No 1223 Posted by fw, January 6, 2015
“I think what people should take away from this soap opera at the United Nations is that Palestinians are not going to get justice from Obama, they’re not going to get justice from Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren or whoever next might be coming down the line, they’re not going to get it from the U.N., and they’re not going to get it from the European Union, which continues to arm Israel to commit massacres against Palestinians.… One thing people should take away from this is that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement has never been more necessary, never been more legitimate, and never been more urgent to put an end to this regime of apartheid and terror, which the United States and its allies continue to support in Palestine against millions of Palestinian people.” —Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada
Never boring, respected Palestinian American journalist Ali Abunimah gives a caustic, penetrating assessment of the latest developments in the ongoing Palestinian struggle for justice – i.e., the UN Security Council vote and the Palestinian Authority’s request to join the International Criminal Court (ICC). His biting rebuke of Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority may surprise some. He also points out some factual errors reported by the mainstream media.
This post focuses solely on Abunimah’s remarks made during an interview on Democracy Now. An embedded 11-minute clip from Democracy Now’s 25-minute interview with Abunimah and Phyllis Bennis appears below, followed by an abridged, enhanced transcript of Ali’s contribution.
To view the complete 25-minute interview of Ali Abunimah and American political commentator Phyllis Bennis, click on the following linked title. The full transcript is also accessible.
[Introduction] — In a move opposed by the United States and Israel, Palestinian leaders have submitted a request to join the International Criminal Court and sign over a dozen other international treaties. The Palestinian Authority says it will seek the prosecution of Israeli officials for war crimes in the Occupied Territories. In retaliation, Israel has halted the transfer of tax revenues needed to pay for Palestinian salaries and public services. The Palestinian Authority opted to join the ICC after the United States and Israel successfully lobbied against a U.N. Security Council measure calling for an end to the Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state by 2017.
We are joined by two guests: Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer and Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s United Nations; and Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine.
The UN resolution, written by the Palestinian Authority, undercut Palestinians’ rights and deserved to fail
Ali Abunimah — Like many people, I was very relieved that the resolution failed. That might surprise some of your viewers, but the devil is in the detail. This was a very bad resolution, written by the Palestinian Authority [PA] without any support from any other Palestinian factions. It’s been condemned by Palestinian political figures and legal experts, because in an attempt to avoid the American veto, it undercut and undermined and watered down very fundamental Palestinian rights. And if this resolution had passed, it would have superseded existing resolutions which are far stronger.
Contrary to media reports, the resolution did NOT call for an end to Israeli occupation or settlement removal
I’ll give you just one example. In your headlines, you said this resolution calls for an end to the Israeli occupation. That’s the headline. But in the small print, it does no such thing. It calls for a withdrawal of Israeli security forces, their replacement with a third-party presence, understood to mean American troops or NATO troops, and it allows for the Israeli settlements to remain behind. So it doesn’t even call for settlements to be dismantled and withdrawn. That’s why this resolution should not have passed and didn’t.
US opposition to the resolution reflected Obama’s commitment to thwart the Palestinian struggle for justice
On the other hand, of course, the reason the U.S. opposed it was not out of any concern for Palestinian rights, but out of the Obama administration’s commitment, unfailing commitment, to do everything possible to thwart the Palestinians, no matter how they pursue their struggle, whether through the U.N. or whether through exercising their legitimate right to self-defense and resistance.
US continues to help Israel to occupy, dispossess and kill Palestinians
This is an American administration that exceeds all of its predecessors in its tenacity and zeal in opposing the Palestinians and helping Israel to occupy, dispossess and kill them.
If the unelected Palestinian Authority gets some insignificant US offer, they may yet renege on ICC membership
As for the ICC, justice for the victims of the Israeli-American massacre in Gaza, the Israeli-American settlements in the occupied West Bank and in Jerusalem, and all the aspects of the Israeli-American colonial project in Palestine, Palestinians deserve justice for that. They deserve to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice, but the membership of the ICC must not be used as a political bargaining chip the way the illegitimate, unelected Palestinian Authority has used it—one day we’re going to sign, the next day we’re not going to sign. Of course, I don’t trust this Palestinian Authority leadership. And if they get some insignificant promise from the United States, they may well freeze their membership or withdraw their signature or carry out some other maneuver.
