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29 February 2020 - 11:06
News ID: 449352
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In January, US President Donald Trump launched the current diplomatic flurry when he presented his vision for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

RNA - Although he claimed to support a Palestinian state, the plan was clear that Palestinian sovereignty would be severely circumscribed. Not only would the Palestinian state be demilitarized, the regime of Israel would control the Jordan Valley as well as all security-related matters.

The plan has received little public support. Iran, the Arab League, the African Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have all denounced it. But the US has refused to back down. Tunisia planned to submit a draft resolution to the UN criticizing the plan, but was warned off doing so when the US said it would damage relations between the two countries.

In between, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has come up with his own plan. He has both condemned the Trump plan while also putting forward his own path to peace. However, in both cases Abbas has faced obstacles, whether from American opposition to the proposed UN draft resolution or from the relatively static international state system.

Abbas's suggestion is in line with previous Palestinian efforts to widen talks and to prevent the US from monopolizing the process. The appeal will find support from some countries, which have also suggested a similar route. But it's not clear how committed they will be to doing so.

As for other UN members, it's not clear that either the EU or the UN will take up the Palestinian call for an international conference either. The EU is currently vague over its position on the Trump plan and has yet to take a definitive position.

In addition, neither the US nor Israel looks likely to accept the proposal. The US reaction to Tunisia's draft resolution only shows that it is unwilling to accept any challenge to its status. Similarly, Israel's leaders won't welcome widening the process: not only have they got what they wanted from Trump, but they see the UN as predisposed against it.

All this exposes the limitations of Abbas's strategy. For several decades, the Palestinian leadership has pursued internationalization. It has sought diplomatic recognition for the Palestinian state by other states and in international organizations like the UN, UNESCO and the International Criminal Court. The assumption is that if Palestine is a state then other states will be obliged to defend it against Israel.

Already 70 percent of the world's states recognize Palestinian statehood and have done little to directly challenge Israel's occupation. As for membership of international organizations, despite joining the ICC in 2015, the Court has yet to open a case against any individual for war crimes perpetrated against Palestinians.

If internationalization isn't the solution to the Palestinians' plight, what is the way forward? For one, the Palestinians have been earning a fast growing military power that includes the know-how for developing and manufacturing rockets and missiles throughout the last two decades. Couple of years ago, the Palestinians fired tens of rockets in two months, but in the last battle that ended in the collapse of the Zionist government and early elections, they fired hundreds of rockets and missiles in just two days. Ever since then, Israel has failed to form a government and is getting more and more divided and confused each day.

Meantime, Palestinians and their supporters should also put more efforts in economic pressure through the global boycott-divestment-sanction (BDS) movement, which has campaigned for action against those parts of the Israeli economy and business interests which are connected to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory, including the illegal settlements based in the West Bank.

According to Fars News Agency, to that end the BDS has partnered with solidarity groups in other countries, especially North America and Europe, to pressure governments and businesses to stop support for Israel's occupation and discrimination of Palestinians and their rights.

For Abbas to embrace and focus on military resistance-BDS approach would be a substantial shift in Palestinian action. It would mean recognizing the failure of the internationalization strategy as well as accepting resistance and a grassroots initiative, which has emerged largely independent of the so-called self-rule authority leadership. Here, the example of South Africa and the end of apartheid is worth noting.

If done, then Abbas would join influential Palestinian comrades in the Gaza Strip, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to stand united for an end goal which is a referendum proposed by Iran in which all Palestinians, including Muslims, Jews and Christians, would be able to determine a single government determine their fate under one rule and one unitary state.

After the US Deal of the Century scheme and the treason shown by main Arab backers to the Self-Rule Authority, Abbas and Fatah Movement have been left with no other option, but to join others in the Resistance Front; this is no more a matter of if, but a matter of when they will come to grasp the reality and prove pragmatic rather than pinning hope on fantasies.

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