Why not declare Palestine’s statehood?
I recently asked a former official of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) why the Palestinians don’t simply declare the territory they control a state as they have long aspired to do. The so-called peace talks with Israel aren’t going anywhere, the current US administration has no interest in trying to mediate peace between the two sides. And, with the United States out of the picture, there is no one else in a position to apply pressure on Israel.
“We have,” said the official. “In fact, we have declared Palestine a state on several occasions.”
“No interest from the international community.”
The Palestinians declared their independence in 1988. Then there was an attempt to be recognised by the UN Security Council in 2012. However, the only state to emerge seems to be one of confusion.
The Palestinians have been lingering in a political twilight zone, wandering in international limbo, existing in a state of despair but still without a state, proper.
By and large this has been the case since 1948 when Israel was created and British Mandate Palestine ceased to exist. Along with the creation of the Jewish state came one of the world’s largest refugee problems and a political climate that would pave the way for the mayhem that permeates the region today.
What is the correlation between the Palestinian issue and the wars being waged in Syria and Iraq? A number of Arab leaders, such as Syria’s, for example, continued to rule through martial law and states of emergency, claiming the country was still at war.
The Israeli-Palestinian dispute has contributed — indirectly — to the precarious political situation that persists across the region. There was a time in the Middle East when the Palestinian cause was considered sacred to all Arabs.
That was before civil wars erupted in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen — the four most pro-Palestinian countries in the Arab world. Their preoccupation with more pressing matters at home further secluded the Palestinians in their quest for support as they pressed for statehood.
In the absence of the state, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is supposed to rule over the territories. But that is in principle. The PA is supposed to rule over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but the reality is quite different as the PA holds very little authority. The West Bank remains under Israeli military occupation and the Gaza Strip is in the control of Hamas and under Israel political, military and economic siege.
The Palestinians should have by now reached the point of statehood but at every hint that the PA might declare the formation of a Palestinian state, Israel objects, the United States intervenes in Israel’s favour and the world community turns a blind eye once again as more injustice unfolds.
Given the socio-political and economic situations in the territories for the Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation, the ingredients are there for confrontation. Periodically the pot boils over and another intifada breaks out. It would appear that the Palestinian territories have reached that point once again.
As the reality of the bleak future for Palestinians that lies ahead is compounded with practically no possibility or prospect for advancement in their society, no real job opportunities other than menial ones, the climate becomes ripe for violence. At that point all that’s missing is a trigger, which is inevitably coming.
The current situation, compiled with mistreatment and humiliation suffered by Palestinians at Israeli checkpoints, provides more ingredients to throw into the pot of discontent. Now sit back and watch the pot boil over.