There Is No Plan

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Thereisnoplan Prediction – Unilateral Declaration of Palestinian StateComing Soon

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It’s been a whirlwind in the Middle East since the turn of the year.  Dictators toppled, others wobbled, others definitely off their appetites. There’s been a profound ‘decolonization’ of the Arab World, to the point where we can hardly talk of an “Arab World” at all. The fragmentation of the historical legacy of Western control of these disparate collections of people, most Muslim, many not is in full flow. There are and will be many changes, and the history of profound stagnation might alter for better and perhaps for worse.

Among the many truths that is emerging is this, Palestinians can no longer depend on the same friends they once had. In many respects, in Syria, Jordan, the Emirates, and in Saudi Arabia, a new-found urgency to remedy the injustices of their own populations means that the Palestinian cause isn’t quite so useful as a means of social control anymore. The Egyptian transitional government’s brokering of ‘peace’ between Fatah and Hamas, is an apparent exception, but even that is more about jockeying for domestic points with a restive Egyptian population.

Fatah and Hamas realize that without attempting to unify they can never hope to make any headway against an economically and militarily strong Israeli state that has been bolstered by the chaos outside their borders. This at a time when Fatah has made it clear it’s focused on a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian sovereign state. Ramallah knows that the world will not look kindly on the creation of that state unless the orphan status of Gaza is taken into account. Is Gaza to be a part of it or not? And if not, what will its status be. Therefore, in order to declare that state, Gaza must be part of it.

This, clearly, is what the rapprochement is all about. They’re wisely striking while they see an opportunity. The world is drunk on the idea of Arab nationhood, and the Palestinian’s want to get their piece of the action. Of course, the unilateral state idea predates the “Arab Spring”, but the new-found interest in the notion is no coincidence. Indeed, the joint declaration by Fatah and Hamas in Cairo was full of naive ‘statelike’ declarations that suggested implicitly that Israel’s sovereign status had to be matched by the new Palestine’s acceptance by the international community. Of course, it was dressed up in pugnaciousness that the ‘street’ seems to respond to, but nevertheless, the language suggested a more nuanced approach to ‘resistance’.

Israel’s response to the rapprochement has been one of outrage. On the face of it, the idea that Fatah should choose Hamas as an ally precludes the possibility of a peace accord with Israel. After all the Hamas charter is built around its dedication to the destruction of the Jewish state, but the story is perhaps a little deeper.

A unified and unilaterally declared Palestinian State is clearly in Israel’s interest. Just at the time when the Obama peace attempts have met with the usual dismal disappointment, and when talk of the single-state solution is starting to gain traction which would be a catastrophe for Israel, what could be better than the Palestinian’s voluntarily opting for the far less destructive two-state alternative. Of course, if the Israelis were seen to be supporting such a move, you can bet the Palestinian interest in the notion would evaporate but quick, leaving us back at square one. So naturally, Netanyahu and company are full of very vocal bluster about how bad an idea it is, even though the land-swaps and highway connection between Gaza and the West Bank are essentially already negotiated.  As for the ‘right of return’, it’s a fading idea, used as a deal breaker when it really was nothing of the sort. And a unilateral declaration by the Palestinians would preclude it by definition. In short, Israel is loving all this – but is doing it’s best to look really angry about it.

As for the Obama Administration, they can see some real advantage. After all, in return for a UNSC abstention, and studied but half-hearted resistance to a vote in the UNSC and Security Council, they can allow for a Palestinian state and take credit for – hey presto – peace in the region. Nobody’s going to grudge them that rhetorical claim.  Thereisnoplan wouldn’t be surprised if there are tri-partite back-channel discussions as we speak engineering the push for statehood. The Israelis want it but want their interest in it kept on the down-low, as does the US.

And then the state will be declared, Israel and American will grudgingly accept the “will of the Palestinian People” and everyone will be able to rejoice. The Palestinians will have their state, the Americans will be able to say that the world is safer because the Islamists will have one less grudge to hold, and Israel will have the peace it needs to be stronger, more just, and more economically powerful. Plus it will be able over time to form a strong alliance with the new state, placing it firmly in its economic orbit. It’s a win-win-win.

Thereisnoplan predicts it will happen, and fast.

Why the hurry? Because if it doesn’t the deal between Fatah and Hamas will unravel, and the opportunity is squandered.


Written by coolrebel

May 4, 2011 at 3:00 am

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