especially resistance to the Israeli occupation; and it would put the onus on Israel to fulfil its obligations as an occupying power.

The decision could well be the most important of Mahmoud Abbas’s political career. We urge him to do it. Go on, Abbas, dissolve the Palestinian Authority.

Source: Al-Quds Al-Arabi Opinion