Monday, September 5, 2011

Abbas to NY Times: All of Israel is Under Occupation

Hmm...river to the sea. I like the sound of that.
The Elder of Ziyon was quick to point out the most telling statement made by Mahmoud Abbas in an interview with Ethan Bronner in the NY Times today,  Abbas Affirms Palestinian Bid at UN:

“Some Israelis complain that this (UN bid) is a unilateral move, but when you address 193 countries, that is not unilateral,” he said. “We are going to complain that as Palestinians we have been under occupation for 63 years.”

As Elder says, "If Israel has been occupying their land since its birth in 1948, doesn't that make Israel illegitimate?" In other words, has Bronner allowed Abbas to roll back the date of the contested terrain to Israel's legitimization by the UN in 1948 so that all of Israel is now in dispute? Will this now pass into public consciousness as the real issue at hand -- from the river to the sea -- with not even a boo from the NY Times? 

A clue to how the 'official' terms are still mutable is found in a much-ballyhooed document – Towards New Strategies for the Palestinian Liberation Movement -- purporting to show how reasoned and sober is the thought process behind the UN bid, especially regarding the decision to dispense with violent resistance (for now). The tell in this document prepared by the Palestine Strategy Group (PSG) is a summary of acceptable scenarios "to many or most" Palestinians:

“1. A fully sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, and a just settlement that fulfils the Palestinian refugees’ right to return and compensation.
“2. A single bi-national state for Israelis and Palestinians.
“3. A single democratic state in which all citizens are treated equally before the law.
“4. A confederation between Jordan and an independent Palestinian state.

“There is virtual agreement among PSG members that scenario (1) is the immediate national strategic goal - together with the achievement of equal rights for Palestinians living in Israel and an early lifting of the siege of Gaza. Some PSG members ultimately prefer scenarios (2) or (3), but there is a readiness to unite behind (1) so long as it remains the case that it is the most feasible scenario and the one that receives the most international support. There is agreement that, at the end of the day, the final decision must be subject to a general national referendum whose outcome is accepted by all the concerned political
parties and players.”

Note how the River to the Sea scenario is still open for consideration, and this from 50 Palestinian elders -- very highly placed members of the Palestinian establishment, eg, former Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath, Naser al-Kidwa, a former Palestinian observer at the United Nations, Fatah Deputy Secretary General and Communications Minister Sabri Saydam, and former economics minister and businessman Mazen Sinokrot. 

You can read the entire report by linking to Bernard Avishai's blog. He is selling it as a huge advance -- what the 'educated center' is thinking. Akiva Eldar, at Haaretz, has bought it hook, line and sinker. 

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