Do not been misled by France’s posturing — France is no friend of Palestinians
The other thing, I would like to respond to something Phyllis [Bennis] said earlier regarding the role of France versus the United States. I think it’s a mistake to cast France as the role of hero in this story against the villainous United States at the U.N. Remember, the content of this resolution, which was backed by France, is about guaranteeing Israel’s long-term future as a racist Jewish state in Palestine. The difference between the United States and Israel is not that France supports Palestinian rights and the U.S. opposes them. They only differ on how to secure Israel’s long-term future as an apartheid state. The Obama administration, in practice, supports Netanyahu’s vision of a Greater Israel, where Israel annexes the Occupied Territories, because that’s what Obama supports in practice. He’s doing nothing to prevent that. France believes that Israel should continue to be a racist apartheid state, but only within the 1948 borders, and Palestinians should get a miniature Bantustan, shorn of sovereignty, shorn of real independence, in order to allow Israel to continue to claim that it’s a Jewish-majority democracy. That’s the difference between France and the United States. France is not a friend of the Palestinians. It did not support this resolution out of a concern for Palestinian rights.
Palestinians are not going to get justice from the US, the UN, or the EU
I think what people should take away from this soap opera at the United Nations is that Palestinians are not going to get justice from Obama, they’re not going to get justice from Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren or whoever next might be coming down the line, they’re not going to get it from the U.N., and they’re not going to get it from the European Union, which continues to arm Israel to commit massacres against Palestinians.
Palestinians last best hope to end Israel’s regime of apartheid and terror is the BDS movement
They’re going to get it from resistance, legitimate resistance, which includes a global solidarity movement, a critical global solidarity movement, whose major and most effective expression at this moment in history is boycott, divestment and sanctions. One thing people should take away from this is that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement has never been more necessary, never been more legitimate, and never been more urgent to put an end to this regime of apartheid and terror, which the United States and its allies continue to support in Palestine against millions of Palestinian people.
Western media should not equate the unelected, Israeli-backed, U.S.-financed Palestinian Authority with Palestinian people
You know, the routine mistake that’s made is to equate the unelected, Israeli-backed, U.S.-financed Palestinian Authority with the Palestinians. And that’s a big mistake, because the Palestinian Authority acts despite the Palestinians. This is a Palestinian Authority engaged in a massive political crackdown against its opponents at home.
The PA is directly complicit in the ongoing siege of Gaza
This is a Palestinian Authority that is directly complicit in the ongoing siege of Gaza. We haven’t seen Mahmoud Abbas and his cohort put a fraction of the effort into ending the siege of Gaza that continues to kill people there, children dying in house fires because there’s only electricity three hours a day now in Gaza, in many parts of Gaza. Instead, they put all their effort into this mirage of a U.N. resolution that only showed their weakness domestically and internationally. And what Palestinians are saying is that, you know, after all these years of struggle and suffering, they’re not prepared to give up their most basic rights for nothing more than a Bantustan, which isn’t even on offer.
Obama betrayed Palestinians with his OK to resupply bombs so Israel could continue the murder of Gazans
Yes, Jeff Rathke of the State Department, about how joining the ICC doesn’t help the atmosphere. I’ll tell you what didn’t help the atmosphere, was when, during the summer massacre in Gaza, when dozens of people were being killed every day by Israeli bombs, when entire neighborhoods were being destroyed and carpet-bombed by Israeli shelling, when, during that time, the Obama administration, President Obama, decided to resupply the Israeli military with bombs so it could continue to murder people in Gaza.
The U.S. administration of Barack Obama has nothing to say that Palestinians need to listen to.
To put it mildly, that didn’t help the atmosphere. Palestinians do not want to hear lectures from the American administration that helped and continues to help to murder them and steal their land. The U.S. administration of Barack Obama has nothing to say that Palestinians need to listen to.
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