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In his op-ed to The New York Times on May 16, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the world in no uncertain terms that Palestinian statehood and UN recognition would not end the conflict:
Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.
But no one seemed to notice that this admission contradicts the core argument for Palestinian statehood: The Palestinians are fighting for their state, so they have told the world, for their political self-determination, for their national self-realization; so the creation of a Palestinian state is the way to end the conflict.
Now we have a new iteration of this rather awkward contradiction in the words of the Palestinian Authority’s ambassador to Lebanon in an interview with the Lebanese English language newspaper, the Daily Star:
When we have a state accepted as a member of the United Nations, this is not the end of the conflict. This is not a solution to the conflict. This is only a new framework that will change the rules of the game.
And still no one seems to notice the contradiction here.
But in addition to telling the world that even after the so-called Palestinian people have their state they will continue the conflict, Ambassador Abdullah Abdullah went on to say that:
…Palestinian refugees would not become citizens of the sought for U.N.-recognized Palestinian state, an issue that has been much discussed. “They are Palestinians, that’s their identity,” he says. “But … they are not automatically citizens.”
This would not only apply to refugees in countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Jordan or the other 132 countries where Abdullah says Palestinians reside. Abdullah said that “even Palestinian refugees who are living in [refugee camps] inside the [Palestinian] state, they are still refugees. They will not be considered citizens.”
The Palestinian Liberation Organization would remain responsible for refugees, and Abdullah says that UNRWA would continue its work as usual.
What an incredible irony. For years, the world has supported the concept of a Palestinian state, and forgiven the endless relentless Palestinian terrorism, on the grounds that Palestinians are stateless people who deserve a country of their own. And now, a senior Palestinian official has announced that once they have received a state, most Palestinians will still be stateless – even those who actually live in “Palestine.” Moreover, the new state won’t provide these residents with any services: It expects UNRWA – or, more accurately, the American and European taxpayers, who provide the bulk of that organization’s funding – to continue providing their schooling, healthcare, welfare allowances, etc. So almost half of all the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will not be citizens of the state that demands to be created in order for these same people to have a state.
It is beyond incredible that a senior Palestinian Authority official feels free to express openly this utterly transparent hypocrisy. The leaders of the Palestinian Authority are abrogating their own supposedly “sacred right of return” (haq el-auwda), their hitherto uncompromisable demand, canonized in the UN umpteen times since 1949, for the end to the statelessness of the so-called “Palestinian refugees.” That which they have demanded for the last 60 years as a non-negotiable concession from Israel they now nullify with one sentence, and with no explanation, by refusing to offer it to their own.
Even the most obdurately blind to the real intentions of the Palestinian Authority cannot close their eyes to the transparent intentions expressed in this Machiavellian statement of rejection.
Palestinian leaders are not demanding a state so that they can have their “long-denied homeland” for their poor suffering “Palestinian refugees,” all those millions of people who languish in the exile of their so-called “Palestinian Diaspora.” If they were, they could not now deny to some that right that they have so vociferously and self-righteously demanded from Israel.
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